Forgive my relatively conspicuous absence from the blogosphere.
It’s been a hectic couple of weeks, but that’s no excuse. Anyway, the winter season’s in full-force now. Prep and ND have already played once in hockey– which must mean Christmas is close– and the Prep Holiday Classic is less than a week away.
If you’re looking for a preview on the Classic, consult this story.
But I digress, ND’s defense held off the Jesuits for about 22 minutes on
Thursday night. But then the dam broke. Six second-period goals– four of which were power play marks– lifted Prep 7-2.
The Jesuits improved to 3-0; they’ll embark upon the Mt. Saint Charles Tournament in Rhode Island next week.
“We’ve had some great competition,” Prep forward David White said. “We’re going to be really challenged up at the Mount. It’s going to be interesting.”
ND fell to 1-1.
ND goalie Stone Denbok, playing his second varsity game in Connecticut, stopped 27 shots in two periods. Denbok was sharp in the first period, making several impressive saves.
“He played well,” ND coach Steve Heatherman said. “I didn’t see any softies.”
ND’s ‘D’ also held the fort until the first period’s final 70 seconds, when Tim Edmonds’ scored his third goal of the year.
Edmonds, playing on Prep’s third-line with Matt McKinney and Mike Ventricelli, struck for two goals. Prep’s No. 3 line has combined for seven goals and eight assists thus far this year.
“They’re successful because they work real hard,” Prep head coach Matt Sather said.
The game swiftly changed late in the second, though. After play had been
whistled, Edmonds pushed the puck into ND’s net, which incensed the Lancers. ND forward Cam Barquinero responded by cross checking Edmonds in the throat, earning him a five-minute major and game-misconduct.
“It was basically my fault,” Edmonds said, smiling. “I was putting it in after the whistle.”
Heatherman suggested the cross check showed a lack of focus and was OK with the call.
“You can protect your goalie, but your stick can’t be elevated,” Heatherman said. “That comes with maturity, focus and grit. If you have those things, it works to your advantage.”
Sather, on the other hand, thought it was dirty.
“I wouldn’t classify it as getting under anyone’s skin,” Sather said. “I didn’t quite understand what was going on there. It’s not a play that you want to see ever again.”
Prep’s subsequent power play netted three goals.
ND’s defense and penalty kill, played quite well for the first 20 minutes.
“I thought we did well,” Heatherman said. “We’re learning.”
In fact, after Jonathan Suporn scored a shorthanded goal at 6:50 of the second, I was tweeting that the Lancers penalty-kill was keeping ND in the game. The Lancers killed Prep’s first four power plays.
“I thought they were very aggressive,” Sather said.
Yet, Prep ended up 4-for-10 on the power play– thanks to the four, second-period man-advantage tallies. The major-penalty left Heatherman uneasy.
“You’re just hoping,” he said. “But it’s hard. Prep’s a highly-skilled team, and the boys are trying to compete.”
Heatherman said he thinks the Lancers’ schedule will help ND grow.
“The nice thing about our schedule is: it’s very tough,” he said. “The boys have to learn … it’s a team environment, and that’s what we’re trying to preach.”
The Lancers play Darien Saturday, still have two games against ND-West Haven, and meetings with Hamden, West Haven and New Canaan.
ND will also meet Prep again on Feb. 9.
“We’ll get them again,” Heatherman said. “Hopefully the boys will learn.”
There was a 26-second moment of silence for the victims of the Sandy Hook Elementary shooting before the game. Two players– one on each side– are from Newtown…. Prep beat ND for the ninth straight time dating back nearly five years. The Lancers’ last win over the Jesuits came Feb. 9, 2008…. ND goalie Scott Kline stopped all 14 shots he faced in the third… Ten different Prep players registered points. Connor Henry had three, Kevin Brown had two, both of which were goals.
I sincerely thank all of you for reading and hope each of you have a merry Christmas.
Pat Pickens is the sports editor of the Fairfield Citizen, a Hearst Connecticut Newspaper organization. Follow him on Twitter here.