Overtime was Greenwich High School’s boys hockey team’s time to shine once again in the state tournament.
After defeating Northwest Catholic in overtime in the first round of the CIAC Division I Tournament, the Cardinals prevailed again in the extra period, this time against third-seeded Simsbury in the quarterfinal-round.
Today’s star in overtime was Logan Carino. A senior forward, Carino registered a goal with just over eight minutes remaining in overtime, propelling 11th-seeded Greenwich past third-seeded Simsbury, 1-0, in the CIAC Division I Tournament semifinals, held at Wesleyan University in Middletown.
With the win, Greenwich (9-14-1) advanced to Wednesday’s Division I state tournament semifinals, where it will face second-seeded Fairfield Prep (15-5) at M&T Bank Arena at Quinnipiac University in Hamden. The game will begin at either 5:30 p.m. or 8 p.m.
On the game-winning goal, freshman defenseman Boden Farmer carried the puck from the Cardinals’ defensive zone, up the ice into Simsbury’s zone and slid the puck across the ice to senior forward Derek D’Angelo, who sent a shot on goal while skating just past the right faceoff circle. The puck bounded off the glove of Simsbury’s goalie and Carino, who was skating hard toward the net, got his stick on the puck and knocked it into the net, giving Greenwich the dramatic, hard-fought victory.
Immediately after Carino scored, it was celebration time for the Cardinals, who haven’t advanced as far as the semifinals since it lost to Fairfield Prep in the 2018 Division I state tournament championship game.
“It was surreal, it was really amazing, I was in shock,” Carino said of his goal. “I was celebrating with all of my teammates and the fans as soon as it happened.”
The game-winning tally, of course, is one Carino, or the Cardinals won’t forget.
“That’s got to be No. 1 for me,” Carino said. “Before, it was our game- winning goal that I scored on Senior Night against Trumbull (a 1-0 win on Jan. 21). This is definitely my No. 1 goal.”
Carino and junior forward Bailey Rozmus, who tallied the game-winning goal in overtime of Greenwich’s 3-2 triumph against sixth-seeded Northwest Catholic in the Division I Tournament’s opening round, have certainly provided highlight reel wins for the squad.
“It was great, I was really happy for the boys,” Greenwich coach Jack Duffy said. “They came out with the same work ethic as they did against Northwest Catholic. It was a classic hockey game. I told the boys they will remember that game for the rest of their lives.”
Like the opening-round matchup against Northwest Catholic, senior goalie/tri-captain Cole Studwell was rock-solid in goal for the Cardinals, who have won three of their last four games (including their quarterfinal-round win vs. Ridgefield in the FCIAC Tournament).
“It’s great, I don’t think a lot of people to expected us to get this far,” Studwell said of the team advancing to the Final Four. “At this point of the season, I just think it comes down to who wants it more. We’re getting hot at the right time and clicking on all cylinders. Everyone believes in each other. Our team is a family, we’re getting hot at the right time.”
Both teams created scoring opportunities during first two periods, yet the quarterfinal game remained scoreless, due to standout goaltending and defensive play.
“We had the better of the first, we had a power play in the first period, and we had one in the second,” Duffy noted. “It was a little bit back-and- forth all day. When it came down to it, each team had really good opportunities. The pace of play was excellent.”
Said Studwell: “The first period, I didn’t see much action. Our forecheck was awesome. I don’t think the three seed expected the 11 seed to come out like that. We were saying in the locker room it will happen eventually, where they will start getting more opportunities. Our defensemen did a good job of clearing pucks away though and keeping things out in front. They were clearing the puck in front of the net and bearing down in front.”
Heading into overtime, the Cards played with confidence, especially since it was familiar territory for them.
“We have been here before with our Northwest Catholic game,” Carino noted. “We wanted to continue to put a ton of pressure on them, while not allowing the other team to get major opportunities.”
Forward Matthew Trimmer, a senior tri-captain, pointed to the team’s 5-0 loss to St. Joseph on Feb. 11, as being a turning point. Since then, Greenwich has won four of its last six games, including the two victories in this Division I state tourney.
“When you go on losing streaks, sometimes it’s hard to believe in each other,” Trimmer said. “After that St. Joe’s loss, a 5-0 loss, we kind of all took time together – we knew we were better than that and we knew we needed to step it up. That game woke us up as a team, then when we beat Northwest Catholic, 6-3, (on Feb. 15) it sparked this belief in everyone. The belief kept growing and growing and growing. Now, we are two games away from a state championship.”
Indeed, Duffy has noticed a team’s marked improvement from the beginning of the season and has seen his squad play with more aggression.
“It’s been the intensity that’s been there,” Duffy said. “The boys have played with a great deal of focus the past two, two-and-a-half-weeks. At this point of the year, it’s tough to win hockey games. I told the boys games don’t get easier than today, they get harder. Simsbury is a great team and they handled the puck well, they were moving the puck and getting the puck in. But Cole (Studwell), he’s been unbelievable. Any time you shut out a team like that, it’s impressive.”
“Cole and our defensemen, they all played great,” Carino said. “Everyone played great and everyone on our team was playing there game. We were generating opportunities. We knew against a team like Simsbury, we had to had to play our best.”
The Greenwich-Fairfield Prep Division I semifinal will be a rematch of the Dec. 13 regular season meeting between the two teams. Fairfield Prep skated to a 5-3 triumph against the Cardinals, who received goals from senior Gage Bria, junior Michael Orrico and sophomore Graydon Raabe in that season-opening matchup. The score was tied at 2-2 just at the midway point of the third period.
“They are a solid team with great players and we have great guys too, Trimmer said. All game, that was a back-and-forth contest. We’re peaking at the right time. All year, we’ve been building this brotherhood and we’ve been working hard.”
Categories: Greenwich High, Winter sports
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