Ridgefield coach Roy Colsey had plenty to be happy about following his team’s season-opener on the road Wednesday against Greenwich.
The Tigers’ zone defense kept the Cardinals’ attack at bay, senior goalie Conor Shannon turned in a strong performance in his first career start and offensively, the team was efficient. It all added up to a 10-5 win for Ridgefield over Greenwich in a game marking the third straight season the team’s opened the season against each other.
“For our first game of the season, I’m happy,” said Colsey, whose Tigers were the runner-up in both the FCIAC and Class L Tournaments last year. “We have a pretty good idea of what we want to do on offense each game and we executed pretty well.”
Though Greenwich had possession the majority of the first quarter, it was impressive to see how quickly the Tigers cashed in on their chances offensively. Senior attackman Brett Baker scored a hat trick and set the tone by tallying the game’s first two goals. Junior middies Will Bonaparte and Micky Carbone also had three goals apiece for Ridgefield, which has won three straight season-openers against Greenwich.
The big bright spot for Greenwich was the play of senior faceoff specialist Graham Savio. Savio gave the Cardinals possession and chances to score by winning almost all of his faceoffs.
“Graham was awesome, if it wasn’t for him the game could have been a lot worse than it was,” GHS coach Scott Bulkley said. “We should have been able to take advantage of how good he was by canning our shots.”
Bulkley told me last week during an interview for the season preview how good Savio is at the faceoff and he certainly didn’t disappoint. He also had a goal in the game, winning the faceoff, taking the ball down field and converting his shot.
“They won almost every faceoff, I think we won one or two faceoffs the whole game,” Colsey said. “I knew he was good and he proved it today. We threw three guys at him during the course of the game and we couldn’t get much done.”
The Tigers were able to overcome their struggles at Wednesday, but they know they can’t afford to have such a performance in future games.
“For us to do as well as we did today with the amount of chances they had says a lot about our defense,” Colsey said. “We can’t make our guys play that much defense in our upcoming games.”
The Cardinals, who saw Kyle Foote and Alex Moeser take a lot of their shots, were hurt by the absences of sophomore attack Decker Curran and junior attack Jamie Paradise. Bulkley said Curran will be in action in the team’s road game vs. Wilton on Saturday.
Getting stuck in traffic, Ridgefield arrived just five minutes before the scheduled starting time of 4:30 p.m., so the game didn’t begin until 4:50. When it began the Cards won the opening faceoff and patiently worked the ball around the perimeter for four minutes against Ridgefield’s zone until the Tigers forced a turnover, came up with a key ground ball and went to work offensively.
“Our defense was great today, they really worked hard,” Colsey said. “I was really impressed with them.”