Revenge is always sweet and the New Canaan High School boys ice hockey team took another swig from the cup of vengeance Monday by downing Xavier 5-2 at Darien ice rink.
"We lost to Xavier last year at their rink (Wesleyan University). St. Joseph has been beating us in FCIAC and state playoffs in recent years and we beat them 4-1 on Saturday (at Shelton Rinks). So it was nice to get some revenge over both teams," said Harry Stanton, one of four New Canaan senior captains. "It was great to get two solid wins."
The calendar turn to 2014 has agreed with New Canaan. The Rams (now 6-3-1 overall) are 4-0-1 since a January 4 loss to Notre Dame of Fairfield.
"We're definitely getting it going," Stanton said. "We had an up and down season last year. And we have a lot of seniors (eight) on the roster this year. We're committed to do big things this season."
Although this was a non-league triumph, New Canaan (3-0-1) remains in the thick of the FCIAC East Division race currently fighting with surprising Trinity Catholic (4-0) and perennial archrival Darien (3-0-1).
New Canaan took away the heart of Xavier bit by bit Monday. Xavier, now 3-7 overall and losers of four straight, took a 1-0 lead on the first of two goals by David Piekut.
Then Stanton decided to lead by example. He scored just 55 seconds later with 5:33 left to forge a 1-1 tie. Stanton then tallied on a breakaway off a wonderful feed from John O'Rourke with just 11.4 seconds left for a 2-1 edge after one period.
Xavier had rang shots off the post twice in the previous 30 seconds of action.
"We think we have a lot of speed on our roster. That's where we excel. John (O'Rourke) and I have played hockey together the last eight years," Stanton said. "I asked him how he made that great blind pass. He said `I just heard you.''
Xavier's Piekut forged a 2-2 tie with 11:43 left in the second period. Xavier then killed off back-to-back penalties despite New Canaan swarming on the power plays.
However, Parker Lewis provided another dagger for New Canaan by scoring on a rebound just 8.9 seconds before the second intermission.
"Late goals like that are a combination of our team's character and fortunate bounces," Stanton said. "It's easy to let up the last 30 seconds of a period to get to the lockerroom. But we keep going. We don't mind hard work. We're out there to play hard all 45 minutes. We know when we play hard, we will score goals."
Stanton completed his hat trick with 7:16 left to play to break Xavier's back at 4-2. O'Rourke tallied an empty-net goal with 38.3 seconds to go.
New Canaan senior goalie Mac Wright was busy with 16 saves although the NC defense blocked a plethora of shots.
For Xavier, Ben Guiidobono registered 26 saves before being injured with 6:12 to play. Paul Hotchkiss came in and made three saves.
"Stanton is a great player and we tip our cap to New Canaan. But those goals in the final seconds of each period were killers," said Xavier coach Dan DeConti. "I'm disappointed with how we played. But we're young, we're inconsistent and we're still learning that we need to play hard the entire 45 minutes."