On her 17th birthday, Emily Fox gave the entire Warwick girls’ hockey team plenty of reason to celebrate.
After losing a 3-1 lead to Lincoln in the third period on Saturday night, Warwick got a power-play goal from Fox with five seconds remaining in the game to lift the Lady Titans to a 4-3 victory.
The win was Warwick’s seventh of the year, which set a new program record for most victories in a season. In their sixth season in existence, the Lady Titans are now 7-3
And it was Fox’s goal, her second of the game, that did the trick.
“We were like, ‘Five seconds left? We’ve got to get this in,’” Fox said. “We all looked at each other and knew that if we didn’t win there would be a lot of skating on Monday.”
Warwick looked poised to cruise to the victory when it went up 3-1 on a goal by Jacqui Lyman with 10:47 left to play.
But Lincoln got a goal from Jean Bray – her second of the game – with just over four minutes left, and then it got the equalizer from Cassidy DiPaola with 1:51 left.
As the game entered the final minute, though, DiPaola picked up a penalty for crosschecking, giving Warwick the man-advantage for the final 56 seconds of regulation.
At that point, the Lady Titans took a timeout to gather themselves.
“We said, ‘Now it’s up to you guys,’” Warwick assistant coach Ryan Henderson said. “‘The ones on the ice have to pick it up, they’ve got to connect the passes, the goalie has to protect the angles.’ They rose to the challenge and got the win.”
With time winding down, Lyman moved a pass near the blue line to Ashley Cotrone, who put a shot on Lincoln goaltender Ashley Devolve.
The puck ricocheted out in front and, with Devolve on the ground, Fox wristed it high into the net for the game-winner.
“I was worried,” Lyman said. “Emily Fox came back. She’s the definite hero. It was really heart-wrenching.”
But it was also a fitting ending for Fox and her teammates, all of whom were very aware that a win would establish the team’s wins record.
The goal was Fox’s 14th of the season, and she moved into second place in the state with 27 points.
“It was kind of a joke, because it was my birthday and I turned 17 and I’m number seven and it was our seventh win,” Fox said. “It was just like, ‘It’s the luck of the sevens,’ coming into it.”
Lincoln fell to 1-9 in its first-year as a program.
Warwick is now in fifth place in all of Division I with 8.4 power points. It is second in the DeCosta Division, trailing only the Barrington/Mt. Hope/Portsmouth co-op team.
The Lady Titans dominated play early Saturday night, and got on the board midway through the first period.
Fox dropped the puck behind her to Lyman, who was in front of the blue line on the left. Lyman sent a wrist shot towards the net, and Casey McCormick was able to get her stick on it and deflect it past Devolve for the 1-0 lead.
The game remained that way until Bray tied it up early in the second period, beating Warwick goaltender Arielle Frank.
With the second period nearing the end, and Lincoln on a power play, Fox controlled the puck in Lincoln’s zone and skated hard from right to left in front of the goal. She fired a wrist shot back to the right, and it snuck in the bottom corner of the goal for a 2-1 lead.
Just 1:13 into the third period, Warwick made it 3-1 on a highlight reel goal by Lyman, who carried the puck through three Lincoln defenders before flipping it past Devolve.
Comfortably in front, though, the Lady Titans began to relax and Lincoln fought its way back.
“After we scored the third we goal we thought, ‘We’ve got it in the bag,’” Fox said. “We took some shifts off and it became apparent when they scored.”
But any notion of a letdown was wiped away when Fox converted the game-winner with just five seconds left.
And at that point, Warwick could breathe a sigh of relief and celebrate.
“Coach came in and said, ‘If you guys get this, you’ll make a record,’” Lyman said. “We were like, ‘We got this.’”
Frank saved nine of 10 shots in goal before being replaced late in the second period by Kayleen Murphy. Murphy saved eight of the 10 shots she faced.
The Lady Titans’ next game is scheduled for Thursday against Burrillville/Ponaganset at Levy Rink at 8 p.m. Warwick will also play Saturday versus Smithfield at Warburton Ice Rink at 9:30 p.m. and Sunday at Providence College’s Schneider Arena against Narragansett/North Kingstown/South Kingstown at 1 p.m.