MILFORD -- The Notre Dame-Fairfield boys ice hockey team's quest for its second state championship began in perfect fashion on Wednesday night at the Milford Ice Pavilion.
Six players scored goals and Zak Bouve made 30 saves as the top-seeded Lancers coasted into the quarterfinals of the Division I tournament with a 7-2 win over No. 16 St. Joseph. ND-Fairfield will meet East Haven in the round of eight on Saturday at a site and time to be determined.
"We are excited to get out with a win," ND-Fairfield coach Steve Hetherman said. "We will take it one game at a time and see where it takes us. We'll regroup and be ready to go."
ND-Fairfield (17-4-1) scored two goals in a 1:23 span early in the first period to take control of the game. The game was effectively over when Jonny Suporn scored a power play goal with 3:11 left in the frame to increase the lead to 3-0.
"It's coming together for the kids," Hetherman said. "The kids are believing in themselves and one another, and that's the sign of a good hockey team."
The Cadets (7-14-1) got off to a bright start, getting off five of the game's first six shots and testing Bouve on multiple occasions. The double-strike at the other end of the ice put St. Joseph on its heels and it was an uphill battle from there.
"It's been our story all year long," Cadets coach Marty Crouse said. "It's like Groundhog Day. We came out, do everything but score. You keep teams around, give them confidence and the tide changes. We made bad decisions."
Junior Craig Hessenius (two goals, two assists) had a four-point night for the SCC/SWC Division I champions, including scoring the game-opening goal.
"Craig is a dynamic defenseman that's very smart," Hetherman said. "He knows when to attack and when to sit back. I think he's one of the best defensemen in the state."
Justice Cook and Andrew Van Etter scored goals for the Cadets, while Christian Furce (22 saves) and Dylan Batterson (15) split time in the cage. The Lancers went 4-for-9 on the power play, including an empty net goal with 40.5 seconds left.
Ten players recorded points in the win for the Lancers. One of the main strengths of the team is the ability to produce offense from a variety of lines.
"We have a nice, balanced attack," Hetherman said. "We want the offense to come in waves and that's what we saw tonight."
ST. JOSEPH 0 1 1--2
ND-FAIRFIELD 3 2 2--7
Records: St. Joseph 7-14-1; ND-Fairfield 17-4-1. Goals: SJ--Justice Cook, Andrew Van Etter; NDF--Craig Hessenius 2, AJ Lucatino, Tyler Henchcliffe, Jonny Suporn, Justin Dupuis, Nick Carlotto. Assists: SJ--Ryan Corocan; NDF--Hessenius 2, Christian La Croix 2, Henchcliffe, Mark Russo, Garrett Gintoli, Danny Walsh. Goalies: SJ--Christian Furce (22 saves), Dylan Batterson (15); NDF--Zak Bouve (30). Shots: SJ--32; NDF--44.