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January 15, 2014

Liggett hockey swarms South

Knights score early to spark shutout

By Thomas Franz
C & G Sports Writer

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Liggett’s Danielle Lorant skates in to score a goal during the Knights’ game against Grosse Pointe South on Jan. 9.

GROSSE POINTE FARMS — The girls hockey team from University Liggett may want to consider taking an 18-day break between all of their games from now on.

After not taking the ice together as a team since Dec. 21, the Knights scored three times in the first period on their way to a 5-0 victory against Grosse Pointe South on Jan 9.

“We closed down for Christmas break. We had a couple practices, but with six or eight players, and then with the school closings, we’re not allowed to be together. They haven’t been on the ice, so they’re ready to go,” Liggett coach Cassandra Jaeckle said. “I think it was just a situation of, ‘Oh my gosh, we’re together. Let’s play. It’s going to be fun.’”

Jane Ninivaggi got the scoring started for Liggett midway through the first period. The Knights piled on from there to close out the first period with goals from Allison Stapleton and Danielle Lorant.

That would be more than enough for Liggett, as sophomore goalie Olivia Portillo earned the shutout against South by making 20 saves.

“Olivia’s just one of those goaltenders that’s always going to make her plays, so as long as she does her job, we’ll have a chance every night with her. She’s sound, and I was going to take her out, but then I realized she had the shutout so I left her in,” Jaeckle said.

Gracie Scarfone scored in the second period, then Portillo capped off her shutout by assisting on an empty net goal that was scored by Molly Murphy with just less than a minute left in the game.

Four of Liggett’s five goals came from nonstarters, a stat that was especially pleasing to Jaeckle.

“We had some kids get on the scoreboard that generally are more of our inexperienced team. They don’t have much experience, so typically, they’re our third or fourth line,” Jaeckle said. “Our depth every year is getting better and better, so it’s nice that I can start plugging new players in.”

South was without its starting goalie against Liggett, but the Blue Devils struggled to get many scoring chances in the early parts of the contest. South’s best chance at scoring came on a five-on-three power play late in the second period, but the Liggett defense stood strong.

“We have a lot of new players, and we’re just trying to progress every single day when we get on the ice during practice and games. Tonight probably wasn’t our best night, but hopefully this is an opportunity to learn from that,” South coach Joe Provenzano said.

South appeared to gain traction in the third period by gaining puck possession, as Liggett didn’t have a shot on net for the first eight minutes of play, and Provenzano hopes that effort can become more consistent.

“I think that we can take away positively is that when we put forward a good effort like we did in the third period, and we’re trying to win the one-on-one battles and we’re controlling that, then we’re going to be successful,” Provenzano said.

South moved to 6-3 on the season and had weekend contests against Grosse Pointe North and Ann Arbor Pioneer. Liggett improved to 4-1 and played games against Northville and Ladywood.

In other local hockey news:
On Jan. 11, Grosse Pointe North topped South 8-5. Elizabeth Gallagher scored four goals to lead the Norsemen. North moved to 4-4; South fell to 6-5.