Fairfield Prep hockey team tops ND-West Haven
WEST HAVEN -- With 17 new players off last year's run to the Division I title, Fairfield Prep hockey coach Matt Sather has spent the first month of this season with one eye on the present and the other on the future.
"We played better today than we played up there," said Sather, whose team went 2-1 at the Mount St. Charles Tournament and lost to the host in the final, 4-0.
With Prep ahead 2-1, senior Jack Quinn scored on the power play just 50 seconds into the third as part of a five-goal third period for the Jesuits. Quinn also scored late in the second, and five other Jesuits had a goal apiece.
The Jesuits capitalized on the power play, scoring on two of their three chances. Notre Dame, meanwhile, failed to do much of anything on its five power plays.
"It was a good day for our power play and a great day, I thought, for our penalty kill," Sather said. "I thought for us that was the difference. We had a really hard-working penalty kill. That gives the whole team a lift energy-wise."
Ryan Deering and Quinn helped set up the Jesuits' first power-play goal, feeding Justin Blanchette at 10:10 of the first for a 1-0 lead. Junior Joe Ansaldo tied it just 28 seconds later with the first of his two goals, but the Jesuits took off from there.
"The power plays that they converted on were the main difference today," Notre Dame coach Tim Belcher said. "It was definitely the difference-maker in my eyes.
"Like I said to my guys at the end of the game, `They had their opportunities and buried them. We didn't."
Vincent D'Amore, Michael Yonnone, Deering and Colin Smalkais netted the other goals for the Jesuits, who improved to 4-2. Notre Dame dropped to 2-3-1.
After a busy stay in Rhode Island -- in which Prep beat LaSalle Academy and Bishop Hendricken and lost to Mount St. Charles -- senior goalie Jack Taubl was steady in net once again. Taubl made 28 saves, including 20 through the first two periods.
"He's been spectacular this year," Sather said. "We're basically a whole new team and sort of feeling our way through this first half of the season. He's been the rock.
"He saw over 100 shots in the Mount St. Charles Tournament. We didn't give him a whole lot of help, and he bailed us out."
Taubl got plenty of help on Saturday, thanks in large part to the Jesuits' power play.
"That's all we worked on this entire week," Quinn said. "We worked on power play. It wasn't working a week ago, but ... we got in a rhythm."
Ansaldo brought Notre Dame within 5-2 late in the third, but Deering answered with an empty-net goal on the penalty kill with 1:54 left. Smalkais capped the scoring with 1:38 remaining.
"Whenever you're in one of these games, you expect a defensive battle like the first two periods," Belcher said. "The third, they took it to us."
The Jesuits -- winners of two straight Division I titles -- will face Notre Dame-Fairfield on Tuesday at Bridgeport's Webster Bank Arena before returning to Rhode Island on Saturday for a rematch with LaSalle. Sather's eager to see how his team responds.
"We've got 17 new guys here," he said. "We're trying to teach them what level you need to be at come March."
FAIRFIELD PREP 1 1 5 -- 7
NOTRE DAME-WEST HAVEN 1 0 1 -- 2
Records: Fairfield Prep 4-2; ND-WH 2-3-1. Goals: FP -- Jack Quinn 2, Vincent D'Amore, Michael Yonnone, Justin Blanchette, Ryan Deering, Colin Smalkais; ND-WH -- Joe Ansaldo 2. Assists: FP -- Deering 4, Cole Casl, Brennan Henry, Quinn, Chris Brown; ND-WH -- Alec Andreucci, Vincent Paolillo. Goalies: FP -- Jack Taubl (28 saves); ND-WH -- Wade Conlan (25), Justin Daddio (2). Shots: FP -- 34; ND-WH -- 30.