Prep hockey stunned by ND-West Haven
Updated 3:49 pm, Tuesday, February 21, 2012
Until Saturday, the Fairfield Prep ice hockey team had swept all 11 games against Connecticut opposition in 2011-12.
But maybe the Jesuits have finally met their match in the Nutmeg State.
"We rose to the level of Prep," ND coach Bill Gerosa said. "They're still the best team around, but today we found a way to come out on top."
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The loss-- which snapped Prep's 10-game win streak-- was also Prep's first in 2012 and the first time the Jesuits were shutout.
"We didn't play well," Prep coach Matt Sather said. "It was not a very high energy day for us."
However, Prep's first shot in the game may have set a different tone. Connor Henry's try appeared to hit the binding that attaches the net to the goal and came straight out. Henry looked around thinking it was a goal, but play continued.
However, Sather declared that even if the call was missed, it did not influence the outcome.
"I didn't see if it went in or not," he said. "It doesn't matter at all."
ND took the lead with 16 seconds remaining in the first, when Bill Vizzo won a neutral zone faceoff that Zullo controlled. The sophomore carried the puck up the ice, then unleased a snap shot from the top of the circle, beating Wikman over the blocker and giving the Green Knights a 1-0, first-intermission advantage.
"We played really poorly defensively in the first," Sather said.
Wikman kept Prep in the game with several key stops. But when his brother Matt was sent off for holding early in the third, ND struck. Louis Iannotti hit Cretella with a stretch pass that left the senior captain on a breakway. Cretella beat Wikman, putting ND up 2-0.
Prep struggled to generate offensive chances, especially in the third, as it was outshot 11-8 in the final period. Amatruda stopped all of them, earning his second straight shutout.
"You win games with your goalie and defense," Gerosa said. "And we had both today."
Both coaches agreed that a third meeting between the clubs was likely and also preferred. The Jesuits dealt ND one of its two SCC losses this year, a 4-3 result on Jan. 7 in Bridgeport.
"I'd love to see them again," Sather said. "They're a good team, well-coached and we played good games with them."
"Wouldn't it be nice to see them in the finals at Yale?" Gerosa said.
The Jesuits will try to avoid their first losing streak of the season when they host Catholic Memorial (Mass.) on Wednesday at Wonderland of Ice at 1 p.m. Prep travels to rival Hamden on Saturday at 2:30 p.m.