The Greenwich High School boys hockey team’s season ended with a 6-1 loss to Ridgefield in the first round of the CIAC Division I Tournament Wednesday night. But the Cardinals left the Winter Garden Ice Arena in Ridgefield believing this season marked the beginning of what they know, will be a successful era.
The freshmen who went through growing pains during a three-win season last winter, matured this year as sophomores, helping the Cardinals to a 12-10 season – a marked improvement from the squad’s 2011-12 season. It was impressive to see how much the younger players on the team developed this year. Big Red’s roster included 10 sophomores, many of whom played important roles in the team’s success.
Kudos to sophomore goalie Bryan Archino, who was steady between the pipes all season. Archino yielded three goals or less in 12 games this year for Greenwich, including two shutouts. Look for him to continue his improvement over the next two years between the pipes.
A balanced scoring attack was one of the Cardinals’ strengths this season and the team will return a lot of goals next year. Sophomore forward Alex Bastone emerged as the squad’s leading goal scorer, while sophomores Brian Silard, Naoya Fukuchi, Ian Fulton, Decker Curran (who scored the team’s lone goal vs. Ridgefield) and Tommy Feda and juniors Luke Finneran, Matt Lodato and Mark Schmeiler also helped spark the team offensively. Sophomore Tommy Rogan, who just missed giving Greenwich a 1-0 lead on Ridgefield four minutes into the first period, as his shot from the right wing hit the far post, will be one of the Cards’ key returning defensemen, along with junior Eamon McHugh
I agree with coach Bob Russel’s assessment after the Ridgefield game that the final score was not really indicative of the Cardinals’ play. Greenwich held their own against the Tigers the first two periods and had the better of the play the first 11 minutes of the second period. But despite being on a power play several times and outshooting the Tigers, they were outscored in the period 2-0. That’s where the team’s inexperience came into play.
“Finishing your chances comes with experience,” Russel said. “They finished on a lot of their chances and we were just a shade away. When they got to the net and the puck squirted loose they were able to put it in. Give our guys another 10 months of strength and they will be the ones putting it in the net.”
The team’s success also stemmed from the great leadership it received from the seniors. Defensemen William Waesche and Jack Corrigan were forces on the blueline throughout the season, while Paul Macken and Reed Brady ignited the team up front. Macken told me how much he enjoyed the season after the Ridgefield game.
“It was a great experience,” Macken said. “After last season we all focused on playing our hardest each game and told each other, ‘let’s do better.’ We went out there and came out with a nice record.”
“I will always remember all of our seniors,” Russel said. “You love having them around, they were all terrific kids.”