New Canaan rips Wilton to advance in FCIAC Tier I
STAMFORD -- After clinching a spot in the Tier I FCIAC Tournament on the final day of the regular season, there was no way the New Canaan boys hockey team was going to let itself be one-and-done in the postseason. For the second time in six days, the defending FCIAC Champions picked up a lopsided win over Wilton, this time by a 9-2 margin in the playdown round at Terry Connors Ice Rink in Stamford Saturday night.
As a result, No. 4 New Canaan (9-4 FCIAC) advanced to the semifinals of the FCIAC Tournament, where it will take on top-seed and arch-rival Darien, which had a first round bye. The crosstown rivals will faceoff Wednesday night at 6 p.m. at the Terry Connors Ice Rink.
"We knew the first period was going to be huge. After the first goal, we just kept it going, and the floodgates opened up. I think these are the results of how hard we've worked this year," said New Canaan's Dylan Hart, who picked up a hat trick. "It's New Canaan-Darien. You can't not get up for that."
New Canaan's Puck Richardson started an avalanche of New Canaan goals five minutes into the first period, as he opened the scoring to give the Rams a lead they would not relinquish. Hart and Stephen Mettler picked up assists.
Midway through the first, the Rams went on the power play, setting them up to score a pair of goals in nine seconds. First, Tyler Manchuk got the puck to Spencer Manchuk, who took a shot from the blue line, which was deflected into the net by Hart. On the ensuing faceoff, Mettler and Jack Stanton assisted Brock Anderson, who crashed the net for a goal.
New Canaan made it 4-0 on Hart's second goal, as Jake Granito notched his first of four assists. The final goal of the first period came courtesy of Spencer Manchuk.
After falling behind 6-0 on a second goal by Richardson, Wilton (8-5 FCIAC) managed to score the next two markers. First, Matthew Kobyra and Alexander Pagliaro assisted Cole Rance as the Warriors cracked the scoreboard. Next, Joey Cullinan found Pagliaro, who cut the Rams' lead to 6-2.
"I think we were trying to make the perfect pass instead of just putting it on net and have somebody clean up. I don't even know if it's complacency; I just think they're trying to be perfect out there instead of just playing the game," New Canaan coach Bo Hickey said. "We were going to play (Darien) one way or the other, and it's always going to be a barnburner."
New Canaan used a strong third period to erase any hopes of a Wilton comeback, as the Rams scored three more power play goals. Chip Glover scored on a shot from the blue line, Dylan Hart notched the hat trick and Ritchie Shane put the finishing touches on New Canaan's 9-2 win with 3:03 remaining.
"Knowing we have that many people that can score is definitely a good thing going into the Darien game. Now we can start feeding more people instead of just certain kids on certain lines," Granito said. "We're all pumped up to play Darien in semifinals, and hopefully we'll come out on top in that one."
New Canaan 9, Wilton 2
WILTON 0 2 0--2
NEW CANAAN 5 1 3--9
Records: Wilton 8-5 FCIAC, New Canaan 9-4 FCIAC
Goals: W--Cole Rance, Alexander Pagliaro; NC--Dylan Hart 3, Puck Richardson 2, Brock Anderson, Spencer Manchuck, Chip Glover, Ritchie Shane. Assists: W--Matthew Kobyra, Pagliaro, Joey Cullinan; NC--Granito 4, Hart, Stephen Mettler 2, Spencer Manchuk, Tyler Manchuk, Jack Stanton, Harry Stanton, Glover. Goalies: W--Nicholas Wells (25 saves); NC--Chris Koennecke (16); Shots: W--18; NC--34