DARIEN — It is a good time for the New Canaan High School girls ice hockey program.
The Rams are talented. The Rams are deep. And the Rams have a group of young talent that is going to make New Canaan’s veteran coach Rich Bulan a very smart man for seasons to come.
The Rams closed out the 2017 portion of their schedule Saturday with an impressive 5-0 triumph over Ridgefield/Danbury Co-op at Darien Ice rink.
“We have three forward lines, rotate five on defense, have two good goalies along with eight freshmen who have all done a good job,” Bulan said. “Depth is a wonderful luxury.”
NEW CANAAN SENIORS PULL IT TOGETHER
New Canaan scored three goals in the second period and two insurance tallies in the final 6:46 to improve to 5-1 overall and 4-0 in the FCIAC.
Seniors Liz McCarthy and captain Brooke Deane tallied in the second period. Senior Gianna Bruno — in her third contest back from injury— scored with 15 seconds left to go with her two assists.
“Our seniors (six in all on the roster) are good leaders. They’ve brought this team together as a family,” Bulan said. “I’m blessed to have that.”
RAMS ARE FUN TO WATCH
New Canaan will battle Darien and Greenwich for supremacy in the FCIAC. New Canaan beat Darien before Christmas for the first time since February of 2013.
The Rams should stay among the top six squads in the state rankings. These Rams are so potent they battled the New Canaan alumni to a 4-4 tie.
New Canaan plays with pace, never allowing the opposition to think on the ice. The Rams skate and pass their way out of trouble.
They come back to play defense. Their penalty killing is top notch. Their two goalies — junior Kara Fahey and freshman Blythe Novick (10 saves, shutout Saturday) are solid.
Freshman Kelly Benson scored the first New Canaan goal off a rush just as a Rams penalty ended. Junior defenseman Jessica Eccleston tallied on a Brian Leetch-like solo run in the third period.
TIDE WILL TURN FOR RIDGEFIELD/DANBURY
Saturday’s defeat left Ridgefield/Danbury at 0-4-1 overall and 0-3 in the FCIAC. However, that includes two losses to New Canaan and one loss to Greenwich.
The Tigers’ schedule will get easier in 2018 until they meet Darien on January 19.
Goalie Kendal Mountain registered 33 saves in net for Ridgefield/Danbury.
“The girls aren’t getting rewarded for the work they’re putting in. The puck isn’t bouncing our way. We need some wins,” said Ridgefield Co-op coach Lauren Lubrano, who has three players from Danbury High on the roster in this second year as a co-op squad.
“New Canaan is a great opponent. We need more consistency,” Lubrano continued. “As long as our work ethic continues, we’ll be okay. I’m looking forward to our future.”
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NEW CANAAN 5, RIDGEFIELD/DANBURY 0
RIDGEFIELD/DANBURY 0 0 0—0
NEW CANAAN0 3 2—5
At Darien Ice rink. Records: Ridgefield/Danbury 0-4-1, 0-3 FCIAC; New Canaan 5-1, 4-0 FCIAC. Goals: NC—Kelly Benson, Liz McCarthy, Brooke Deane, Jessica Eccleston, Gianna Bruno. Assists: NC—Bruno 2, Anika Curri, Courtney O’Connell. Goalies: RD—Kendal Mountain (33 saves); NC—Blythe Novick (10 saves).