New Canaan girls hockey team shuts out Greenwich in state tournament quarterfinals
DARIEN -- The New Canaan High School girls ice hockey team knew it couldn't afford to spend too much time reflecting on Saturday's heartbreaking loss against rival Darien in the championship game of the FCIAC Tournament.
The Rams were well aware that they had to turn the page quickly to make their mark in the state high school tournament -- a competition that began just two days after their only defeat of the season.
Relentless from the drop of the puck, the Rams showed the fire of a team on a mission.
Olivia Hompe, Madzie Carroll and Corbett Ripley scored two goals apiece to power top-seeded New Canaan to a 7-0 win over eighth-seeded Greenwich in the quarterfinal round of the state tournament Monday night at Darien Ice Rink.
The Rams (22-1) advanced to Wednesday's 6 p.m. semifinals at Darien Ice Rink, where they faced Simsbury, but the result was not available at press time. New Canaan had edged Simsbury by one goal twice this season.
"Our team is a resilient group," New Canaan coach Rich Bulan said. "Losing to Darien in the FCIAC finals Saturday was tough on the seniors, but they all understand that we have a second chance in the state tournament. We came out focused and played with a lot of energy from the start."
Greenwich finished its season at 11-11 with four of its losses coming against their main nemesis New Canaan.
"New Canaan was coming off a tough loss to Darien, so we knew they were going to come out fired up," GHS coach Brett Farson said. "We didn't make mistakes that caused them to score, they just made the plays to put the puck in the net. They had to work pretty hard for their goals."
It didn't take long for New Canaan to strike first in this fourth matchup between the two teams. Finding open ice, Hompe, who also registered two assists, scored off a backhand shot, giving New Canaan a 1-0 lead 59 seconds into the first period.
The Rams continued to score early and often. Carroll put a wrist shot in from the left-wing 3:14 into the period, then snapped a shot that hit the padding of the goal, putting the Rams in front, 3-0 with 8:58 to go in the opening period.
"Just because one game didn't go our way we weren't going to let that prevent us from going after the state title," said Hompe,who played a lot of defense Monday. "A lot of things didn't go our way against Darien Saturday, but we know if we play to our potential we can win the state title. We're excited about playing Simsbury in the semifinals."
On a power play, the Rams kept their relentless attack in the Cards' zone going. Senior forward Corbett Ripley tallied off a one-timer after receiving a cross ice pass from Hompe, making it a 4-0 game with 7:05 still left in the first period.
"Tonight, our puck movement helped us create a lot of scoring opportunities," Ripley said. "Our last game we were too stationary out there, but today we had great puck movement."
Taking a 4-0 lead into the second period, the Rams threatened to extend their lead, but were held off the scoreboard the first 10 minutes, thanks to the play of Cardinals freshman Lisa Lewis in goal. With the Rams on a 5-on-3 power play, Lewis made three saves during a one- minute stretch.
"The last time we played them we played real well during the second and third period and we came out and played our hardest tonight," Ferguson said. "We tried to step it up on offense tonight, but they're such a tough team."
New Canaan's fifth goal came when Ripley tipped in Carroll's snapshot taken just inside the blue line with 4:40 left in the second period.
"We didn't have a let down at all after Saturday's game," Carroll said. "We came out with the goal of not letting up a goal and we accomplished that. Now we're ready for the semifinals."