ND-Fairfield skates past New Canaan
MILFORD -- If there was ever a blue-collar high school hockey team, Notre Dame-Fairfield is it.
There's no one star on the Lancers; in fact in their 6-2 win over New Canaan Saturday evening at the Milford Ice Pavilion, Notre Dame had every one of its goals scored by a different skater.
"That's what we're preaching," Lancers coach Steve Hetherman said. "Everyone has to contribute and when we don't get contributions from everyone on the roster we don't win. We don't look to one player, we have a nice rotation where each player does something to help his teammates be successful."
Notre Dame (10-8) jumped out to a 2-1 lead in the first period getting goals from Ryan Gawricki and Landon Gabriele. New Canaan (10-6-3) was able to answer Gabriele's goal when Peter Katz corralled a puck in the goalie crease and hammered at it until it found the back of the net.
The second period saw only one goal as Notre Dame's Tyler English snuck one behind New Canaan goalie Peter Windas from the right side of the crease.
New Canaan have turned up the intensity to start the third period, skating much harder than it had the first two periods. New Canaan freshman Brooks Gammill rewarded the efford, scoring with five minutes remaining to make it a one-goal game.
That would be as close as the Rams got however, as Notre Dame's Mark Russo scored off a cross from Gabriele just 30 seconds later.
"We really needed that," Hetherman said of the quick response. "It was a good push by New Canaan and Coach Gore; they had the momentum and that was really the turning point, once we got that you saw the body language of the New Canaan team."
After Russo's goal Notre Dame rattled off two more in the final three minutes. First Tyler Henchcliffe somehow got one past Liam Mooney on a slap shot from the blue line. Later, Connor McCutcheon finished off the scoring with a rebound strike.
After giving up the goal to make it a one-score contest Notre Dame goalie William Scovill was excited with how his teammates responded.
"That was real good," Scovill (20 saves) said. "To know that they're in front of me and they were able to get that goal back quickly was great."
Aside from the inspired play early in the third, New Canaan was never really able to find a rhythm. Part of the Rams struggles had to do with the physical style of the Lancers, who relentlessly finish every check.
"We got outworked, we got out hustled, we got outclassed, plain and simple," Rams coach Pat Gore said. "Most teams get mad and go on the ice and do something about it and we get mad and sulk and I've never seen a championship team sulk."
Gore has a simple solution to what's plaguing the Rams.
"We have to start playing with heart," Gore said. "Plain and simple."
Notre Dame-Fairfield 6, New Canaan 2
NOTRE DAME-FAIRFIELD 2 1 3--6
NEW CANAAN 1 0 1--2
Records: Notre Dame-Fairfield 10-8; New Canaan 10-6-3.
Goals: NDF--Ryan Gawricki, Landon Gabriele, Tyler English, Mark Russo, Tyler Henchcliffe, Connor McCutcheon; NC--Peter Katz, Brooks Gammill. Assists: NDF--Gawricki, Gabriele. Goalies: NDF--William Scovill (20 saves); NC--Peter Windas (19), Liam Mooney (3). Shots: NDF--26; NC--26.