Though the Greenwich High School boys ice hockey team’s 2020-2021 season was shortened and modified due to COVID-19 guidelines, it still played 15 games, its last one coming in the FCIAC Division I Tournament final.
This winter, the Cardinals and hockey teams around the state are back to playing a full slate of games, giving them more opportunities to challenge each other and compete in both conference and state tournaments.
Such opportunities are especially exciting for a Greenwich team with high aspirations.
“Like every senior, I want our team to win the FCIAC championship and the state championship, I think we’re capable,” Greenwich senior tri-captain/forward Nate Duffy said.
“Last year was great and this year it feels good to be back again and we hope to win an FCIAC championship and state championship,” added Cardinals senior defenseman/tri-captain Shea Madden. “We are ready to set each other up for success.”
Coached by Jack Duffy, Greenwich came close to capturing the FCIAC Division I Tournament title last season. The Cardinals, who finished their 2020-2021 campaign with a record of 10-5, posted a 3-2 win over Fairfield co-op in the FCIAC Division I Tournament semifinals, then dropped a 3-1 decision to New Canaan in the title game at Dorothy Hamill Skating Rink.
“I think it was great for the kids last year,” Jack Duffy said. “We didn’t know we were going to have a season, so the season we had was great. There was no state tournament, but that group of kids that graduated last year got some closure. We had some good competition, so all-in-all, it was a pretty successful season to compete like that.”
Greenwich, which last won the FCIAC championship in 2016 when it defeated St. Joseph in the title matchup, opens its 2021-2022 season Monday with a 4:30 p.m. game against Daniel Hand at Dorothy Hamill Skating Rink.
Nate Duffy is one of the forwards that will be relied upon to provide leadership and scoring to the Cardinals up front. He will mostly skate on a line that includes seniors Francois Geraghty and junior Gage Bria.
“We are building our chemistry and once we get on the ice a few times, we are going to start to put together a few things and come out strong,” whose brother Sean Duffy, a 2021 GHS graduate, also competed on the Cards’ hockey squad.
The Cardinals’ senior tri-captain likes how the team is coming together as the season gets underway very soon.
“We have been bonding with the boys really well and I hope our team chemistry can take us all the way this year,” Nate Duffy said. “We have good leadership and it has been pretty fun so far.”
Senior tri-captain Brendan Frost and Madden (tri-captain) key a group of strong defensemen that includes junior Peter Lewis, senior Randall Feda and junior Charlie Asness.
“We have a couple of new faces around, we are rotating guys in and seeing what everyone can do,” Frost said. “We have a lot of different talents on the team and we’re looking to see what we can put together so far.”
It was, indeed, difficult for the opposition to score against the Cardinals last season, as they registered six shutouts.
“Focusing on playing team defense is what we try to do,” Frost said. “We have to stay tight. Sticking to your guy, playing in front of the net and watching in front of the net are what we concentrate on doing.”
Like his fellow captains, Madden is embracing his leadership role.
“It feels great knowing that everyone looks up to us and it feels good to be a captain,” Madden said. “It’s a huge responsibility to be a leader out there and it’s important for us to make sure that we’re always things to the best of our abilities.”
“Frost and Madden are back on ‘D’ and they will log a lot of ice time,” coach Duffy said. “They’ve been good leaders so far.”
Nate Duffy, Danny Pratley and Danny Windels bring skill and leadership up front.
“We’re trying to build around those guys,” coach Duffy said. “They have been good leaders for us up front.”
Junior Cole Studwell, senior Jack Ryan and sophomore Nick Sinisi are the Cards’ goalies.
“We have three good choices in goal and I think they will be competing for time all season long,” Jack Duffy said.
Matthew Trimmer (junior forward), Grady Kaali-Nagy (senior forward), Bailey Rozmus (sophomore forward), Jordan Bowbear (senior), William Duncan (junior), Dylan Harris (junior), Alex McCarvey (junior), Kevin Keaveney (senior), Robert Grillo (junior), Daniel Greenbaum (senior), Owen Lanzarone (junior), Joe Lewis (freshman) and Jackson Price each provide depth at the positions they will play.
Ben Bates, Chris Cataldo, John Cataldo, Thatcher Danielson, Sean Duffy, Jack Hutchins, Dylan Kronengold, Jake Shreders and David Mairs were among the graduates of the Cardinals’ winning 2020-21 team.
Twins Charlie Zolin, a goalie and Wesley Zolin, a forward, who played on the Greenwich squad for three seasons, are now competing at the Elite Hockey Academy – an 18-Under club team located near New Haven.
Greenwich visits Fairfield Prep (Dec. 14) after hosting Daniel Hand on Monday, then has a home game on Dec. 21 against Xavier. The Winter Classic at Greenwich Skating Club is scheduled to take place on Dec. 29 against Darien at 4 p.m. The Cardinals’ first game of 2022 will be against New Canaan at home on Jan. 5.
“Our strength is our experience on defense,” coach Duffy said. “We are looking for goals up front, since we graduated a lot of our goal-scorers last season. So, it’s anybody’s job to bang pucks in the net.”
“Going into the season there is a lot of teams that lost a lot of players from last year, so I think you are going to see a real fun season,” Duffy continued. “The FCIAC – it’s like a triangle or square of great teams out there and we beat each other up. We have a lot of work in front of us and we’ll see who steps up.”