New Canaan boys hockey team blanked by Xavier
MIDDETOWN -- The Xavier boys hockey team brought a three-game winless streak into its Monday afternoon matchup with New Canaan at the Freeman Athletic Center at Wesleyan University. Behind a shutout by goalie Ben Guidobono and a two-point night by Bryan Stanton, Xavier made sure that streak didn't reach four.
Xavier snapped a scoreless deadlock just 17 seconds into the second period and scored two more in the third to close the book on its 3-0 shutout of New Canaan.
Guidobono made his first start at the varsity level in place of injured starting goalie Shane Baldwin and earned a shutout by stopping all 20 shots he faced.
"One of our biggest issues is playing 45 minutes, and we're struggling with it. But I'd rather struggle with it now than in March. The final 30 minutes we were a different team," Xavier coach Scott Gainey said. "With our schedule, we'll take every win we can get. It's getting to that time of year that they're all going to matter."
Scoring opportunities were few and far between for both squads in the opening period, despite two power-play opportunities for Xavier and two for New Canaan.
New Canaan's best chance in the period occurred while shorthanded, as Ben Patch stole the puck at his own blue line to spring himself on a breakaway, though his shot was denied by Guidobono.
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"As soon as they realize they can compete with everybody, which we have so far, we'll get it turned around," New Canaan coach Bo Hickey said. "I'm not taking anything away from Xavier; they're a good hockey team. They're very well coached and highly skilled."
Xavier's third power-play opportunity carried over from the first period into the second, and Jack Gethings capitalized 17 seconds into the middle stanza. After winning the opening faceoff, Xavier quickly moved into the attacking zone, but its first two shots were denied by Koennecke.
For Xavier, however, the third shot was the charm after Gethings received a pass from Bryan Stanton in the right faceoff circle and blasted a one-time slap shot to break the scoreless deadlock.
New Canaan took a pair of minor penalties at the end of the second period and was forced to open the third while trying to fend off a 5-on-3 power play. Bryan Stanton received a pass from McCartin to increase Xavier's lead to 2-0 less than 30 seconds into the period.
"We made a point of emphasis that ideally we'd like to get two out of that. We'll take the one," Gainey said. "If they kill a 5-on-3, they've got a little more juice in their legs, and they're going to come after us. I'm happy that we cashed in."
Five minutes later, Xavier added an insurance goal when Colin Beaudoin was able to stuff in a loose puck in front of the New Canaan net for the 3-0 lead.
The Rams came close to avoiding the shutout on several occasions late in the third, but Guidobono made saves on New Canaan's Luke Amero and Cooper Manchuck, among others.
New Canaan saw its two-game win streak come to a halt, but it rebounded for a 7-2 win against Westhill on Tuesday.
"No excuses. We have to play up to our ability and they have to believe in themselves," Hickey said. "At times they do that, but you have to remind sophomores every once in a while."
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XAVIER 3, NEW CANAAN 0
New Canaan 0 0 0 -- 0
Xavier 0 1 2 -- 3
Records: Xavier 7-3-1; New Canaan 5-4-2; Goals: X--Jack Gethings, Bryan Stanton, Colin Beaudoin. Assists: X--Stanton, Kade McCartin, William Stanton. Goalies: NC--Chris Koennecke (22 saves); X--Ben Guidobono (20). Shots: NC--20; X--25.