The Fairfield Prep hockey team scored early and scored late in its Division I state semifinal contest Wednesday.
And because of that, the Jesuits are headed back to the state final.
The top-seeded Jesuits scored two goals in the first period and two in the third, knocking off No. 5 Ridgefield 4-1 on Wednesday night at Ingalls Rink in New Haven.
"I think for large stretches of the game we got outplayed," Prep coach Matt Sather said.
Prep improves to 22-1 and advances to its third state title game in four years -- Prep's fifth in seven years. The Jesuits will meet No. 2 ND West Haven -- their fourth meeting this year -- Tuesday at 7 p.m. at Ingalls Rink.
"It could be anyone's game," Lockery said.
Ridgefield's Dusty Rausa stopped 22 shots as the Tigers finished their season 20-6.
"They're a great team," Ridgefield coach Sean Gallagher said of Prep. "I think that first period we had nerves."
Prep's second line -- Lockery, Matt Wikman and Kenny Kochiss -- combined for four points and two goals. Lockery got the only assist on Billy D'Amore's goal at 1:15 of the first which gave the Jesuits a 1-0 lead.
"We're just scoring the dirty goals," Lockery said. "That's why we're scoring right now."
Brendan Killoy's goal just 2:36 later put the Jesuits up 2-0. Killoy stole the puck at the Prep blue line and snapped a shot past Rausa at 3:51.
"The two goals were hard-working goals," Sather said. "That happened because we're forechecking the right way."
After a Ridgefield-dictated second period, the Tigers cut Prep's lead in half at 0:42 on Alex Rowella's goal. The sophomore forward fielded a bouncing puck at the netmouth and beat Gutierrez.
"As soon as they scored, we said `all right guys, now we've got to start,'" Lockery said. "Right after they scored we said `two's just not enough.'"
The Tigers outshot Prep 20-15 after the first intermission, and Ridgefield surged after the goal but could not beat Gutierrez.
"We outshot them," Gallagher said. "But our shot quality wasn't necessarily enough to generate good offense."
"(Gutierrez) kept us in the game," Sather said.
Wikman deposited Prep's third goal at 6:54. Rausa stopped two shots, but the puck came to Wikman at the top of the circle and he pumped a shot into the vacant net.
Just 42 seconds later, Lockery banked a shot off Rausa and into the net.
"I saw (Wikman) in front of the net, and I just tried to pass it to him," Lockery said. "It kind of popped up, hit off a kid's chest, went off the goalie's head and went in. It was lucky."
Division I semifinals at Ingalls Rink, New Haven
RIDGEFIELD 0 0 1--1
FAIRFIELD PREP 2 0 2--4
Records: Ridgefield 20-6, Fairfield Prep 22-1. Goals: R--Alex Rowella; FP--Billy D'Amore, Brendan Killoy, Matt Wikman, Dean Lockery. Assists: R--Ian Bell; FP--Lockery, David White, Connor Henry, Kenny Kochiss. Goalies: R--Dusty Rausa (22 saves); FP--Chris Gutierrez (25. Shots: R--26; FP--26.