Greenwich hockey team tops ND-Fairfield
As the final horn sounded, the Greenwich players celebrated in a pile in front of their goaltender while the Notre Dame-Fairfield players celebrated in a pile near center ice.
The Cardinals were celebrating a win. Notre Dame was celebrating a tie.
In the end, the referees waved off the Lancers' potential tying goal, ruling that it came after the clock struck zero, giving the Cardinals a hard-fought 4-3 win Wednesday night at the Milford Ice Pavilion.
Down a goal with 1.8 seconds left to play, Notre Dame lined up for a face-off to the right of Greenwich goaltender Bryan Archino. The Lancers won the draw and the puck went to Nick Carloto, who blasted a shot through traffic that somehow found the back of the net as the horn sounded. Greenwich thought the game was over. Notre Dame thought it had tied the game.
The refs conferred for several seconds while both sides celebrated.
"I thought it was in," Lancers coach Steve Hetherman said. "It was a bang-bang play. The human eye and the human ear, it's simultaneous. If you see it and hear it go in, you've got to ...it's tough."
Tough in the sense that the loss was the third straight for Notre Dame, who fell to 4-7 overall and the fifth loss in the last six games. For Greenwich (11-1), however, it continues a winning streak that now stands at seven straight for the state's fourth-ranked team.
"This was a good game for us," Cardinals coach Bob Russel said. "In the FCIAC you play a bunch of (Division II) and (Division III) teams, and my biggest fear today was not being ready to play defense well, but I thought we played defense really well in the first two periods. The regular season is just preparation for the playoffs and we need more games like this."
Greenwich took the lead just 1:43 into the first period when Kristian Cunningham beat Notre Dame goaltender William Scovill. Three minutes later, the Lancers tied the game when Ryan Gawricki beat Archino. The Cardinals regained the lead at 2-1 at the 9:53 mark of the first when Montana Larson scored on a 2-on-1 break.
Cunningham's second goal of the game, at 7:51 of the second period, gave Greenwich a 3-1 lead heading into the final 15 minutes. Notre Dame took advantage of a pair of Cardinals penalties to score twice -- once on a 4-on-4 and the other on the power play -- and tie the game at 3-3.
First, Carloto scored from between the circles at the 5:41 mark and then Michael Antoniou stuffed the puck under Archino pads from right in front at 7:15, giving the Lancers all the momentum.
"When the boys put forth the effort and execute what we've been teaching them in practice, you can see the results," Hetherman said. "But the problem is, we're only getting 10 minutes of it."
ND's momentum lasted all of 90 seconds as Matthew Lodato beat Scovill to the glove side at the 8:43 mark to put Greenwich back in front 4-3.
"Ladato, he wins the game right there for us," Russel said. "At 3-1, all we have to do is keep the game simple, get it deep play good defense. They weren't getting a lot of good scoring chances. And then they get those two to even it up but to have Lodato go back and score right away, it gave us back the momentum."
Until the final second that is, when Notre Dame thought it scored to tie the game as the horn sounded.
"I think our guys thought it had ended, thinking, `they can't possibly score in 1.8 seconds' and everyone relaxed. All we had to do was fall on that (puck)," Russel said. "I know the clock ran out but they shouldn't have even gotten the shot off."
GREENWICH 2 1 1--4
NOTRE DAME-FAIRFIELD 1 0 2 --3
Records: Greenwich 11-1; Notre Dame-Fairfield 4-7
First Period -- Greenwich: Kristian Cunningham (Makenzie Larson) 1:43; Notre Dame: Ryan Gawricki (Nick Carloto, Seamus O'Rourke) 4:06; Greenwich: Montana Larson (Makenzie Larson) 9:53. Penalites: None. Second Period -- Greenwich: Cunningham (unassisted) 7:51. Penalties: Notre Dame: Ryan Carloto (interference) 1:20; Greenwich: Chris Becker (tripping) 4:06. Third Period -- Notre Dame: Nick Carloto (Nate Berardi) 5:41; Notre Dame: Michael Antoniou (Seamus O'Rourke) 7:15; Greenwich: Matthew Lodato (Donald Curran, Brian Silard) 8:43.