New Canaan girls hockey team nets two late goals to top Simsbury
DARIEN -- To the casual observer, it may appear as though New Canaan had a relatively easy time in extending its season-long win streak to nine games on Wednesday night at Darien Ice Rink. However, that was far from the case as the Rams went toe-to-toe with Simsbury for three periods before pulling away with two late goals in the third period for a 3-1 win.
With 2:54 remaining and the game tied at 1-1, New Canaan's Holly Burwick won control of the puck deep in Simsbury's zone. With defenders closing in, Burwick quickly sent the puck to Olivia Hompe just a few feet in front of the net. Hompe got Simsbury goalie Dani Sullivan to commit one way before effortlessly switching to her backhand and depositing the puck in the net. Madzie Carroll also registered an assist on the play.
"It was really close the entire time and it was a lot of fun," Carroll said. "It was really high-paced. This was a test for us and we pushed through."
Twenty-three seconds later, New Canaan (9-0) increased its lead when Kyla Persky put the game out of reach with a stuff-in goal, as Burwick and Corbett Ripley each tallied an assist.
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Prior to the late-game heroics, New Canaan found itself in rare territory, down a goal in the second period. This was the result of Simsbury's Sarah Melanson, who scored a goal after taking in a pass from Tess MacKay with exactly seven minutes remaining in the period.
The Rams could have easily started the third period still down by a goal, but Carroll had other plans. Carroll took the puck coast-to-coast to score an unassisted goal and finished the play by lifting her shot off the bottom of the crossbar and past Sullivan.
"I had a couple rushes and I shot it on net and it went in," Carroll said. "We were looking forward to this game and everyone was pumped to play."
Simsbury drew a power play and pulled Sullivan with 36 seconds left in the game for one final offensive charge, but New Canaan goalie Britt Gardella made her 18th and final save of the night to seal the win and preserve the Rams' unblemished record.
"We do want to beat each other, but there's always been a lot of respect between these two programs. This was a good gauge, and we've got some tough games coming up," New Canaan coach Rich Bulan said. "This is very good to get us going. Abbey [Buckenheimer] and Lauren [Campbell] had great games tonight and Britt [Gardella] was very solid."
Despite the loss, Simsbury's Sam Hulme felt good about her team's performance and was quick to add that the Trojans will be looking forward to the rematch on Jan. 21
"We kept them out until the third period. We played really well, and we had it and it just fell through," Hulme said. "[New Canaan] knew what to do, but we'll get them back in the next game. We'll be out our home rink and we'll have all our fans there."
New Canaan looks to make it 10-for-10 to start the season when it travels to Greenwich on Saturday at 6:30 p.m. at the Dorothy Hamill Skating Rink.
Simsbury (8-3) plays host to Ridgefield on Saturday at 4:30 p.m.