Five players from the home team found the back of the net Saturday afternoon during the first home game of the season for the Essex High School’s (EHS) girls’ hockey team -- that contest being the first of a girls and boys doubleheader at the rink.
Scoring came early and often through the first two periods as the Hornets cruised to a 9-1 victory over Hartford.
Game at a glance
EHS took control of the puck off the opening faceoff, brought it deep into the Hurricane’s end of the ice, and got it to sophomore Celia Wiegand who wristed home a goal just 18 seconds into the action.
After senior captain Abigail Robbins sent in her first of the day -- which proved to be the game winner -- Hartford got on the board with one of its own towards the end of the first. EHS responded just 20 seconds later with Robbins’ second score, however, and Essex ran away from there.
Robbins completed the hat trick early into the second period, and junior Ella Gibbs then beat the visiting goalie twice in less than a minute deep into the stanza to put the Hornets up 9-1. Those were her first two goals of the year.
EHS didn’t score in the last frame, but it did take the opportunity with the comfortable advantage to give more ice time to the younger players down the bench.
Essex improves to 2-0-1 on the year with the win.
Saturday’s meeting was the first between EHS and Hartford since February 2013; the Hornets have won their last six games against the Hurricanes.
Robbins finished the day with 3 goals and 2 assists while Wiegand had 2 scores and an assist.
Senior Hannah Himes scored once and had 2 assists in the win, and sophomore Gillian Bruyns assisted on both of Gibbs’ goals.
Sophomore Abigail Lacross scored midway through the second, and senior Courtney Himes posted two assists on the day.
Junior Nielsa Maddalena and sophomore Ashleigh Gernander each tallied an assist.
All three of Essex’s goalies saw time in net with senior Megan Ginnett getting the start and making three saves. She was substituted for in the second by sophomore Emily Carter who made a pair of stops, and senior captain Sophia Forcier then turned away 10 shots through the duration of the third.
Next up for EHS is another installment of its rivalry with BFA St. Albans, a game slated for 7:30 p.m. Tuesday night at the Essex Skating Facility. The Hornets and Comets tied 1-1 in BFA’s home barn Feb. 13 to start the season.
Thoughts from Essex Head Coach John Maddalena
“I thought that we moved the puck a little bit better. We've been working on cycling -- we cycled it better, particularly in the first and second periods -- really accelerating through the neutral zone, and headmanning the puck. So a lot of good things out there.
“In terms of the start of the season, BFA was a big game up there. We were down a couple of girls. We only ran two lines against BFA; I thought we'd run out of gas, and we didn’t. We haven't been out on the ice quite as long as some of these other teams. We missed a week for COVID, we were a little late getting started because we didn't have ice here, so all-in-all, I've been pretty pleased. We went down to Waterbury and played Harwood/Northfield, and I didn't think the puck movement was great in that game. So I'm happy that we recovered a little bit this game. And now I have to prepare for BFA again on Tuesday.”