New Canaan remains perfect by defeating Ridgefield
RIDGEFIELD -- Ridgefield girls hockey captain Allie Schiffer made the postgame rounds outside the rink at Winter Garden sporting two injuries: one being the reaggravation of lingering back troubles that made her an early departure from Wednesday afternoon's marquee matchup with unbeaten New Canaan, the other the splintering of her game stick at the heel.
Both spoke to Schiffer's defensive assignment -- the thankless task of shadowing All-FCIAC winger and all-around scoring machine Olivia Hompe -- and what was another trying day for a Tigers squad looking for some momentum that they can take with them into the postseason.
Hompe's league-leading 47th and 48th goals lifted the high-powered Rams to a 4-2 win and a still unblemished -- and mostly unchallenged -- 15-0 mark. The Tigers (10-5), meanwhile, dropped their second straight and third in five games with elimination games looming.
"We're at the point in the season where there are no moral victories," said Ridgefield coach Paul Fabbri, whose team previously fell to the Rams 3-1 in Darien Dec. 19.
"We started really well but we made some mistakes and gave them some chances that we can't afford to."
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Ridgefield sophomore Katie Curnan scored the first period's only goal less than five minutes in, but even with the Tigers employing a mostly defensive strategy it was evident that one goal likely wouldn't hold up against the Rams.
New Canaan came out firing in the second and finally knotted the game when junior Corbett Ripley coralled the rebound from a Hompe offering and flung the puck over Ridgefield goalie Heather Ogden's shoulder from the point with 4:55 elapsed.
Ogden would, however, withstand what remained of a New Canaan barrage -- the shooting advantage was 14-3 in favor of the Rams -- to preserve the tie heading into the third.
Madzie Carroll beat Ogden to the glove side at 4:35 of the third and the Rams never looked back, padding their lead on Hompe's tallies before the Tigers' Meghan Galloway scored on an assist from Anna Marcus with 1:45 left.
New Canaan coach Rich Bulan said he admired Fabbri's strategy to try to lockdown Hompe and thus hold his high-scoring first line in check. He still marvels at the junior's ability to score despite the added attention.
"I think (the players) see the big R and the pawprint, and they see the NC and it brings out the best in both of us," Bulan said. "Is (Fabbri) sacrificing some offense to shadow Olivia? Yeah. But I like what he does, and you could see what it did for them when they scored late and got some momentum back. I like what he does. I know Olivia doesn't, but I tell her that if she's that good, she's got to play through it."
With 8:28 left in the contest, Schiffer collided with a New Canaan player in the neutral zone and stayed down on the ice for an extended amount of time before being helped off the ice with a trainer.
In addition to Schiffer's nagging back ailment, Fabbri said the Tigers have been without junior forward Dana Cerone, who's been out with a head injury.