MORRISTOWN _ The Morristown-Beard ice hockey team's ride back from The Hill School last Friday was a raucous one as the Crimson reveled in their dramatic, come-from-behind win.
A pair of third-period goals gave the Crimson their second it-was-this-close win. The rally thrilled them and the noise on the bus proved how much.
On Wednesday, Jan. 28, five days after their momentus victory, Morristown-Beard faced The Hill School again on its home ice at Twin Rinks Arena.
This time, the Crimson didn't wait until the last four minutes to pull even and put themselves on top. Morristown-Beard scored first and went on to shut out The Hill School of Pottstown, Pa. 3-0 powered by two goals by senior forward Kendall Cornine.
"The girls showed so much heart in the game last week," assistant coach Megan Durkin said. "They knew what to do today against a tough team. It was a hard-fought effort. It was nice to get the first goal and not have to come from behind. We were able to take the lead."
Durkin, of course, was very pleased for the Crimson and spoke of the exceptional back-to-back efforts that kept the squad undefeated after 11 games. Their perfect record is rarely discussed but the players are aware of it.
"It's in the back of their minds, especially with our low numbers," Durkin said. "They come together and give it all they've got. All of the players want to be here and experience success."
"We don't want to lose our streak," said goalie Maggie O'Connell, who did her part by making an impressive 26 saves on Friday and 15 in the most recent battle.
The 1-0 edge, established when Cornine converted off a feed from freshman Ali Palazzetti with 2:38 remaining in the opening period, was hardly robust yet it provided enough of a cushion for Morristown-Beard. The defense was unyielding, denying The Hill School (9-9-2) repeatedly and disrupting its attack. Marissa Letizio and Lex Grippo, offensive standouts in Friday's game, were closely marked.
Another freshman, Keegan Heher, was responsible for the second goal on Wednesday and said head coach Bruce Driver praised the Crimson "for how the wingers fed the points and got on net."
"We worked our hardest," Heher said. "We got our feet moving right away and put pressure on."
Neither team scored in the second period. Heher put the Crimson up, 2-0, with a power-play goal 1:01 into the closing period. Christina D'Alessandro and Kathleen McNamara set up the score.
Four minutes and six seconds later, Cornine, set to play at Rochester Institute of Technology next year, registered Morristown-Beard's third goal. Heher and Alessandro were credited with assists.
The Hill School did not let up. O'Connell repelled all the shots that came her way. Of course, the visitors were more determined to get on the scoreboard in the closing period.
"Our defense has a lot of confidence," O'Connell said. "We knew what we had to do today. We came out ready and focused."
Ally Detre, the third standout freshman on the Crimson's 10-player roster, scored the decisive goal in Friday's game.
It seemed The Hill School was hoping for a similar rally but was thwarted.
"Maggie did a great job," Durkin said. "She covered the pucks that needed to be covered. She made some great saves."
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