The cliche “It’s hard to beat a team three times” proved true yet again today when Hamden stunned Fairfield Prep, 6-5 in the Division I State Championship on Saturday afternoon at Ingalls Rink.
The Jesuits never led in the game, rebounding from five deficits in the game. Four goals were scored in the third period, including two Hamden goals sandwiched around a Jesuit tally in the final five minutes of regulation. Hamden scored a power play goal with just 4:12 left, but David Griffin answered that just 39 seconds later to tie the game at 5.
But Nick Amarone’s goal with just 2:04 left in the game gave the Green Dragons their second straight Division I championship.
Senior Darric White tallied twice for the Jesuits and fellow captain Jackson Bargiello recorded three assists, including a slick play with the net empty at the end of the first period.
The game did not end without controversy, though. Hamden thought the game was over and celebrated, but the officials called a penalty on the Green Dragons with three seconds left in the game. Prep tried to run the same play it ran at the end of the first, but could not execute and the game ended.
Prep coach Matt Sather admitted that Hamden out-worked his team again. Sather said the same thing after Prep’s 4-1 win over the Green Dragons on Feb. 24. The Jesuits’ power play was 2-6 in the game, but Hamden’s was 2-4, including a 5-on-3 goal scored when Lucas Dennison took an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty in the second period. Dennison was penalized four times in the game.
Despite giving up five goals, Hamden goalie Ryan Amarone was the best player on the ice. Prep could have scored three or four more if not for Amarone. Although a couple of the goals allowed, including the fifth, were weak.
Either way, Prep must now wonder what might have been. Sather told anyone that would listen to him this year that his squad was young this year. But they did have seven seniors, and six that saw major minutes. The Jesuits were the best team in the state, but have nothing to show for it now.
on the game: “It was a great game. Hats off to Hamden, they played excellent. We’re disappointed, but proud of our season.”
on his team being outworked: “I thought in our end, Hamden did a great job against us…This game just didn’t have a whole lot of flow.”
on his team’s effort: “We worked hard and I’m proud of their effort. They were a great crew. Lot of new faces, they battled.”
on his senior captains: “Captains have been sensational. They were three of the best players that I’ve ever coached.”
on ending his career with a loss: “You never want to end like that. Hamden is a good team. It’s tough.”
on the flow to the game: “Our strength is in our defense, we thought we could pop a couple more in.”
on trying to beat Hamden for a third time: “It’s hard to beat a team three times. You still have got to go out there and play. We just didn’t show up.”
on scoring two goals in the state championship game: “I’d gladly give those goals back for a state championship.”
Hamden (17-5-1)….. 2 2 2–6
Prep (18-4)…………..2 1 2–5
H: Devine (Dadio), 1:55; P: Unker (Bargiello, Puffer), 6:26; H: Burt (Teulings, Carignan), 10:11; P: White (Bargiello, Unker), 14:59.
H: Lynch (McGregor, P. Amarone), 2:33; P: White (Bargiello, Puffer) pp, 5:02; H: Carignan (Devine) pp, 9:06
P: Worsfold (Puffer, Dennison) pp, 3:41; H: Carignan (Devine, Vakos) pp, 10:48; P: Griffin (Hyland), 11:21; H: N. Amarone (Hyland, Devine), 12:56.
P: Spencer Sodokoff (25 saves); H: Ryan Amarone (33 saves)
Odds and Ends
The crowd at the rink was tremendous, the announced attendance was 3,500… The size of Ingalls Rink added to the atmosphere. The noise was spilling to the outside… With all of that said, couldn’t the CIAC play the game at an arena where people could sit? Ingalls is great and a central location, but it is small and there really isn’t much parking at all for spectators…