LAWRENCEVILLE _ Morristown-Beard had a plan minutes after having its 45-game winning streak halted by The Lawrenceville School.
"We're going to start over and be just as strong," Crimson junior center Allie Aiello declared.
Sure, Morristown-Beard's 2-1 loss to the rival Big Red on Thursday, Feb. 16 at the Loucks Ice Center stung but there were no long faces and only a few tears.
In no time, the past-perfect Crimson were joking and laughing. It wasn't because they didn't care about the lengthy streak. Morristown-Beard's players did but, as senior Laura Mead said, "it couldn't last forever."
"We're all very appreciative of it," said Mead, whose third-period goal tied the score, 1-1. "We can't be negative about it."
Emily Krueger, a junior wing, scored the game-winning goal for Lawrenceville off a rebound with 5:35 left.
Of course, Krueger's goal set off a wild celebration by the Big Red, who were unaware that Morristown-Beard hadn't experienced a setback since Jan. 20, 2010.
"We didn't know," Lawrenceville sophomore defender Amanda Miller said. "Our coach didn't tell us anything about a streak. Morristown-Beard is our biggest opponent. We've had our eyes on them since December."
The meeting was the second between the two teams this season. Morristown-Beard (18-1) shut out the Big Red, 4-0, last month.
It wasn't that the Crimson didn't try. They put in another spirited, high-energy effort. If there is one aspect of the game they will look back on with a tinge of regret, it likely will be the three power-play opportunities they did not capitalize on in the first period.
"If we had done something there, the pendulum would've swung in our favor," Morristown-Beard coach Bruce Driver said. "We work on power plays but haven't had many opportunities because we've won most of our games handily. You can work on them in practice as much as you want but they're different in games."
Aiello attributed the Crimson's inability to capitalize early on to nerves.
"We were anxious moving the puck," she said. "We should've taken advantage but it didn't happen."
Sophomore Amanda Drobot gave Lawrenceville a 1-0 edge with a power-play goal at the 9:10 mark of the second period. Krueger and Sara Culhane had the assists.
When Mead evened up the score in the third period, going one on one with Big Red goalie Sarah Bryant after taking a pass from Carolyn Chambers, the Crimson seemed rejuvenated.
"Everyone came alive," said Mead, whose teammates swarmed her and piled on after her goal. "We fought back. We just couldn't finish."
Crimson goalie Katherine Chester had a strong showing, making 25 saves.
Morristown-Beard has enjoyed more than two seasons of perfection. Lawrenceville was the last team to beat the Crimson, trimming them, 2-1, on Jan. 20, 2010.
Since then, Morristown-Beard has captured three consecutive Women's Interscholastic Hockey League of the Mid-Atlantic Tournament titles. It has been dominant in league play.
Last weekend, the Crimson, behind hat tricks by Aiello and Brette Brier, beat Rye Country Day School of New York 7-2 in the tournament final.
The players have treasured their abundance of success. That's why they were upbeat after falling to Lawrenceville.
"It's kind of sad that it's over," Aiello said. "We were a little upset but that quickly faded."
"I'm happy," Mead said. "We've had a lot of fun together."
Driver has been warning his team for awhile that the streak could come to an abrupt end.
"I told the girls that it's so hard to continue to win every game," Driver said. "It's the law of averages. Something goes awry and you don't win."
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