Prep hockey advances to Division I final
In order to qualify for its sixth Division I state final in eight years, the Faifield Prep ice hockey team got defensive.
The second-seeded Jesuits got goals from David White, Bryan Puffer, Donald Carnicky and David Griffin, then stymied No. 3 South Windsor 4-1 on Wednesday night at Ingalls Rink in the Division I semifinals.
"We got some real hard work from our kids," Prep coach Matt Sather said. "Some timely goals scored, and that's what you need this time of the year."
Prep goalie John Galiani stopped 29 shots. White and Puffer each also had two assists apiece and Carnicky added an assist as well as the Jesuits improved to 20-3.
"It's really special," Puffer said. "It's good to be back in the state final."
The Jesuits will take on No. 4 St. Joseph in the final on Saturday at 2 p.m. at Ingalls. The Cadets stunned top-seeded and undefeated New Canaan 6-5 in the first semifinal on Wednesday.
"It's going to be a battle," Sather said.
Prep got on the board on its first power play of the game when a Jesuit defender held a clearing attempt at the blue line. Puffer took the puck and found Carnicky, who passed it to White between the circles. White popped a wrist shot over Marchi's glove to put the Jesuits up 1-0.
"Our defense did well on the blue line today, holding the puck in," Puffer said.
Puffer tallied just 2:08 later when he wristed a shot over Marchi's glove again to put the Jesuits up 2-0.
"Griffin was yelling `shoot, shoot, shoot,' so I saw it laying there and put it in the corner," Puffer said.
The Bobcats got on the board shortly after, when Benson stole the puck from a Prep defender and beat Galiani over the blocker for a shorthanded goal.
But that was all that the Bobcats could muster, as Griffin scored at 7:04 of the second, and then Carnicky tallied on the power play late in the game to send Prep to the final again.
"We talked to our defensemen about being aggressive," Sather said. "Once we started trusting our teammates, it was a little easier to handle them."
The Jesuits and Cadets will meet in an historic doubleheader on Saturday. The hockey game will be at 2 p.m. and the Prep basketball team will meet St. Joseph for the Class LL boys basketball crown on Saturday night at 8:15 at Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville.
"It reminds me of the good old days," Sather said. "When I was a student, Prep vs. St. Joe's was the biggest rivalry ... it's nostalgic for me."
It is the first time in state history that two teams will play for the boys basketball and boys ice hockey crown in the same year.
"We'll be the first ones to give it a shot," Sather said. "I hope we can sweep them."