Trumbull/St. Joseph skating against the best

Gina Moriello has stepped in and taken over as the goalie on the Trumbull/St. Joseph’s girls co-op hockey team this year.

Moriello was very busy during two periods of play at The Rinks in Shelton on Jan. 4 when the Eagles played host to a very strong Darien team and lost, 9-0.

With shots coming from all angles, Moriello made 15 first-period saves as the Eagles fell behind 3-0 and were never able to gain any momentum throughout the 45 minutes of play.

The Blue Wave (4-1) held a 30-3 advantage in shots and 11 players got into the scoring column. Their only loss came against the East Catholic-Glastonbury-South Windsor co-op team.

The Eagles slipped to 1-2 in FCIAC play and 4-3 overall

“It didn’t look like we were going to have a goalie, and that meant we wouldn’t have been able to field a team,” Moriello said.

“When the coach (Paula Dady) asked me if I’d play the position, I said I would.”

Normally an up-ice player, Moriello seems to have developed a knack for blocking low shots.

She made 18 saves in the first two periods before she was replaced.

“Gina’s been outstanding so far in net for us,” Dady said. “She’s made the big difference in our play.”

Dady also cited her trio of captains Rebecca Buck and Kelcy Meise, along with Caroline Prezioso in controlling the back line.

Up front, Dady has Kaly Gonski centering one of her lines and Lexi Brown on the other. Assistant captain Rosa Moriello, a senior, is one of the stronger wingers.

“We lost some very good talent from last year (including the teams’ high scorer, Nina Danforth),” Dady said. “But we also have some good players who’ve come into the program. We’re progressing and our goal is to make the states and hopefully the FCIAC playoffs.”

Darien got a big night from junior forward Amanda Sload, who scored three goals and added the same number of assists.

Another junior, Samantha Nielsen, had two goals while senior captain Ellie Bennett and Allegra Molkenthin had a goal and an assist.

“We’ve been very fortunate the past couple of years,” said Darien coach Jamie Tropsa. “We’re now getting kids from a feeding program and it’s making a huge difference.

“I have 22 girls and they can all skate well and play. It wasn’t always like that.”

Tropsa felt bad that his team scored nine goals. Throughout the final eight minutes of the game they hardly took a shot on goal.

“It’s never our intention to do that,” he said. “But our kids come to play. You really can’t tell them not to try and score. I’ve been on my sides of this and I know it doesn’t feel good when you lose like that.”

The Eagles boast wins over Greenwich, West Haven, Branford and Hand of Madison.

Their most exciting game, however, was a 5-4 overtime loss to another good FCIAC team, New Canaan.

“We stayed with them all the way,” Dady said. “They scored in the last minute of overtime to win. In my mind, we won that game.”