After missing the FCIAC Tournament last season, the Greenwich High boys hockey team returned to the tourney Saturday, and though it fell short to rival New Canaan in the quarterfinals, it held its own against in its 4-2 loss to the third-seeded Rams.
The Rams came out strong, applying pressure early, while displaying a solid forecheck. But the Cardinals took the Rams’ best shot and played New Canaan to a near standstill in the first period. It was nice to see the stands on the Greenwich side at Terry Conners Rink pretty full with Cardinals fans, who urged the team on throughout the night.
The crowd erupted when Cardinals sophomore forward Alex Bastone tied the game at 1-1, knocking in a rebound while sliding on the ice with 5:20 left in the first period. Junior Luke Finneran also scored for Greenwich, tallying in the third period. In the end, it was the Rams’ experience in big games and size that made the difference.
New Canaan got the better of the majority of the battles for the puck along the boards and were aided by their potent scoring combination of Harry Stanton (2 goals, 1 assist) and Puck Richardson (1 goal, 2 assists). The Cards received another fine effort from sophomore goalie Bryan Archino (26 saves).
Here’s some of what the Cardinals had to say after the game.
Coach Bob Russel: “We competed hard and didn’t quit. This was the first time a lot of players in this group were in the playoffs, so it was a great experience for them. I think they’ll more prepared for this situation next year.”
Luke Finneran: “New Canaan is a good team and they showed it tonight. Our forwards got caught low a few times, so they had odd man breaks that resulted in goals. They are an older, more experienced team than us, so I think next year will be better.”
The season isn’t over for Greenwich. The Cardinals (12-9) qualified for the CIAC Division I Tournament, which begins March 4. So coach Russel’s crew has plenty of time to get ready for their next challenge.