STAMFORD -- Locked in a tight affair with one of New England's best, the Greenwich Academy girls ice hockey team had opportunities to clinch another impressive victory in what has already been a solid campaign.

However, the hosts were left to rue their missed chances and found out how quickly they can be punished for not converting shots into goals.

Despite entering the third period tied, the Gators yielded three third-period goals en route to a 4-1 defeat at the hands of the Gunnery School on Wednesday afternoon at Chelsea Piers. The defeat snapped the Gators seven-game winning streak.

"Hockey is such a game of momentum," GA captain Pam Schulman said. "It showed by how (Gunnery) went two or three goals up in the third. If we had got a goal in the first few minutes of the third the outcome would have been totally different."

The Gators (9-2) came out strong to start the final period, creating a 2-on-1 opportunity 25 seconds in and firing other shots at the Gunnery net. However, the Highlanders (9-3-1) weathered the storm with poise.

Sarah Hughson scored what proved to be the winning goal with 11:59 left, smashing home a rebound after a centering pass came off the pad of GA goalie Annie DeFrino. The Highlanders extended their lead with 7:20 to play and finished off the victory with 4:48 remaining, with both goals coming on 2-on-1 breakaways.

"It got to us mentally after we got down," Schulman said. "We were a little lazy, which isn't the character of this team. For the last 10 games we've been playing with so much heart, but shift by shift we kind of lost it in the third."

Schulman opened the scoring for GA during a tightly played first period that saw few quality chances. The senior robbed a puck at center ice, raced away from the defense and quickly switched from forehand to backhand to flip a shot past Gunnery goalie Samantha Walther.

"I was looking to pressure the girl that had the puck on the outside and her pass somehow ended up on my stick and I just took it down against (Walther) and somehow put it past her," Schulman said.

The visitors turned up the pressure in the second period, controlling possession and firing the puck into the dangerous areas. Gunnery had the puck in the offensive end for the entire length of a power play, but couldn't find the back of the net as the combination of blocked shots and good work by DeFrino kept the Highlanders at bay.

"Annie DeFrino was outstanding in the second period and without her the score wouldn't have even been this close," Schulman said. "She kept us in it; we should have cleared out some of (Gunnery's) goals that came off rebounds."

The Highlanders' persistence was finally rewarded late on during a power play opportunity, as Kayla Meneghin redirected a shot from the point with 1:18 left to tie the game.

"We are two evenly matched teams, every time we play Gunnery it is close," Gators coach Moe Tarrant said. "It was a good two periods for us; we didn't play a good third period. Give (Gunnery) the utmost respect; they outplayed us outworked us and outshot us."

Despite the defeat, the Gators still sport an impressive 9-2 record and will seek to rebound when they travel to take on Millbrook Friday.

"We have to have a little more fight when it comes to our home ice," Tarrant said. "We have to take care of business and we didn't take care of business tonight."

Gunnery 4,

Greenwich Academy 1

GUNNERY 0 1 3--4


Goals: GU--Kayla Meneghin 2, Isabela Bagi, Sarah Hughson; GA--Pam Schulman; Assists: GU--Meneghin, Meghan Lembo, Jocelyn Mongillo; Goalies: GU--Samantha Walther (9 saves); Annie DeFrino (17).

Records: Gunnery 9-3-1; Greenwich Academy 9-2.