New Canaan girls hockey team remains perfect with win over Ridgefield
In a matchup of unbeatens at the Darien Ice Rink Monday night, New Canaan turned aside one of its biggest threats in the league with a 3-1 win over Ridgefield. The Rams scored all three of their goals on the power play en route to remaining perfect on the season.
After a scoreless first period, New Canaan (5-0, 3-0 FCIAC) wasted little time breaking the deadlock in the second. The beneficiaries of a power play which carried into the second period, the Rams scored 34 seconds into the middle frame on a stuff-in goal by Holly Burwick. Madzie Carroll was credited with an assist on the play.
"We were expecting a good game, so we weren't surprised, " New Canaan coach Rich Bulan said. "I thought overall it was a tremendous effort. That's a nice gut-check win early in the season."
Less than seven minutes later, Ridgefield (3-1, 2-1) pulled even on a crafty goal by Vindyha Rao. Possessing the puck behind the net, Rao couldn't find an open teammate, so she shot the puck off of New Canaan goalie Britt Gardella and into the back of the net.
Other than allowing Rao's game-tying goal, Gardella turned in a perfect night by denying 14 of Ridgefield's 15 shots. Ridgefield's Heather Ogden was equally impressive in net, stopping 19 of New Canaan's 22 shots.
With only 31 seconds remaining in the second period, New Canaan took the lead for good on a game-winning goal by Carroll. On the play, Carroll took in a pass from Corbett Ripley near the top of the faceoff circle and snapped a shot past Ogden for the 2-1 advantage.
"We've been working on shots from the point and Coach has been telling us to throw it on net. When you throw it on net, good things happen, " Carroll said. "It's a lot of fun playing Ridgefield. It's a good test for us. We've been working on the power play a lot, so it's good to see the hard work paying off."
New Canaan's Olivia Hompe gave her team some breathing room with 4:30 remaining in the third period on a shot from behind the Ridgefeld net. After Hompe's goal, New Canaan played sound defense to limit Ridgefield's scoring opportunities in the game's waning minutes.
The win was New Canaan's fifth straight to start the season, and the Rams were back in action on Thursday at 3:45 p.m. at the Terry Connors Rink in Stamford against Springfield Central, MA, but the result was not available at press time. Ridgefield next takes the ice on Tuesday, Dec. 27 against Simsbury at the Winter Garden Ice Arena at 7:20 p.m.
"We've been very solid on the penalty kill, " Bulan said. "That has been a highlight this year, and that's what wins games."