February 14, 2013It's been nearly a month since University Liggett girls' hockey team put a game in the win column.
An offensive shortage and defensive shortcomings were the culprits in a four-game slide that ended last week when junior Ania Dow scored 50 seconds into overtime to lift the host Knights to a 5-4 win over Walled Lake.
"This was really a team win and we needed this tonight," head coach Cassie Jaeckle said. "We have so many girls sick and even tonight we were missing a few, so I switched some players around and they responded.
Liggett freshman Molly Murphy, No. 2, did it all for the Knights against Walled Lake, earning the win in her first-ever appearance as a goalie. She played defense and forward before turning to the net. Photo by Bob Bruce
"It was a nice win tonight."
It's been a long month for Jaeckle and her Knights. Sickness has forced several players to the sidelines, leaving the coach to juggle her lines.
Even against Walled Lake, starting goalie, freshman Olivia Portillo, had to leave due to illness.
Freshman Molly Murphy, who already played at forward and defense in the opening period, went to the dressing room and returned at the 8:27 mark of the second period, ready to take over in net for Portillo.
Murphy let the first shot on her get past for a goal, but she shut the door after that and earned one of the three stars of the game. Murphy came up with some big saves in the third period that allowed the Knights to pull out the win.
"Molly really deserves a lot of credit for helping us out when we needed it," Jaeckle said. "We don't have a backup goalie and when Olivia had to come out, Molly stepped up and did a nice job in net."
Walled Lake jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the first period, but Liggett crawled back with two goals in the final three minutes.
First, junior Hannah Hodges scored at the 2:55 mark, with senior Emma Bandos and junior Danielle Lorant netting assists.
Then at the 1:03 mark, senior Aria Ganz-Waple tallied an unassisted goal. Her original shot was stopped, but the defenseman cleared the puck right to her stick. Ganz-Waple wasted no time and her slap shot flew over the goalie's glove shoulder, cutting the deficit to 3-2.
The Wild scored the only goal in the second period, which was cut short by nearly three minutes when a Wild player was injured and was taken to the hospital for precautionary reasons.
They ended the period with 2:58 left and added it to the third period.
After resurfacing the ice, the third period began with 17:58 on the clock.
Dow scored at the 7:09 mark with junior Caroline Eckrich drawing the lone assist, making it a 4-3 game, and Dow tallied another goal with 3:47 left to tie it, 4-4. Eckrich and Ganz-Waple assisted the tying goal.
Walled Lake was a player short due to a checking penalty at the end of regulation and at the final horn of regulation, a second Wild player tripped a Liggett girl and was in the penalty box.
The Knights opened the overtime with a two-girl advantage and wasted little time as Dow scored the winning goal to give her a first-ever hat trick. Ganz-Waple and Lorant assisted.
Later in the week, Liggett made it back-to-back wins with a 5-0 victory over host Northville.
Ganz-Waple, Lorant, sophomore Maranda Saigh, freshman Allison Stapleton and junior Hannah Hodges each scored a goal. Netting assists were Dow, Lorant, sophomore Jane Ninivaggi, sophomore Jena Pangborn, sophomore Nicole Rosenberg and senior Chandler Warren (two).
Liggett improved to 7-7 in the Michigan Metro Girls High School Hockey League Division 1 standings and 7-9 overall.