The Notre Dame Fairfield ice hockey team appears to finally have hit its stride in the 2009-10 season.

But the Lancers still has bouts with slacking off.

Notre Dame ran out to a 5-1 lead, before nearly blowing it and holding on to a 7-4 win over rival Notre Dame-West Haven on Saturday afternoon at Bennett Rink in West Haven.

The Lancers got a pair of goals from junior Ben Viccari and a goal and two assists from senior Peter Gintoli as Notre Dame-Fairfield won its third game in a row.

Gintoli and Viccari worked together on the Lancers' penalty killing unit, as the duo combined for a pair of shorthanded goals. The pair also killed off a crucial penalty in the final seven minutes of regulation to clinch the victory for the Lancers.

"It goes back to the JV program, those two guys got me more shorthanded goals than I know how to count," Notre Dame-Fairfield Head Coach Marty Roos said of Viccari and Gintoli. "They know each other very well ... they did a great job."

Despite being out shot 12-5 in the first period, it was the Lancers that got on the board first. Senior Steve Hotchkiss buried a shot from Colin Fox and ND-Fairfield went ahead 1-0.

The Lancers broke the game open in the second, beating Notre Dame-West Haven's Michael Federico three times, twice by Viccari and once by Gintoli. Gintoli's goal came when the Lancers were shorthanded, off of a net mouth scramble where Gintoli took the rebound and potted it behind Federico.

"I just happened to be there to bury it," Gintoli said.

Both of Viccari's goals came off of good work by him and Gintoli. The first came on a shorthanded two-on-one break and the other came on good cycling in which Gintoli found Viccari to beat Federico and go ahead 4-0.

"We played together for a long time," Viccari said of him and Gintoli. "We seemed to be working good."

The Green Knights scored to cut the advantage to 4-1 and then 4-2 when Greg Zullo scored just 35 seconds into the third.

Steve Novak scored 1:19 into the third period for the Lancers to make the game 5-2. Novak's initial shot was stopped and hit Federico but trickled over the line to put Notre Dame-Fairfield back up by three.

But the Green Knights tallied two goals in nine seconds to cut the Lancers' lead to 5-4. Notre Dame-Fairfield goalie Eric Sugrue (35 saves) robbed Peter Zorgias on a breakaway just three minutes later to preserve the lead.

"We warned them," Roos said. "We told them `you can't let this team back in the game, one goal can turn this whole thing around' that's why I called the timeout."

The Lancers killed off a late power play for the Green Knights with good plays by both Gintoli and Viccari and Jordan Mones tallied an empty net goal to salt the game away with just 56 seconds left.

"It was crucial for us to get it out there," Gintoli said. "We helped our goalie out there, it was good."

"They don't give up," Roos said.

The Lancers played again on stayed hot on Monday night, beating Ridgefield, 6-4. Notre Dame will play again tonight against Hamden at the Milford Ice Pavilion at 7:30 p.m.