Watching Greenwich High and St. Joseph duel in a key FCIAC matchup, it was apparent how much both of these teams needed a win Monday night at Dorothy Hamill Skating Rink.
The action was fast and furious between these two evenly matched teams throughout in this intense, back-and-forth FCIAC game with both squads generating a lot of shots on goal. Senior forward Luke Finneran’s second goal of the game with 3:47 left in overtime propelled the Cardinals to a much-needed 3-2 victory over the Cadets. At 5-9, Greenwich went into the night in a three-way tie for seventh place in the FCIAC with Trumbull and Wilton. Two of these three teams will most likely, be among the eight qualifiers for the FCIAC Tournament, so this win for the Cards, was indeed, a big one.
Despite entering the second period in a scoreless tie, Greenwich’s first period was one of its best of the season. The Cardinals outshot the Cadets 14-7 and would have been in front, had it not been for the standout play of St. Joseph junior goalie Christian Furce.
Greenwich’s first line of juniors Matt Lodato, Tommy Feda and Montana Larson made St. Joseph work hard defensively in the first period, while Finneran and Ian Fulton helped spark the second line. The Cardinals carried the momentum into the second period and eventually took a 1-0 lead on an impressive breakaway goal from Finneran at the 4:53 mark.
“For Luke to beat that guy with his speed and take it all the way like that was great to see,” GHS coach Bob Russel said.
One of the problems that’s plagued the Cardinals this season is their inability to hold on to leads. That surfaced again Monday, as St. Joe tied the score at 1-1 just 47 seconds later with junior forward Colin Powell tallying the first of his two goals. The Cadets were charged with five penalties, one of which proved especially costly. With Greenwich on a power play following an interference infraction, senior defenseman Kevin Piotrzkowski capitalized with 5:47 to go in the second period, putting Greenwich on top 2-1.
Second periods have been a struggle recently for Greenwich, but Monday’s second stanza was a lot better than their performances in their last two games – losses to Ridgefield and New Canaan.
“The last two games we gave up a lot of goals in the second period, so we said during intermission after the first period that we can’t come out flat in the second period,” Piotrzkowski said.
After Powell’s second goal made it a 2-2 game late in the second period, the third period resembled the first, with both squads generating plenty of shots on goal. Kudos to both goalies who stood strong in the face of pressure. Furce made 37 saves, while Greenwich’s Bryan Archino stopped 28 shots.
“Archino made a lot of timely saves,” Russel said. “It’s nice to see him rebound.”
The Cardinals who, aren’t a high-scoring squad (they have scored 33 goals through 14 games), need to play well defensively to make a push for the postseason and it received the type of effort it was looking for last night.
“Our defense did a nice job of taking away second chances,” Russel said. “A lot of pucks came to the slot and we had a stick on a stick. I was really pleased with the ‘D’ and their toughness and effort.”
Here’s my game story on Greenwich’s win vs. St. Joseph: http://bit.ly/1ekhE4S