HOCKEY: No. 2 Fairfield Prep knocks off No. 1 Notre Dame-West Haven (video, photos)
WEST HAVEN — It was the clash of the titans at Bennett Rink on Saturday as No. 1 Notre Dame-West Haven faced off with No. 2 Fairfield Prep. When the game was over, both head coaches focused on their teams’ flaws.
The Jesuits scored three unanswered first-period goals, highlighted by Matt Wikman’s goal and assist, and goalie Matt Beck made 33 saves to lead Fairfield Prep to a 3-1 Southern Connecticut Conference Division I win over Notre Dame in a hard-hitting, physical game before a capacity crowd of 1,235.
The Green Knights picked up the intensity the final two periods, but the Jesuits’ strong play in the first period carried them to victory.
“I’m happy to get the win and I am excited about our future,” Fairfield Prep coach Matt Sather said. “But this game showed we have a lot of work to do. I wouldn’t say we dominated that first period. Notre Dame had their chances. I felt we got hung up in a street fight and should have skated more. This was not our best effort.”
The Jesuits improved to 7-0 and the Green Knights dropped to 7-1. Although the teams meet twice in the regular season, only one game counts toward the SCC standings. The SCC matchup will take place on Feb. 16 at the Wonderland of Ice in Bridgeport.
“Today, we didn’t get off the bus,” Notre Dame coach Bill Gerosa said. “Actually, it was the eighth game this season we didn’t off the bus in the first period. We’ve played well in our second and third periods, but we keep struggling in the first period.
“We held on to the puck too long in the first period today. We did have a few good chances, including two breakaways. But every time we shot the puck it was right at Beck’s stomach or right into his glove. We played better the last two periods, but we gave up too much in the first period.”
Wikman gave the Jesuits a 1-0 lead on a power-play goal off a rebound at 3:11. Connor Henry scored in front of the right post to give the Jesuits a 2-0 lead at 8:56 and Dean Lockery made it 3-0 at 12:45.
“This is the first time we played them this season and we didn’t know what to expect,” Wikman said. “The main focus was to get a W and get one step closer to qualifying for the state playoffs.”
After allowing three goals in the first period, Notre Dame goalie Luc Amatruda shut out the Jesuits the rest of the way. The highlight was stopping a Jesuits penalty shot at 3:27 of the second period.
Officials called for a penalty shot when a Notre Dame defenseman laid on the puck in the crease of the Green Knights’ goal. Wikman took the puck, deked right and shot left, but Amatruda deflected the puck off the left post.
The Green Knights eventually got a puck past Beck. Defenseman Darren Capobianco cut the Prep lead to 3-1 off a shot from the right point at 12:38 of the second period.
Both goalies stepped up in a scoreless third period. Beck had 12 saves in the final period and Amatruda had 11 to finish with 30 for the game.
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