Staples girls hockey searches for its first win
Published 4:07 pm, Tuesday, February 1, 2011
Staples girls hockey team trailed only 2-0 in the third period, but the Fairfield Ludlowe/Warde co-op team broke the game open with four goals in a span of 3:44, early in the final stanza, to seize control en route to a 6-1 win at The Rinks At Shelton on Saturday night.
"That's where it slipped away," Staples Coach Pete Alfano said of the sudden scoring barrage. Staples fell behind 4-0 but responded with a goal just 17 seconds after Lindsey Babington's second of two tallies, only to see Fairfield get two more quick ones.
The early third-period letdown may have been a result of the Wreckers simply running out of steam. The team has just 13 skaters. The short bench requires less players to skate longer or more frequent shifts, and that catches up with them, Alfano said.
"Our defense just collapsed in the zone. It wasn't just our defense, it was the whole team," said Alfano, adding that Fairfield was beating Staples to the loose pucks and creating more scoring chances in the third.
The Lady Wreckers, who had lost 5-0 to the Fairfielders earlier this season, were confident they could pull this one out after having practiced hard and improved throughout their practices leading up to the clash.
"I know they are disappointed because they work so hard. They want it so bad they can taste it," Alfano said.
The coach said freshman Lindsey Furman is among the new players who are making great strides, and added that she played a strong game against Fairfield.
"Since the first time we played them they've gotten some things together and I think they played a very nice game," said Fairfield Assistant Coach Paul Jalbert, whose team's two wins have both come against Staples. Jalbert added that the Fairfield players are also in the learning stages and grasping positioning at both ends of the ice and improving from day to day.
Fairfield peppered Staples goaltender Gwen Moyer with shots throughout the contest and the netminder was up the task for most of the night. "We had a few screens. They were really good shooters too," Moyer said. "We were worn down for five minutes. We picked it back up again which is good."
Fairfield got first-period goals off the sticks of Molly Claflin (assisted by Shannon Curry) and Babington -- 1:56 apart -- in the opening minutes of the game. Claflin's goal game just 1:04 after the opening faceoff and Babington's net-finder came three minutes into the game.
In the third, Babington set up Jamie Mercado's blast from the point for a 3-0 lead, then Babington scored another unassisted tally for a 4-0 cushion. The Wreckers kept plugging away and Kate Shanahan got her team on the board before Fairfield's Mercado and Clafin scored again. Babington added another assist. The Wreckers got a nice effort from Shanahan and Brittany Hanlin on offense, but Fairfield's defense and strong goaltending by Steph Gabriel.
The Lady Wreckers are scheduled to play against West Haven tomorrow and have a tough test with Darien on Friday and have eight games remaining as they search for their first win.
"I think we need a win. I think we work too hard not to have a win," Shanahan said.