GREENWICH -- When the Ridgefield and Greenwich girls hockey teams faced off to begin the FCIAC season Dec. 12, the Tigers held a 49-15 advantage in shots and somehow found themselves on the wrong end of a 3-1 score line.

Given the opportunity to make amends Monday, Ridgefield controlled play in a similar fashion but displayed far more clinical finishing -- one of many examples of how much the Tigers have improved since the beginning of the campaign.

Meghan Galloway and Lucy Wemyss each scored two goals as Ridgefield coasted past Greenwich 7-1 at Dorothy Hamill Rink in a crucial contest between playoff hopefuls.

"Sometimes we have a hard time not showing up from the get-go but we did today," Ridgefield coach Lauren Lubrano Gibbs said. "We were able to pass it very well; we switched sides well and our defense did a good job of moving east to west and not just north to south. Just working well together was the difference."

The victory avenged the Tigers' defeat to the Cardinals in their first matchup and allowed the visitors to leapfrog Greenwich into third place in the conference. After falling to first-place New Canaan on Saturday (4-2), Ridgefield (8-3, 5-3 FCIAC) came out with fire and dominated proceedings throughout, scoring 1:51 into the game and outshooting Greenwich 34-12 for its third victory in four games.

"It was a must win game and we told the girls we have to make sure we get a couple of points because we lost to them earlier in the season," Lubrano Gibbs said. "This really helps us for FCIACs and states."

Ridgefield opened the scoring off a rebound, as Galloway's shot from the point was saved by Cardinals goalie Dart Freccia. Although Freccia kept the initial effort out, Wemyss continued slamming at the puck and eventually it found its way into the back of the net.

"I didn't think we looked that pretty but we were aggressive and did what we needed to do," Ridgefield captain Anna Marcus, who also scored, said. "We told our forwards and defense to be more aggressive and get more rebounds; that helped us today."

The Cardinals (4-7, 4-3) kept things close early on courtesy of back-to-back power plays, the second of which was converted when Emily Bacon took a centering feed from Maddy Graves and squeezed a backhanded shot past Ridgefield goalie Heather Ogden three minutes after the opening goal.

Ridgefield retook the lead for good with 7:10 left in the opening period. Meredith Keenan struck a guided pass through multiple Greenwich defenders, making it simple for Maeve Reilly to finish from all alone in front of the net.

"We had some trouble covering down low and covering up high," Greenwich coach Brett Farson said. "Defensively, all the way around, wasn't good. (Ridgefield) was able to find the open man and pass it around. Tip your cap to them."

Galloway finished off the game in style, corralling a loose puck at center ice before weaving through nearly the entire Cardinals defense and firing past Freccia with 18 seconds left.

"I knew that (Ridgefield) would be better than they were earlier in the season," Greenwich captain Caroline Lee said. "I don't think we expected them to be that much better. They really got skating faster and were more organized."

The Tigers are steadily improving as the regular season winds down and Lubrano Gibbs believes Monday's performance is a microcosm of how far they have come since dropping the first game to Greenwich over a month ago.

"It's night and day," Lubrano Gibbs said. "To lose to (Greenwich) 3-1 the first or second game and to come back and beat them 7-1; our girls are embracing the system, the program and really decided what we want to do."


GREENWICH 1 0 0--1

Records: Ridgefield 8-3, 5-3 FCIAC; Greenwich 4-7, 4-3. Goals: R--Lucy Wemyss 2, Meghan Galloway 2, Ellie Garlick, Maeve Reilly, Anna Marcus; G--Emily Bacon. Assists: R--Reilly 2, Galloway, Meredith Keenan, Izzy Stafford 2; G--Maddy Graves. Goalies: R--Heather Ogden (11 saves); G -- Dart Freccia (27).