Even the best teams need to change things up every once in a while.
A switch on the forward lines led to three goals in the second period as the New Canaan girls hockey team topped the Ridgefield/Danbury co-op, 4-1, Monday night at the Darien Ice House.
Sophomores Courtney O’Connell and Anika Curri each had a goal and an assist for the Rams, while freshmen Grace Crowell and Angelica Megdanis had a goal apiece.
New Canaan overcame another fine performance by Ridgefield’s junior goalie Kendal Mountain, who racked up 39 saves against a strong offense.
“It definitely took a little bit, but it was important for us to keep getting shots on net, crash the net and get those rebounds,” O’Connell said. “As a team, we’re really good at that, and we were able to dump it in and get shots because you never know what can happen. She (Mountain) was a really good goalie, so props to her.”
New Canaan improved to 12-1-1 overall and 9-1-1 in the FCIAC, as it starts to hone in on the No. 1 seed for the FCIAC tournament with three league games to play. The Rams are unbeaten in their last eight games (7-0-1) and their playoff destiny is in their hands.
Ridgefield dropped to 7-8-1 overall and 5-5-1 in the FCIAC, and its hunt for a conference playoff berth will likely go down to the wire.
Mountain was the big story for the Tigers, as she and defensemen Ali Caiola, Julia Zangre, Bridget Galloway, and Chiara Signorelli helped bottle up New Canaan’s attack for a good portion of the game.
“Overall, I’m satisfied,” Ridgefield head coach Lauren Lubrano said. “We worked really hard all game, it’s just they were able to capitalize on the mistakes that we did make. That’s the thing about playing a good team like New Canaan: When you do make mistakes, they’ll capitalize.”
New Canaan outshot Ridgefield 14-4 in the first period, but had just a 1-0 lead to show for it.
That one goal came when O’Connell popped in a rebound after a shot by junior Quincy Connell at 6:02.
The Rams missed a golden opportunity to score again in the final minute of the first period when Mountain made two great saves against New Canaan freshmen Caitlin Tully and Kaleigh Harden.
New Canaan changed its lines for the second period and the moves paid off immediately, as the Rams scored twice in the first six minutes to go up, 3-0.
Crowell scored at 4:26 when she put in a rebound high after a shot by O’Connell. Freshman Maddie Kloud also assisted.
At the six-minute mark, Megdanis scored, again off a rebound and again high, with assists from Curri and Harden.
Curri scored an unassisted goal late in the second period, when she swooped in front of Mountain and slipped a back-hander inside the pipe.
Ridgefield broke the shutout when Julia Zangre scored an unassisted goal just 21 seconds into the third period to make it 4-1.
The Tigers were flying after that, but New Canaan goalie Kara Fahey (12 saves) and her defense held off the pressure to keep Ridgefield from scoring again.