MILFORD -- Sitting out 10 games after transferring in the summer, Notre Dame-Fairfield's Ryan Gawricki saw a Lancers team making progress.

In his third game on the ice, the junior forward-turned-defenseman with the big shot helped keep that progress going. Gawricki's hat trick and Christian LaCroix's four points paced the sixth-ranked Lancers to a 7-3 win over South Windsor on Wednesday at Milford Ice Pavilion.

"Especially coming into this game, I felt confident," Gawricki said. "Last game against (Fairfield) Prep (a 6-3 loss Saturday), we didn't play our style of game."

The Lancers (8-4-1) did that Wednesday, keeping pucks in the offensive zone and limiting the Bobcats' chances (though some of their chances were golden).

Notre Dame-Fairfield broke it open with four goals in a row, including the first three of the third period, to take a 7-2 lead.

Gawricki's third goal was the first goal of the third period, coming through the right circle and banking a backhander off Bobcats goalie Scott Skenyon.

"That's his skill set. He can hurt you either way," Lancers coach Steve Hetherman said.

Gawricki had a four-goal game last year when he played for Staples/Weston/Shelton (he's from the third town in that three-town co-op).

Wednesday, he blasted in a left-point shot through traffic to make it 3-0 in the first period. In the second, after the Bobcats cut the lead to a goal, he scored on a bomb from the high slot.

"I couldn't do it without my teammates," said Gawricki, who said he'd "like to try forward" but is comfortable on the blue line.

"Especially with a shot like mine. They always teach us to find shots and create traffic. It's good that it happened tonight."

The Bobcats (4-7-2) cut the lead to 3-2 at 2:36 of the second as the Lancers, trying to tuck a rebound under Jesse Burns' pads, tucked it under Burns and into the net.

South Windsor's Bryan Bakas hit the far post from the right circle with 6:40 left in the period, nearly completing a hat trick. Two stoppages later, Hetherman sent Zak Bouve in for Burns.

"I just didn't like what I was seeing from (Burns') posture," Hetherman said. "That can have an impact on other players. Without calling time out, why not just (make the change). "

Gawricki made it 4-2 less than a minute later.

The Lancers dominated possession time and outshot the Bobcats 39-17.

"When the boys play like that, that's what we expect of them," Hetherman said. "They just executed what we're teaching."

Sophomore Tyler Henchcliffe (his first goal) and junior Justin Dupuis also scored in the first period. LaCroix scored the Lancers' sixth goal, giving him 97 career points, and Cooper Demchak deflected Craig Hessenius' left-point shot with 6:35 left.;;



Records: South Windsor 4-7-2; Notre Dame-Fairfield 8-4-1. Goals: SW--Bryan Bakas 2, Patrick Lawson; NDF--Ryan Gawricki 3, Tyler Henchcliffe, Justin Dupuis, Christian LaCroix, Cooper Demchak; Assists: SW--Connor Minguy, Austin Gilligan; NDF--LaCroix 3, Mark Russo 2, Henchcliffe, Brendan Barger, Demchak, Craig Hessenius; Goalies: SW--Scott Skenyon (32 saves); NDF--Jesse Burns (7), Zak Bouve (7); Shots: SW--17; NDF--39