Darien and Greenwich deadlock, 1-1, in girls ice hockey
In nearly 100 minutes of girls ice hockey this season, the Greenwich Cardinals’ defense has consistently frustrated the Darien Blue Wave.
Then again, the Cardinals likely don’t want to see Shea van den Broek with the puck.
The Darien junior scored a beauty of a goal on a breakaway with 3:13 remaining and the Blue Wave forged a 1-1 tie with the Cardinals in a key FCIAC game Monday at Hamill Rink in Greenwich.
It was van den Broek’s second goal in as many games against Greenwich, as she scored the only goal during Darien’s 1-0 win on Jan. 9
This time around, the Cards had the lead thanks to an Emma Wingrove goal in the second period, before van den Broek’s equalizer forced overtime. The Wave defense killed a penalty early in the OT, and Darien had the better of chances the rest of the way, but neither team managed to find the net.
“We were trying to play three lines consistently as much as we could,” Darien head coach Jamie Tropsa said. “Greenwich played a great game, it was a fast-paced game, it was a helluva high school hockey game, and I’m proud of the way we played.”
“Those back-and-forth games are the ones that make it nerve-wracking for the coaches,” Greenwich head coach Alex Lerchen said.
As for her tying goal, van den Broek was so focused on the competition, the details were a little fuzzy.
“I don’t really remember it very well,” she said with a smile. “I was coming down the right side and I sort of saw an opening to cut into the middle and just got a shot off. I don’t really know where it went, but it went in, so I was happy.”
Darien, Greenwich and New Canaan have all been in the hunt for the top three seeds in the FCIAC tournament, and Monday’s tie doesn’t solve much of the puzzle. The Wave (11-2-1 overall, 7-2-1 FCIAC) is in third place in the conference, while Greenwich (13-2-1, 9-1-1) is second.
New Canaan (15-2-0, 10-1-0) leads the FCIAC at the moment and will square off against Greenwich next Monday, Feb. 12.
The tie was frustrating for both teams. On the one hand, Darien outshot Greenwich 24-14 and had many opportunities early on, but was unable to cash in.
“That’s kind of been our story all year: We get a lot of opportunities and we don’t capitalize on them,” Tropsa said. “We’ve got to learn how to score goals because if we don’t, you’re not going to win the big game.”
On the other side, the Cards surrendered a late lead and were denied a victory.
“It’s frustrating, especially late,” Lerchen said. “Your natural reaction is to put your head down a little bit but you’ve got to keep fighting. Especially with a guy like Jamie on the other bench, you’ve got to keep working.”
Defensively, the Wave delivered an outstanding performance, led by seniors Kiki Tropsa and Sally Cassidy, sophomore Cate Droogan, and freshman Catherine Martin, along with sophomore goalie Hallie Kreppein. Kreppein came up big on several close shots, and finished with 13 saves.
“We have one freshman back there but we have two seniors as well and they’re experienced,” Coach Tropsa said of the defense. “Three of them played a lot last year and they’re very talented kids back there. They worked hard.”
The lone Greenwich goal came with 1:15 remaining in the second period, as Wingrove carried the puck around the back of the net and tried to slip a pass in front. The puck hit Kreppein’s skate and came back into the goal.
“It was definitely pretty frustrating,” van den Broek said. “It was a little bit of a weird bounce, so it was bad luck for us, but we knew after the second period that we just needed to recover quickly and get our own.”
Other than that, the defense was unscathed.
“Kiki and Sally lead the defense really well; Catherine and Cate all did really well; and Hallie played a great game,’ van den Broek said. “That goal was a bad luck, so other than that she had some great saves on 3-on-1s down the ice. It was a very good defensive game for us, we did have some very good clutch plays to keep us in the game.”
Greenwich goalie Jessie Aselin (23 saves) had some big stops as well, the biggest of which came against Caitlin Chan, who took a feed from Kelly Raymond and fired off a quick shot with six minutes to play. Aselin stayed on the play and slid to her right to block the attempt.
The Wave finally broke through when van den Broek scooped up the puck near the blue line, skated in from the right and wristed a shot to the top right to make it 1-1.
“Shea’s goal was beautiful,” Tropsa said. “If you come watch her at practice, you’d say that kid should have 50 goals. She has a great shot, she knows how to get to the goal, and I’m happy she got that one in.”
A penalty late in regulation but the Cardinals on a power play to start the overtime period, but their three shots during the penalty were all saved by Kreppein and the game ended in a deadlock.