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Fairfield Prep wins SCC Division I hockey title

Updated 12:29 am, Thursday, February 28, 2013

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  • Fairfield Prep goalie Matt Beck prepares for a shot attempt by Notre Dame of West Haven's #7 Greg Zullo, during SCC boys hockey playoff championship action at High Point Solutions Arena at Quinnipiac University in Hamden, Conn. on Wednesday February 27, 2013. Photo: Christian Abraham / Connecticut Post
    Fairfield Prep goalie Matt Beck prepares for a shot attempt by Notre Dame of West Haven's #7 Greg Zullo, during SCC boys hockey playoff championship action at High Point Solutions Arena at Quinnipiac University in Hamden, Conn. on Wednesday February 27, 2013. Photo: Christian Abraham

 

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HAMDEN -- The No. 11 fits Dean Lockery just fine.

Fairfield Prep's junior forward potted two goals, earning the game's Most Outstanding Player, as the Jesuits blitzed Notre Dame-West Haven 6-2, claiming the SCC's Division I championship Wednesday at the High Point Solutions Arena at Quinnipiac University.

Tim Edmonds also scored twice, and David White and Mike Ventricelli each tallied goals as the Jesuits claimed their first conference crown since 1997. The tournament was discontinued after 1999 but was re-instated this year.

"They're a fun-loving group," Prep coach Matt Sather said. "I didn't think tonight was all that crisp, but the first period was good."

Jesse Ruocco and Matt Dumas each scored for ND, as the Green Knights fell to 15-5-1 -- losing to Prep for the third time. The Green Knights were forced to play on Monday to qualify for the title game -- Wednesday's game was ND's sixth in nine days.

"No excuses, but ... that may be part of it," ND coach Bill Gerosa said. "Today they really outplayed us."

Lockery ordinarily wears jersey No. 22. Yet, when he showed up at the rink, his jersey was nowhere to be found.

"Five minutes before we were about to go out, I said, `Ah, I forgot my jersey,'" Lockery said.

But just 35 seconds after White was penalized for holding, Lockery stole the puck at ND's offensive blue line, then raced in on his off wing and beat ND starting goalie Paul Sliwinski over the shoulder for a shorthanded goal.

"That was huge," Lockery said. "I had a semi-breakaway, saw the top left and just picked it."

Edmonds scored at 11:27, splitting ND's defense, and beating Sliwinski to boost the Jesuits' advantage to 2-0 through one period.

Sliwinski made 12 first-period saves before being pulled for the team's usual starter Luc Amatruda. Amatruda stopped 10 of 14 shots he faced.

"I thought (Sliwinski) was playing too deep in the net," Gerosa said. "To see that many pucks go in is puzzling to me. Our goaltenders aren't that bad."

The goalie switch invigorated ND, and the Green Knights capitalized when Dumas stole the puck at the top of his offensive circle and wristed a shot past Prep goalie Matt Beck, cutting Prep's lead to 2-1 just 1:09 into the second.

"They came out in the second period today and kicked our butts all over the place," Sather said.

But White's goal about two minutes later boosted Prep's lead back to 3-1. Then at 1:38 of the third, Lockery scooped up Andrew Hatton's errant shot off the end boards and beat Amatruda, lifting Prep's lead to 4-1.

"It's the opportunity and not quitting on a play," Sather said. "A rink like this, the bounces are a lot different than we're used to."

"I just saw it there, hustled to it and took my one-touch," Lockery said.

Ruocco's goal at 5:43 cut Prep's lead to 4-2, and ND answered with an offensive flurry.

But Prep goalie Chris Gutierrez -- who subbed for Beck midway through the second -- kept ND off the board. Gutierrez's best save came just seconds after Ruocco scored, when he sticked away Ryan Lynch's back-hand attempt. Gutierrez stopped 18 shots in relief.

"He's focused," Sather said. "Both of them have been spectacular."

ppickens@bcnnew.com; twitter.com/Pat_Pickens

ND-WEST HAVEN 0 1 1-- 2

FAIRFIELD PREP 2 1 3-- 6

Records: Fairfield Prep 20-1; ND-West Haven 15-5-1; Goals: FP-- Dean Lockery 2, Tim Edmonds 2, Mike Ventricelli, David White; ND-WH--Matt Dumas, Jesse Ruocco; Assists: FP-- Ventricelli, Matt McKinney, Andrew Hatton, Sean Henry; Goalies: FP-- Matt Beck (10 saves), Chris Gutierrez (18); ND-WH--Paul Sliwinski (12), Luc Amatruda (10); Shots: ND-WH-- 30, FP--28.