ND-Fairfield holds off Ridgefield, 5-4
There is no question that the Notre Dame-Fairfield boys ice hockey team is a young one.
However, if the Lancers can get performances like they did on Monday, it won't matter.
ND got four points from freshman Bill Vizzo as the Lancers held on for a 5-4 win over Ridgefield on Monday night at Milford Ice Pavilion.
"We've got a young team," ND coach Marty Roos said.
ND goalie Eric Sugrue stopped 36 shots as the Lancers won their first game of the season. The Lancers washed the taste of a disappointing 5-1 loss to Xavier on Saturday night.
"I'm facing a lot of shots," Sugrue said. "But I think we've got it this year."
However, for a while, the Tigers appeared to be the better team. Ridgefield got on the board first when junior Sean Wilkinson scored a power play goal just 3:24 into the game.
"They've got to mature and they've got to get better," Roos said. "We've got to roll with the punches."
Sugrue kept the Lancers in the game after that though, he stopped Jack Christensen on a breakaway that would have put the Tigers ahead by two. ND also dodged a bullet when Ridgefield had a goal disallowed early in the second, after the referees ruled that the puck hit the post.
Shortly after that, Vizzo scored to tie the game at 1. Fellow freshman Christian La Croix threw the puck to the front of the net and Vizzo beat Ridgefield goalie Nate Gliedman.
"They connect really well," Sugrue said of Vizzo and La Croix. "They're a good combo. We didn't know what we had there, but they've stepped it up and surprised us."
Ridgefield scored again shortly there after with a 4-on-4 goal that put the Tigers ahead again. However, that lead was short lived, as senior center Brian Sanca tallied just 1:07 later to tie the game at 2.
Sanca's goal was the first of a four-goal run, with a shorthanded tally by Vizzo late in the second, one by sophomore Frank Zumbo and capped by a goal by La Croix on a breakaway to give ND a 5-2 lead.
"We told them to settle down," Roos said.
Sugrue, all the while, kept the Lancers in the game, especially with his glove hand. The senior stopped Ridgefield's Hunter Alicea on a breakaway with the score 5-3, and also stopped 15 shots in the third period, many with his glove hand.
"It's my dominant hand," Sugrue said. "I like to get a little glove in there here and there."
"He saves us all the time," Roos said.
The Tigers scored late in the third, and had a flurry of chances in the final minute of regulation, but Notre Dame's defense and Sugrue kept Ridgefield off the board to preserve the victory.
Roos understands how important the game against Ridgefield was, especially with rival Fairfield Prep coming to Milford to take on the Lancers on Wednesday.
"This was a must-win," Roos said. "We don't want to get in too deep of a hole because we want to make the tournament this year. We have a tough schedule."
The Lancers know how good the Jesuits are, especially this year. Prep has won its first two games, by a combined score of 15-0.
"I told them, let's give Prep a little competition," Sugrue said.