Unbeaten Rams skate to FCIAC title
Powered by six consecutive goals from Olivia Hompe, top-seeded New Canaan Rams, led by blanked Greenwich 8-0 to capture the FCIAC girls ice hockey championship.
It was the third title in a row and their eighth consecutive appearance in the finals for the unbeaten Rams (21-1 overall, 16-0 FCIAC).
“We were solid all day from goalie out. We played three lines and all of them contributed, along with our defense and goaltending” said coach Rich Bulan.
Hompe, a junior, became the all-time leading scorer in Connecticut. She needed two points today to break the record – she got seven with her “double hat trick” along with an assist. She now has 69 goals and 31 assists for the season with the state championships still to come.
Greenwich (14-7-1 overall, 9-6-1 FCIAC) opened with Ciel McDermott shadowing Hompe She was a mirror image; when Hompe moved left McDermott, while a foot or so away, moved with her. Hompe went right, so did McDermott. Had Hompe decided to go the locker room or leave the ice to buy a hot dog, McDermott would have been in her face.
But that lasted just so long and when Hompe got into a play she was unstoppable.
Madzie Carroll who was firing on all cylinders all day opened the scoring in the first period when she tapped in a rebound past goalie Dart Frettia for a 1-0 lead. “We knew we had to play well because they’re a good team. We never took them lightly despite going undefeated in the conference,” said Carroll.
Just two minutes later, Holly Burwick worked a nifty give-and-go with Hompe and converted to make it 2-0.
The Rams next goal started from deep in their own territory. Burwick fed Hompe who darted up the left wing, beat a number of Cardinals and faked a slap shot. The deke froze the defender for just a split second and that was enough for Hompe to head for the net, go to her backhand side and bury the puck top shelf-far corner.
The goal, which closed out the period, made Hompe the all-time scorer in the state . It was 3-0 at the first intermission. New Canaan outshot Greenwich 11-4.
Hompe opened the scoring in the second period. She passed from the right wing to the goal mouth but the puck deflected off a defenders skate and New Canaan had a 4-0 lead.
“Got a bit lucky on that one,” Hompe said. "It was a pass all the way and it hit someone’s skate.”
In less than two minutes, Hompe scored her third goal – her 12th against Greenwich this season – to make it 5-0. But Greenwich, playing hard from the opening whistle, was starting to find some shooting room.
Britt Gardella was making some quality saves on some quality shots. “I really felt good out there today. I made sure I had my pre-game apple ,”she said smiling.
With the period winding down, Hompe went to the fake slap shot move. It worked again as she curled around the defender beat Frettia and the teams went into the locker room with the Rams up 6-0. Greenwich actually had more shots-on-goal than New Canaan but the Rams got three goals and the Cardinals were still looking for their first.
New Canaan scored two more in the third period – Hompe from Burwick and Carroll followed by a final goal by Hompe with a helper from Corbett Ripley.
The buzzer sounded as the bench emptied with all the Rams skating toward Gardella on their way to celebrate the title.