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Greenwich boys hockey beats Westhill in OT

Updated 11:18 pm, Tuesday, December 18, 2012
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By the time the Greenwich and Westhill boys hockey teams made it back to their respective locker rooms, both were breathing heavily following a grueling overtime thriller Tuesday afternoon at Dorothy Hamill Skating Rink.

However, it was the Cardinals who were breathing a collective sigh of relief following a 4-3 triumph.

Greenwich saw its 3-0 lead vanish in the final period as the Vikings scored three times in the final 10 minutes to force OT. In the extra session, GHS avoided a heartbreaking defeat when senior William Waesche took a pass from fellow captain Paul Macken and ripped a shot past Westhill goalie Tyler Phillipson for the victory.

It was not the easiest way to improve to 2-1, but according to Cardinals' coach Bob Russel it was a win they were happy to walk off with.

"This is definitely not the way you want to do it when you're up 3-0 but it's a win we'll certainly take," Russel said. "We had a lot of careless plays and missed chances in the third period that cost us. But we're a young team that will learn from games like this and as the season moves forward wins like this will be very important to us."

Following a first-period goal by sophomore forward Decker Curran, the Cardinals, with green-taped sticks in honor of the Newtown community, went into the second stanza with some momentum on their side. It was short- lived when Greenwich found itself with two players in the penalty box. Despite the disadvantage Greenwich forward Luke Finneran cruised down the left side of the ice, cut across the middle and delivered a beautiful goal that beat Phillipson high to the glove side for the shorthanded tally and a 2-0 lead. The junior wasn't done. Taking a feed from Matt Lodato (two assists) on a Greenwich power play, Finneran gave GHS a 3-0 lead with just over a minute left in the period.

"As a senior you always hope to play on a veteran heavy team with plenty of experience but we knew coming into this season that we had a young squad," Waesche said. "While some might see that as a setback, it's been anything but. It's been astonishing to see the underclassmen on this team step up and I feel very positive about the direction this team is heading in."

In the third period, back-to-back goals by Westhill defenseman Scott Reville swung the momentum in the Vikings' favor. The Cardinals made a change between the pipes as Russel inserted Bryan Archino, but the GHS sophomore couldn't stop the Vikings' comeback as Evan Shaulson found the back of the Greenwich net with two minutes remaining in regulation to even the score at 3-3.

"We told them to pick up their game and that's exactly what they did in the third period," Westhill coach John Santagata said. "And if we had played the first two periods like we did the third we might have had a different result today. I'm just proud of the character and heart we showed for such a young team."

Unfortunately for the Vikings (0-1-1), Waesche ended the game less than two minutes into overtime and was promptly swarmed by a sea of Cardinals red and white.

"A win is a win and I'm very happy with the result, but at the same time I'm disappointed that we even let it get that far," Waesche said. "To get the win is always important but there is a lesson that we need to learn as a team. We need to focus on playing at 110 percent every minute of play and finishing these kind of games."

The Cardinals will look to make it three out of their first four when they host New Canaan 11 a.m. Saturday at Dorothy Hamill. The Vikings hope to get back on the winning track as they travel to East Haven for a 4 p.m. showdown on Saturday as well.

GHS 4, Westhill 3 (OT)

WESTHILL 0 0 3 0--3

GREENWICH 1 2 0 1--4

Records: G 2-1; W 0-1-1

First Period: 1. G Decker Curran (Matt Lodato, Jack Curran). Second Period: 2. G Luke Finneran (unassisted); 3. G Finneran (Lodato, PP). Third Period: 4. W Scott Reville (Max Puk); 5. W Reville (Evan Shaulson, PP); 6. W Shaulson (Puk, Ryan Silk). Overtime: 7. G William Waesche (Paul Macken).

Goalies: G Jimmy Piotrzkowski (27) and Bryan Archino (3); W Tyler Phillipson (21). Shots: G 33; W 25

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