MORRISTOWN _ It wasn't unreasonable for coach Bruce Driver to expect another high-level outing from Morristown-Beard the minute it hit the ice.
After all, the Crimson had turned in a stellar effort versus Portledge of Locust Valley, N.Y. two days earlier and Driver figured they'd pick up where they left off. Somehow, though, Morristown-Beard went from sublime to subpar.
The Crimson improved as the seconds ticked off the clock, registering two goals in each period, and defeated Kent Place, 6-1, at Twin Oaks Arena on Wednesday, Dec. 10.
"I was not happy with the first period," Driver said. "It was just too sloppy. I wanted the girls to keep the speed of the game up. I hoped they'd move well and play positionally in our zone. We definitely weren't where we were on Monday but I'm not concerned. This team will rise to the occasion. The bar was set high against Portledge. They know how well they can do."
Senior center Kendall Cornine was one of four players to have a goal and two assists. Cornine, committed to the Rochester Institute of Technology, scored the Crimson's second goal 12:17 into the opening period. Another senior, Kathleen McNamara, tallied the first goal, converting with 3:07 elapsed.
Sandwiched between the two scores was a goal by Kent Place's Elizabeth Fournier. She knotted the score, 1-1, seven minutes after McNamara sent the puck into the net.
"We have to make sure we pay attention to Coach Driver's system," Cornine said. "We'll stay in games that way. We need to focus. We've got to play great defense and not always try to score."
It's not that scoring is a bad thing. Morristown-Beard (3-0) is literally shorthanded this season, having 10 players on its roster, so it seeks to minimize mistakes and keep the puck out of its zone, just like it did when it blanked Portledge.
Driver, ideally, would like to have three forward lines but has only two. Still, he believes the Crimson, who have seven players involved in club hockey, have plenty of talent and desire.
"What was most impressive in the Portledge game was the team's heart," Driver said. "It was a physically demanding game. Our six core girls logged an abnormal number of minutes."
After Cornine snapped the tie against Kent Place, a first-year squad, Ali Palazzetti, a freshman, made it 3-1 with a goal 1:55 into the second period. Ally Detre, also in ninth grade, had the fourth goal. Closing out the scoring in the third period were Keegan Heher, a third freshman, and Devin Blanchard.
Detre, Heher and McNamara were the additional players with two assists.
Heher, a Morristown resident, was impressed by Kent Place, whose goalie, Morgan Strong, had 17 saves.
"Kent Place tried really, really hard," Heher said. "There were many different skill sets. We try to work on something or learn every day. We worked on our power plays, moving the puck and penalty kills today."
She is getting used to the longer shifts and does not mind them. Heher, a member of the Crimson's lacrosse and soccer teams, said extra conditioning has increased her stamina.
Cornine remained in high spirits from the triumph over Portledge.
"Whenever we play each other, it's a chippy game," Cornine said. "We have only 10 girls so we couldn't go into the penalty box. They tried to make us get penalties but didn't succeed."
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