Greenwich High

Greenwich boys hockey team opens its season with plenty of optimism

Photo by David Fierro: From left to right: Matthew Trimmer, Peter Lewis and Cole Studwell are senior captains of the Greenwich High School boys varsity hockey team.

The 2022-2023 season began for the Greenwich High School boys ice hockey team with a 5-3 loss to Fairfield Prep on Tuesday evening, but the host Cardinals exited Dorothy Hamill Skating Rink knowing their were several bright spots they can build upon.

“I think there were a lot of positives,” said Greenwich coach Jack Duffy, who is beginning his third season at the helm. “We competed well against a very good team. We played a four-line rotation, we got a lot out of everybody and there’s a lot we could clean up.”

Greenwich isn’t exactly easing its way into the new season. After playing formidable Fairfield Prep in its season-opener on Tuesday, it visits Xavier on Saturday, then hosts North Haven on Dec. 21, before playing Darien in the Winter Classic at Greenwich Skating Club on Dec. 29.

Photo by David Fierro: Greenwich’s boys ice hockey team played Fairfield Prep in its season-opener on Dec. 13, 2022.

“We have to keep making statements that Greenwich hockey is back,” said Cardinals senior forward/tri-captain Matthew Trimmer, who just got finished playing football for the school’s CIAC Class LL state championship team.

Last season saw Greenwich start the season with a 1-5 record, then rebound to improve its mark to 6-5-1 just past the midway point of the season. However, the Cardinals couldn’t build upon the momentum they gained, as they lost their final nine games of the season to finish 6-14-1. Included in those losses were playoff defeats to Ridgefield in the FCIAC Tournament quarterfinals and Darien in the opening round of the CIAC Division I Tournament.

“Coming off a season like last year, it’s not what we want for the program, it’s not who we are,” Trimmer said. “Some of the keys to our improvement will be building a brotherhood in the locker room, creating a good environment and being together.”

Photo by David Fierro: Greenwich’s boys ice hockey team lines up for the National Anthem prior to playing Fairfield Prep.

Senior goalie Cole Studwell and senior defenseman Peter Lewis join Trimmer as the Cardinals’ 2022-2023 captains.

“It’s awesome that these guys chose me to represent them,” Studwell said of being one of the squad’s captains. “We had a learning lesson last year, so we don’t want to fall into that trap again. We want to make sure we push each other to our limits and good things can come from that.”

This Cardinals team is an experienced group consisting of 13 seniors, five juniors, four sophomores and one freshman. Last season’s squad also had 13 seniors, including captains Nate Duffy, Brendan Frost and Shea Madden.

Against Fairfield Prep, which also played its season-opener, senior Cage Bria, Michael Orrico and sophomore Graydon Raabe registered one goal apiece for Greenwich, which received 37 saves from Studwell. The Jesuits tested Studwell throughout, outshooting the Cardinals, 42-20.

Greenwich goalie Cole Studwell hits the ice to make a save during a game vs. Fairfield Prep.

“Cole played a great game,” Duffy said. “Any time you get outshot 42-20 and you have a chance to compete at the end, it’s a good job by your goaltender.”

Studwell liked a lot of what he saw from the Cards against Fairfield Prep, which advanced to the CIAC Division I Tournament quarterfinals last season. Fairfield Prep defeated Greenwich a season ago, 8-0.

“I thought there was a lot of good things to take away from this loss,” Studwell said. “We played with a lot of intensity, a lot of heart and we had some good plays on offense. We just have to get some more pucks on net, make some smart plays in the ‘D’ zone.”

Lewis agreed.

“It’s better than last year we lost to the same team 8-0,” said Lewis, who will be relied upon to help solidify the Cardinals’ defense. “I thought we did a lot of good things, the first period was really good. Playing an experienced team like that that has a couple of state championships – it’s a good test for ourselves. It’s not how you start, it’s how you finish, so we have to keep building.”

Photo by David Fierro: Greenwich goalie Cole Studwell turned away more than 40 shots against Fairfield Prep.

Fairfield Prep held leads of 1-0 and 2-1, then after Greenwich tied the score at 2-2, the Jesuits tallied twice to open a 4-2 lead, before the Cardinals scored late, making it 4-3. The Jesuits final goal came with just five seconds remaining in the third period.

Seniors Connor Reid and Greg Hilinski each scored in the second period, while Prep teammates James Murphy (a junior), Blake Baksay (junior) and senior Brooks Reynolds tallied in the third period in the win – the first for new coach Vin O’Hara. He replaces Matt Sather, who coached Fairfield Prep for 23 seasons.

For Greenwich, Bria scored off an assist from junior Kyle Allen with 11:06 left in the second period, tying the score at 1-1. Orrico tallied off an assist from senior Phillip Bijev with 7:38 remaining in the third period, knotting the score at 2-2. The Cards closed to within 4-2 when Raabe tallied (assisted by junior Jackson Price) with 14 seconds left to play in the final period, before the Jesuits scored an empty-netter in the closing seconds.

“Early in the year we are looking at the reaction – what happens when we go down,” Duffy said. “Do we come back and do we try to avenge that goal? You want to see the kids keep competing down two goals with less than a minute to go. That’s the kind of fight you want to see from your team.”

Said Trimmer: “At the end of the game we’re down by two, but we make it 4-3 – that shows the true colors of the team late in the game. I thought we kept fighting, we just have to take care of business earlier in the game to get the ‘W’ next time.”

Greenwich’s boys hockey team opened its season with a 5-3 loss to Fairfield Prep on Dec. 13, 2022.

Price, senior Will Duncan and Bria have the potential to be a high-scoring line, as does the trio of Trimmer, senior Owen Lanzarone and junior Bailey Rozmus. Raabe, sophomore Gus McGarvey and sophomore Joe Lewis should also provide a spark up front for the Cardinals.

“We have three solid lines and a fourth line with new kids on the team who are flying around and getting their legs out there and putting in the hard work,” Trimmer said.

Peter Lewis, Alex McGarvey, senior Matthew Rurak and Bijek are among some of the senior defensemen. Junior Nick Sinisi is a strong, experienced goalie, along with Studwell

“Defensively, we have returning seniors and we have some guys who are newcomers who are going to compete for some ice time, “Duffy noted. “We have some size back there.”

“The first game, we had a little nerves, but that comes with every team,” Studwell said. “We just have to work our way into the season and get our feet under us more.”

Said Peter Lewis: “We want to win our Winter Classic against Darien, win FCIACs and states.”

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