It’s on to the state tournament quarterfinals for the Greenwich High School boys hockey team, courtesy of Bailey Rozmus.
A junior forward, Rozmus’ goal in overtime lifted 11th-seeded Greenwich to a 3-2 win over sixth-seeded Northwest Catholic in the opening round of the CIAC Division I Tournament at the International Skating Center of Connecticut in Simsbury on Wednesday night.
The Cardinals advanced to the Division I Tournament quarterfinals, where they will play third-seeded Simsbury on Saturday at 12 p.m. The game will be held at Wesleyan University in Middletown.
“It was a good road playoff game,” Greenwich coach Jack Duffy said. “It was good to see our boys be resilient.”
Winners of three of their last five games, including a victory against Ridgefield in the FCIAC Tournament quarterfinals, the Cardinals (8-14-1) received goals from Rozmus, sophomore forward Gus McGarvey and senior forward Derek D’Angelo in Wednesday night’s triumph against Northwest Catholic.
Rozmus’ game-winner occurred 1:43 into overtime, sending Greenwich to its biggest win of the season to date. He snapped his shot from the slot past Northwest Catholic’s goalie, after controlling a loose puck in the home team’s zone.
“Cole Studwell (goalie) just made a good save on the other end and Derek D’Angelo carried the puck over the blue line,” Duffy said, while describing the game-winning goal. “Bailey picked up a loose puck in the slot and put a beautiful shot over the goalie’s shoulder into the left top corner of the goal. It was a great goal.”
Wednesday’s state tournament game was a rematch of a regular season meeting between Greenwich and Northwest Catholic played on Feb. 15, which the Cardinals won, 6-3, at Dorothy Hamill Skating Rink.
“We knew it was going to be a tough test,” Duffy said. “They played a really solid game, as did we.”
McGarvey gave Greenwich a 1-0 advantage on Northwest Catholic with a power play goal in the first period at the 9:30 mark
“It was a good shot,” Duffy said of McGarvey’s goal. “We emphasized to our power play guys that we have to get power play goals in the playoffs in order to win. That was a good power play goal.”
After killing off a penalty in the opening period, the Cardinals saw Northwest Catholic tie the score at 1-1 with a power play goal in the first frame. The Cards capped an active first period by seizing a 2-1 edge on a goal by D’Angelo off a rebound late in the period.
D’Angelo has recorded a number of clutch goals throughout the season for GHS.
“D’Angelo has been doing well, his speed really helps him,” Duffy noted. “Hopefully, these pucks keep going in for us, we’re doing a good job of generating goals.”
Studwell kept the Cardinals in front during the second period with key saves. Greenwich’s penalty kill unit was also effective, killing off a pair of penalties. Northwest Catholic (11-9-1) knotted the score at 2-2 with approximately 10 minutes remaining in the third period, but Greenwich kept it a tie game to force overtime.
“Cole was very solid all night long and the defensemen were great,” Duffy said. “We had good team structure at our end. We killed off a five- minute penalty and a two-minute penalty. Our defensive play was solid all-around.”
“Offensively, we were good at the beginning of the game,” Duffy continued. We had a really good forecheck going. We had a solid third period and then when you get into overtime, you want to get a lot of pucks to net and Bailey came through for us.”
The winner of the Greenwich-Simsbury game advances to the Division I Tournament semifinals, where they will play the winner of second-seeded Fairfield Prep and 10th-seeded Notre Dame-Fairfield. The Division I semifinals are scheduled for March 15 at M&T Bank Arena at Quinnipiac University.
Greenwich is looking forward to playing at Wesleyan University in Saturday’s quarterfinals – a site that’s featured a lot of significant games at the collegiate level.
“Anytime you get to play at a nice college arena it is fun,” Duffy said. “The message lately for us is it just depends on our team’s effort. Are we going to challenge them and determine the narrative of the game? We want to come out with speed against Simsbury – it’s all about the team’s work ethic. It will be a noon start time on Saturday and it is a great arena to play at. This win was a great experience for the boys and they are really excited for the quarterfinals.”
Categories: Greenwich High, Winter sports
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