Girls hockey: Wilton looks for strong finish, FCIAC playoff berth

Meghan Keating’s goal just 27 seconds into overtime gave the Wilton-Norwalk girls hockey team a huge 6-5 win over Stamford on Tuesday night in Stamford.

The win was significant in vaulting the Warriors to third place in the FCIAC standings, one point ahead of Ridgefield and three points ahead of Trumbull.

The team improved to 6-3-1 in the FCIAC, with four league games left, and to 7-6-1 overall. It is the second-most wins in a season for Wilton, both FCIAC and overall, in the six-year history of the program.

Wilton is looking to make the FCIAC playoffs for only the second time.

“The girls are excited. They’ve never been this high up in the standings,” said head coach Melissa Hawkins. “The next couple of games are huge. The girls just have to give it everything they’ve got.”

The Warriors host Greenwich on Saturday at SoNo Ice House at noon, and then have tough games on Monday at Darien, on Feb. 15 at New Canaan, and on Feb. 22 at Ridgefield.

On Tuesday night, Wilton took a 4-2 lead into the third period but gave up three straight goals to Stamford and were down 5-4 heading into the final minutes.

Keating scored with 1:15 left to tie the game, and then scored the game-winner early in the overtime period, burying a shot on a three-on-one break off a Nicole Lue assist.

Keating and Lue each tallied two goals for the Warriors, with other goals by Alex Macarelli and Emmie Arrix. Meg Fey led Stamford with four goals.

The Warriors were coming off a disappointing 6-1 loss to Ridgefield on Saturday at SoNo Ice House. The Tigers opened a 2-0 lead after the first period and then built a 4-1 advantage through two periods. Maeve Reilly had a superlative performance for Ridgefield, scoring four of the team’s six goals.

“They were always moving and we just reacted to what they did,” Hawkins said of the game.

Hawkins feels the Warriors just need to go into games better prepared and more focused, when they play the top teams. That wasn’t the case on Saturday, but it was the case in their best outing of the season, a 1-1 tie with New Canaan on Jan. 18.

“It’s hard going back and forth, from playing tough teams and then playing weaker teams,” she said. “The girls just have to come out a little more mentally focused and ready to go.”

Notes: The Warriors also notched a big 7-2 win at Amity on Jan. 28, getting contributions from four different players and what coach Hawkins called “a huge effort from the entire team.”

Lue led the way with three goals and two assists, while Perri Blicht had two goals.

Izzy Thelen and Arrix each had one goal.

Wilton had a 38-21 edge in shots on goal.

“The team hustled to every loose puck and won majority of the 50/50 battles,” Hawkins commented.

The Warriors also edged Fairfield last Wednesday, 4-3.