Generating goals has been an issue for Greenwich’s boys hockey team in the majority of its late-season games and the problem surfaced again in the FCIAC Tournament quarterfinals against Ridgefield.
The fifth-seeded Cardinals had their fair share of opportunities but couldn’t capitalize on their chances against the fourth-seeded Tigers. Meanwhile, Ridgefield scored a late first-period goal, tallied twice in the second and added one more goal in the third period on its way to an impressive 4-0 home win at Winter Garden Ice Arena.
Ridgefield (10-10-1) advanced to Wednesday’s FCIAC semifinals, while the Cardinals will have some time to prepare for the CIAC Division I state tournament.
The Tigers, who posted a 4-1 victory against the Cardinals at Dorothy Hamill Skating Rink on Feb. 1, received goals from four different players en route to the triumph. Henry Ertl was stellar in goal, registering more than 20 saves to earn the shutout win in goal.
“I thought we played well in the first period,” Greenwich coach Jack Duffy said. “We came out at a pretty good pace. We didn’t bang home our opportunities, then we give up one late and it was 1-0.”
With Ridgefield on a power play following a Cardinals penalty, Greenwich sophomore goalie Nick Sinisi made a pair of saves off shots from close range, but the home team capitalized on their man-up advantage at the 3:46 mark of the first period. Receiving a pass from sophomore forward Gavin White, Nolan Gartner, also a sophomore forward lifted the puck past Sinisi on a tough angle shot from just below the left faceoff circle, putting the Tigers on top, 1-0.
The puck went over Sinisi’s shoulder to the stick side and Ridgefield had a one-goal edge. Sophomore defenseman Shaun Rigby was also credited with an assist on the goal.
In the second period, Greenwich tried to create more chances offensively, but couldn’t solve Ertl. Senior forward Grady Kaali-Nagy, Nate Duffy, a senior forward and junior forward Matthew Trimmer were among the Cardinals who registered shots on goal during the second period.
After a solid first period, the Cards were hoping to raise their performance level in the second period, but it didn’t happen.
“We talked about having a good second period and we just didn’t do it,” coach Duffy said. “I thought the effort to start the game was pretty good. We had some opportunities tonight, but we’re just not banging the pucks in the net. It’s frustrating.”
Ridgefield extended its edge to 2-0 when sophomore forward Ryan Carnicelli tallied off a rush up the ice 1:10 into the second period. Sophomore defenseman Drew Dankowksi assisted on the goal, which furthered the victors’ momentum.
With 5:03 to go in the second stanza, the Tigers added a third goal, as junior forward Everett Greenwood put home a rebound in front, making it 3-0. The Tigers speedy forwards were a challenge for the Cardinals throughout.
“That team moves well on the offensive end, so you have to have your head on a swivel,” coach Duffy said. “It wasn’t our night.”
The third period saw senior defenseman Chris Hamilton seal the Tigers’ scoring, tallying with 6:18 left in the game. Greenwich (6-13-1) has lost eight games in a row and has scored just seven goals during that span. They have been shut out in their past two matchups.
“I think they kind of squeeze the sticks tight,” coach Duffy said of the team pressing a bit offensively. “He (Silliman) played really well in net, he made some nice saves, but you would like to get one early on the road and it just didn’t happen. He made a lot of quality saves.”
So while Ridgefield moves on in the FCIAC tourney, Greenwich has some time to prepare for the state tournament.
“We are going to regroup,” coach Duffy said. “I want the kids to keep their heads up. It’s another opportunity for the kids to get out there and battle and that’s what we’re going to do.”
Categories: Greenwich High, Winter sports
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