Just days after stunning the state's No. 2 team, Stone Denbok and the ND-Fairfield boys hockey team pulled off another road upset.
Denbok stopped 27 shots as the Lancers surprised No. 7 Hamden, 6-3, on Wednesday at Lou Astorino Rink.
"The boys are coming together as a team," ND coach Steve Heatherman said. "They work hard, and that's the key ingredient. If you work hard, you can play with any team in this state."
Erik Laaksonen had two goals and an assist, Greg Ferris and Christian LaCroix each had a goal and two assists for ND.
"We're just working hard and it's paying off," LaCroix said. "We're capitalizing on our chances."
ND scored three goals in both the second and third periods, improving to 3-5, just four days removed from Denbok's 33-save performance in a 2-1 win over ND-West Haven.
The Lancers' junior netminder kept the Green Dragons at bay, stopping all 19 shots he faced in the first two periods. Denbok robbed John Battick all alone late in the first, then thwarted Michael Regan's two shorthanded tries early in the second.
"This is the level I expect to play at every game," Denbok said. "I started off pretty slow, but I want to keep it like this, at a high intensity."
Laaksonen's sharp-angle try at 2:01 of the second put ND on the board. Just 2:21 later, Garrett Gintoli beat Hamden goalie Matt Hoff, making it 2-0.
"They worked harder than us," Hamden coach Bill Verneris said. "My hat's off to them."
LaCroix's snap-shot at 13:55 lifted the Lancers to a 3-0 advantage after two.
"I just was trying to get the puck to the net," LaCroix said. "I just read the play and got the shot on net and went low blocker."
The Green Dragons struck for three third-period goals, twice cutting ND's advantage to two. Tyler Carangelo's goal with 5:25 left in regulation cut the Lancers' lead to 4-2 and forced Heatherman to use his timeout.
But after Hamden pulled Hoff with three minutes to play, Laaksonen and Ferris each potted empty-net goals, sealing ND's win.
"I think we deserve it as a team," LaCroix said. "We don't always get the breaks that we deserve, but we're starting to work hard."
ND-FAIRFIELD 0 3 3--6
HAMDEN 0 0 3--3
Records: ND-Fairfield 3-5; Hamden 4-4-1. Goals: NDF--Erik Laaksonen 2, Greg Ferris, Sal Sereno, Christian LaCroix, Garrett Gintoli; H--Billy Reilly, Matthew Barnett, Tyler Carangelo. Assists: NDF--Ferris 2, LaCroix 2, Matt Heim; H--Joe O'Connor, Christian Ugolik. Goalies: NDF--Stone Denbok (27 saves); H--Matt Hoff (18). Shots: NDF--24, H--30.