Caroline Keating, at front right, whose face off win led to the Wildcats’ only goal.
Rye Country Day Girls’ Ice Hockey
Despite Strong Goaltending, Greenwich Overpowers Wildcats
By LEIF SKODNICK
It never feels good to lose, but with some introspection, positives can be taken away from a loss.
And while the Rye Country Day Girls’ Ice Hockey team fell to Greenwich High School 4-1 at home on January 28, there were positives to be had. They got good goaltending – a 32-save effort from Emma Budke – and were moving the puck well on the power play, even if the scoresheet didn’t reflect it.
Bigger and faster than the Wildcats, the Greenwich Cardinals used an effective forecheck to hem Rye Country Day in their own end and were able to pick up loose change around the net on their way to the win.
“We came out a little bit slow today, and we talked in the locker room about how to turn it on and how the trait of wanting to go get the puck isn’t always inherent,” said Wildcats head coach Elizabeth Bennett. “They have a lot of speed, and we just got caught flat-footed.”
The Cardinals effectively played their system, with two forecheckers deep, pressuring the Wildcat defenders and stymying their breakout.
“We struggled, and I think that was one of our main points, we struggled to get it out, transitioning the puck out,” said Wildcat Caroline Keating. “It was hard for us, to transition down and get shots on goal, and once we did, we just needed to be better at controlling it and keeping it in the offensive zone.”
The Cardinals grabbed the lead at 3:41 of the first period when Elizabeth Anderson’s shot from the left wing rattled off Budke’s leg pads and into the cage putting Greenwich up 1-0.
Later in the first period, with the Wildcats’ Elizabeth Friedberg in the penalty box for holding, Greenwich’s Emma Wingrove tapped home the rebound of a shot from Tess Marciano for a power play goal making the score 2-0.
The Cardinals added to their lead early in the second when Sophie Roth tapped home the rebound of a shot from Sydney Orszulak at 7:02.
Rebound control is key for women playing in goal, as the vast majority of goals are scored within 15 feet of the net.
“I try to work on that in practice, trying to get pucks into the corners and not in the five feet in front, because that’s what causes rebound goals,” said Budke, who made 14 of her 32 saves in the second period. “You try and work on that and it doesn’t always work out in games.”
Budke enjoys the challenge that goaltending provides, the rush of reacting to shots and making a save, and her coach is glad to have her.
“Emma’s so incredibly focused and dedicated. She wants to get better and is always asking what she can do and working hard,” said Bennett. “She just loves it, which always helps – she’s a pretty shy kid off the ice, but her personality shines on the ice. She’s been such a blessing for us this year.”
Despite going on the penalty kill three times in the second frame, the Wildcats kept Greenwich from scoring behind Budke, who turned away a series of five shots inside of 20 feet with just under four minutes remaining in the period.
The Wildcats’ lone goal of the contest came at 14:27 of the second, when Caroline Keating won an offensive zone face off back to Sofia Medina, who fired the puck on goal, where Payton Caggiano tapped in the loose puck past Greenwich netminder Hannah Goldenberg, cutting the Cardinals’ lead to 3-1.
But that was as close as the Wildcats would get, with Greenwich adding an insurance goal from Lexi Danielson at 9:10 of the third.