MORRISTOWN _ Allie Aiello's heart, not the bright lights of the scoreboard, told her the outcome of Morristown-Beard's game against Wyoming Seminary.
"It feels like a loss," said Aiello of the Crimson's 1-1 deadlock against the college preparatory school on Wednesday, Dec. 5 at Twin Oaks. "I just thought we had it."
Morristown-Beard was justified in thinking it would come away with a victory. The Crimson outshot Wyoming Seminary of Kingston, Pa., 28-14, and seemed to get stronger every period.
A goal by Michaela Pejzlova, a freshman wing from the Czech Republic, changed all that. Pejzlova converted with 26.3 seconds remaining in the final period, going end to end to score a power-play goal to knot the score.
While Pejzlova made her way up the ice, Morristown-Beard junior defender Carolyn Chambers was uneasy. Chambers, called for tripping only 40 seconds before, was where she didn't want to be at crunch time - in the penalty box. When the tying goal was scored, she was understandably upset.
"If I was in there, it would have been six on five, instead of six on four," Chambers lamented. "While I was in the box, I was talking to the coaches. I said 'What a time to be here' then I apologized."
Aiello, who staked Morristown-Beard to a 1-0 lead at 11:09 of the first period, was frustrated, saying "We should've had her."
"We really should've stopped (Pejzlova)," Aiello said. "We pressured them. We were executing well. You let up for 30 seconds and that's what happens."
Crimson coach Bruce Driver simply wished his squad had added on a second goal considering all of the opportunities it had.
"A second goal would've made a big difference," Driver said. "We carried a lot of the play but had a hard time finishing. (Pejzlova) had a head of steam at the end."
Pejzlova's goal didn't surprise Wyoming Seminary coach Eric Turner. However, he would've preferred the goal was scored in a different manner.
"I'm pleased with the tie but we got it the wrong way," Turner said. "Going end to end with one player is not what we aspire to do. The late goal was good because it showed character. Our girls didn't hang their heads even when we were being outplayed. We were tired and played through it.
"Michaela has a lot of ability. She can stickhandle in traffic and make a goal happen. That's great but we need more players involved."
Aiello's goal, Turner said, was the type he'd like to see more frequently. The senior forward got the puck and skated to the top of the circle, passing to Brettie Brier on the goal line. Aiello kept skating in and, when she reached the crease, Brier passed to her. The scoring play was completed as Aiello tipped the puck into the left corner.
The Crimson had plenty of other chances but were denied by Wyoming Seminary goalie Jessica Ekrtova, also a freshman. Ekrtova, also of the Czech Republic, finished with 27 saves.
Morristown-Beard goalie Katherine Chester rejected 13 shots, including one by Bailey Milne with 7.3 seconds remaining in the second period.
Anchoring the Crimson's defense were Chambers, a Chatham resident, Christina D'Alessandro, Kathleen McNamara and Mikhaela Schultz.
"We worked hard," Chambers said. "We all worked our hardest. We knew it would be a tough game and we wanted to win."
Driver was very pleased with how Morristown-Beard, which lost five seniors to graduation, played in its home opener.
"The girls showed patience," Driver said. "They didn't give the puck away. I didn't see many mistakes anywhere on the ice. I'm encouraged. I'm confident we'll be pretty good this season. We're not quite as deep as in the past but we still have a lot of talent."
Aiello (22 Gs, 24 As) and Brier are among the key returnees for the Crimson, whose 2011-12 campaign featured a fifth WIHLMA title. Other offensive threats are senior Laura Loeser and sophomore Kendall Cornine. Cornine had a goal and four assists when Morristown-Beard defeated Portledge (N.Y.) to start the season.
The Crimson ended last season with a loss to The Lawrenceville School. The 2-1 setback snapped a 45-game winning streak.
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