Since registering three goals in the third period of its four-goal win against Daniel Hand in its season-opener, Greenwich’s boys hockey team has experienced trouble scoring.
The Cardinals were shut out in a loss to Fairfield Prep in their second game of the season and Tuesday night, they were held scoreless when non-conference foe Xavier visited Dorothy Hamill Skating Rink.
Scoring twice in the first period, then adding three more goals in the third period, Xavier skated to an impressive 5-0 victory over Greenwich, which is finding its way offensively.
“We’re trying to find our personnel up there and we are trying to see the guys who are going to carry the weight offensively, we just haven’t seen it yet,” Greenwich coach Jack Duffy said. “I think the boys are a little bit frustrated. Our message to them was that we are going to stick together and work hard on it and that’s what we have to do.”
With the loss, their second straight, Greenwich’s record is 1-2, heading into its Winter Classic matchup against Darien on Dec. 29 at Greenwich Skating Club. Xavier, which suffered a 6-3 defeat at the hands of the Fairfield Warde/Ludlowe co-op team, this past Saturday, got back on the winning track and improved its mark to 2-1.
Ryan Gerardi and Dylan Reynolds recorded first-period goals for the Falcons, who saw Julian Sicurella score twice and Matt Reardon tally in the third period. The Falcons outshot the Cardinals, 15-4, during the first period, before the action evened out in the second period.
“The score I don’t think was indicative of how tight the game was,” Xavier coach Karl Sundquist said. “We thought the ice might have been a little tilted in the first period, but the second period that certainly wasn’t the case.”
“It was very even in the second period, it really could have gone either way,” Sundquist continued. “If they get a goal there to make it 2-1, it’s a whole different hockey game. So us getting the third goal in the early third was a good momentum-boost.”
Xavier seized a 1-0 advantage 3:05 into the first period. Senior forward Michael Prestash’s shot from the right wing deflected off the pads of Greenwich junior goalie Cole Studwell and sophomore Ryan Gerardi got his stick on the puck in front for the tip-in, giving the Falcons a 1-0 edge.
A tripping penalty put the Cardinals on a power play with 9:01 to go in the opening period, but it was the Falcons that instead, capitalized. Creating a turnover, senior forward Dylan Reynolds got loose on a breakaway and his shorthanded goal put the visitors on top, 2-0, at the 8:50 mark of the first period.
Studwell made 13 saves in the first period for Greenwich, which couldn’t generate many offensive opportunities.
“It was a terrible first period on our part, I thought we played a pretty good second period,” Duffy said. “We had some opportunities, we’re still not generating enough offense and when that happens, every goal our opponent scores is big. It was not a 5-0 game in general, but we still have a lot of work to do.”
During a scoreless second period, the Cards registered nine shots on goal, while Studwell turned away seven shots on the other end of the ice. Senior forwards Nate Duffy and Danny Pratley and senior defenseman Shea Madden were among the Cardinals who directed shots toward sophomore goalie John Kozdroy, who was up to the challenge.
“It was the first start of the year from him, so for us to get a shutout it should be a confidence-booster for not only him, but the rest of the club,” Sundquist said of Kozdroy.
Xavier extended its lead to 3-0 on a goal from Reardon off an assist from Niko Spaniotis, putting Greenwich in a difficult situation.
“We really wanted that third goal,” Sundquist said. “We didn’t’ want to get to 2-1, because 2-1 things tighten up and they get a little momentum. It was probably a relief more than anything to get that third goal.”
The Falcons final two goals came from Sicurella late in the third period. Controlling the puck along the left boards, Sicurella found his way between the circles and snapped a shot past Studwell, putting the Cards in a 4-0 hole with just 1:45 remaining. His fifth goal came only 11 seconds later off a tap-in for Xavier, which exhibited a solid forecheck.
“Xavier is a good team, they move the puck really well in the neutral zone, which really hurt us in that first period,” Greenwich senior defenseman/tri-captain Brendan Frost said.
Frost noted the team is determined to tighten up its play in all aspects.
“It’s little things like not getting the puck out of the zone, that’s hurting us,” Frost said. “We’re giving them too many chances and letting them walk in and we’re not playing well in front of Cole. He deserves a lot better, he’s been playing really well, but we haven’t been strong enough in front of him.”
“Offensively, we have to score,” Frost continued. We’ve had a lot of chances, but we haven’t been able to net one in quite some time. I think it will come with time, we have a lot of new kids who are trying to jell together and a lot of different line combinations we’re trying out. I don’t think it’ll be a problem in the future.”
Said coach Duffy: “We’re going to continue to work hard as a team and we’ll get some better results than this.”