Since beginning 2014 with a tough loss to Notre Dame-Fairfield, all the New Canaan boys hockey team has done is win.
The rolling Rams have certainly lived up to their reputation of being a strong team during the second half of the season this year, as they entered Saturday night's game against Greenwich with a robust nine-game unbeaten streak.
After being challenged by the Cardinals the first 18 minutes of play, the Rams made it clear the streak wasn't going to end on Saturday. A four-goal second period powered New Canaan to a convincing 6-2 triumph over FCIAC rival Greenwich at Dorothy Hamill Skating Rink. Junior Parker Lewis scored two goals and sophomore James Francis tallied one goal and one assist for the Rams, who improved to 11-3-1 overall and 7-0-1 in the FCIAC.
"After a couple of losses at the beginning of the year we knew we had to pull it together," Lewis said. "We had some key wins against Notre Dame-West Haven and Xavier recently and we continued the momentum we had tonight."
"Our first period in our last game against Ridgefield was good, but the second period was bad and tonight we had another bad second period," GHS coach Bob Russel said. "We were playing really well in the second period, until they scored that (go-ahead) goal."
Trailing 1-0, the Cardinals (4-9-0) tied the score when a wide open Lodato snapped a shot past New Canaan goalie Mac Wright 1:02 into the second period. It didn't take long for the Rams to respond though. With the Rams effectively moving the puck in the Cardinals' zone, Francis put the visitors on top for good, tallying 53 seconds later. Junior Davis Bruch found Lewis at alone near the crease and Lewis converted a one-timer, making it a 3-1 game with 12:18 to go in the second period.
Senior forward Jack O'Rourke got a feed from Lewis at the doorstep and knocked the puck past goalie Nick Buzzuto, putting the home team in a 4-1 hole third-period hole. Lewis' second goal of the night off a feed from Peter Reinhardt gave the Rams a commanding 5-1 advantage heading into the third period.
"My goals came right in front of the net, right near the crease," Lewis said. "The beginning of the first period we came out slow, but we really picked it up in the second period."
Said Rams senior forward Harry Stanton: "We knew this was a big game and we did a good job of finding the back of the net. Our defense played really solid."
During their 10-game unbeaten streak, New Canaan hasn't yielded more than two goals in any game.
"Mac (Wright) has been outstanding in goal and our defense has not given up too many goals in a game," Stanton said. "Everyone on our team has bought into the system and everyone is playing well together."
Wright made 12 saves, while Bozzuto, who had shots coming at him from all angles throughout, had 25.Read Full Article
"We have to get stronger at our net, a lot of their goals came on plays in front of our net," Russel said. "They got inside us near our net."
After Greenwich killed New Canaan's first power play in the opening period, the Rams scored an even strength goal to take a 1-0 edge at the 4:06 mark. Forward Patrick Hompe moved the puck to Stanton, who tallied off a one-timer.
"We just broke down at times," GHS junior defenseman Kevin Piotrzkowski said. "After we scored in the second period and they got one right away, that took away all of our momentum. We can't give up goals like that right after we score."
The Rams, who beat the Cardinals 4-2 at Darien Ice Rink on Dec. 23, held a 31-13 shots-on-goal advantage.
"Offensively, we have to get pucks to the net and get to more rebounds," Lodato said. "On defense, we have to challenge their players more and help the goalie out."
Bruch sealed New Canaan's scoring in the third period, while Finneran found the back of the net for Greenwich. New Canaan hopes to continue its streak Monday on the road against Ridgefield.
"Our goal is to play for the FCIAC and state championship," Stanton said. "We're on a little run here and we want to keep it going."
Greenwich, meanwhile, hosts St. Joseph Monday.
"This coming week we have some big games coming up -- games we have to win," Piotrzkowski said.
New Canaan 6, Greenwich 2
NEW CANAAN 1 4 1 -- 6
GREENWICH 0 1 1 -- 2
Goals: NC -- Parker Lewis 2, Harry Stanton, James Francis, Jack O'Rourke, Davis Bruch; G -- Matt Lodato, Luke Finneran. Assists: NC -- Patrick Hompe 3, O'Rourke, Bruch, Peter Reinhardt 2, Francis, Matt Robustelli; G -- Ian Fulton. Goalies: NC -- Mac Wright (12 saves); G -- Nick Buzzuto (25 saves).