BRIDGEPORT - Although it was a loss in the standings, Fairfield Prep coach Matt Sather was pleased to see the ‘compete level’ of his Jesuits get back to where he was expecting it to be.
Skating against one of the top teams in Massachusetts, Malden Catholic, last week, the Jesuits raced to a three-goal lead before eventually falling. Looking for a carryover of that work ethic against Notre Dame-Fairfield on February 4 at the Wonderland of Ice, Sather got just what he was hoping for.
Prep jumped out of the blocks, scoring four goals in the first period and rolling to an 8-0 victory over the Lancers.
“We had a pretty disappointing loss to Hamden but against Malden, we got back to where we needed to be,” Sather said. “They’re a top five team in Massachusetts and in the first half of that game, we played better than we have all year. The disappointment of Hamden woke something in up in us, as it should. The compete level in that (Malden) game was the best it’s been all year and it was good to see that carryover tonight.”
Carter Kral and Devin Blanchette scored twice for Prep with Evan Uva, Skyler Celotto, Jack Cavanaugh and Joe Mancini also scoring. Prep led 4-0 after the first period, 6-0 after the second and not content to sit on the lead in the third, kept attacking the Lancers’ end and netted two more to seal the deal.
“Malden was such a good team and we knew that we had to raise our level of play,” Kral said. “That carried into today. Losing to Malden kind of motivated us not to let that happen today and we went out and just kept rolling.”
For Notre Dame-Fairfield, there just doesn’t seem to be any light at the end of the tunnel. Playing with a full (and healthy) roster for the first time - and blowing Greenwich off the ice, winning 6-0 on January 25 - the Lancers have once again been chewed up by the injury bug, forcing coach Steve Hetherman to have to play with the cards in his decks and there simply are no aces.
“When you don’t have a full roster to play with and you’ve got a young team, you show your age sometimes,” Hetherman said, whose team lost for the third straight time. “We were right there with them at the start and all of a sudden, the wheels come off, for whatever reason. There were just too many obstacles for us to overcome.”
Sophomore forward Spencer Ryall, junior forward Alex Coppola and junior defenseman Nate Berardi are currently out with injuries for Notre Dame-Fairfield.
“None of them have practiced,” Hetherman said. “Alex has a concussion and the other two are just banged up. It’s tough.”
Much like Prep’s earlier 4-0 win over the Lancers on January 4, the Jesuits took control early on Kral’s two goals, the first coming just 2:43 and then at 6:35 of the first period. But Prep wasn’t done. Uva scored at 10:51 and Celotto beat ND-Fairfield goaltender Billy Scovil at 11:21 to make it 4-0.
Cavanaugh scored at 5:52 of the second to make it 5-0 and Blanchette scored unassisted at 13:20 to push the margin to 6-0 heading into the third.
Scovil was peppered with 31 shots through two periods and five of the six goals allowed, he had no chance on as Prep constantly swarmed the net.
“I just wanted to give him a break,” Hetherman said. “He did well. It’s not Billy, it’s the guys in front of him that aren’t executing what he need them to do. We just have to keep teaching them.”