MORRISTOWN _ Carolyn Chambers considered Morristown-Beard's game against Summit on Friday, Jan. 24 the "road to the rest of the season."
With a difficult stretch of games on the horizon, Chambers, a senior defenseman, expected Morristown-Beard's play to be constantly improving and going into high gear in preparation for a title run. Instead, the Crimson were far from sharp and not very steady in their 7-1 victory over the Hilltoppers at Twin Oaks Rink.
Don't be deceived by the score. Morristown-Beard, which received a hat trick and assist from Kelly Dolan, fell behind 1-0 after one period, tied the score in the second period and erupted for six goals in the closing stanza.
"We came in thinking we were going to win," said Chambers, a senior defender. "That's bad for us. We didn't play our hardest and our coach gave us a talking to.
"Our passes weren't great and we weren't connecting. The communication wasn't good. We just didn't play our game."
As frustrating as the first two periods were, the third one was laden with offensive eruptions. In a span of eight minutes, 45 seconds, Morristown-Beard registered six goals. Kathleen McNamara, a junior, had the goal that snapped the 1-1 deadlock 1:08 into the final period.
Beyond that, the Crimson (8-3-1) kept pushing. Dolan, who had the Crimson's first goal, also scored the third and fourth ones. Ashley Magner notched the last two.
"Early on, the girls were playing as individuals and not as a team," Morristown-Beard coach Bruce Driver said. "It doesn't matter what team sport it is, you can't have success that way. You can have all the talent in the world but you can't win. We need everyone on the same page.
"There was too much individual effort and not enough passing. We weren't in a good position to backcheck if we lost the puck."
According to Driver, the Crimson became more cohesive and mentally tough at 1-1. The goal by Dolan that evened the score came after a give and go with McNamara and was scored 6:07 into the second period. There were more chances after that, however, Morristown-Beard was unable to convert.
"Play was forced and the puck went to areas where it wasn't possible to score," Driver said. "Everyone had to spread out and be patient and calm."
For some reason, Magner said, the Crimson were overly anxious. A different collective mindset led to the flurry of goals in the last period.
"We were trying too hard to get the puck in the net," said Magner, a senior forward. "Once we were calm and collected, that helped. We definitely need to put in more time and work."
Dolan, another senior forward, knew Driver was disappointed.
"We were thinking too much," she said. "It was all in our heads. That's why our coach laid it all on the table in the locker room between the second and third periods. We've got some tough games coming up and really need to buckle down."
Cecily Stabler got Summit on the scoreboard late in the opening period. In the second period, Dolan had the equalizer. The fourth goal of the third period came off the stick of Kendall Cornine, widening Morristown-Beard's lead to 5-1.
Assists leaders were Chambers, Emma Polaski and Christina D'Alessandro.
The victory got the Crimson back on track after setbacks to Millbrook (NY.) and Lawrenceville. In those games, Morristown-Beard was outscored, 13-4.
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