MILFORD — For winning the St. Dominic Holiday Tournament in Maine over the Christmas break, Notre Dame-Fairfield was rewarded with a place in the GameTimeCT/New Haven Register Top 10 boys’ hockey poll, earning the No. 5 spot.
But skating in that rarified air has its price and Wednesday night at the Milford Ice Pavilion, the top-team in the poll, Fairfield Prep, reminded the Lancers just how tough it is to play with the big boys.
The Jesuits smoked ND with six second-period goals and never looked back in a 9-2 victory before a packed house. Prep, which won the Mount St. Charles Tournament in Rhode Island the same time the Lancers were winning in Maine, improved to 6-0. ND, which won only four games last season, dropped to 4-1.
“We’re a team that doesn’t know how to win these kinds of big games, yet,” ND-Fairfield coach John Longo said. “We got down and the game plan went out the window a little bit. Prep has so many good players and they can hurt you in so many ways. I think some of the kids were in awe of watching these guys skate around. They capitalized on every mistake we made tonight.”
Notre Dame struck first at 4:52 of the first period as Anthony Bouvier deflected a shot from the blue line through the pads of Jesuits goaltender Jack McGee, Prep needed just over a minute to even matters at 1 as Skyler Celotto backhanded a rebound past Lancers goalie Kacy Adams off an initial shot from Mason Whitney at 5:48.
Just 38 seconds later, the Jesuits scored again as Joe Mancini fired a wrister from between the circles that beat Adams over the shoulder and under the crossbar.
“I thought we played all right in the first, we were a little tight,” Prep coach Matt Sather said. “I think we were sort of sitting back in the first period and all I told them in the locker room was to concentrate on winning races. We won more pucks and that created more opportunities and not just more opportunities, but better opportunities.
“In the first, we didn’t really get to the net but in the second, most of our goals were from right around the net. When we’re smart in our end and we’re moving the puck crisply like we were, we’re tough to beat.”
Cole Casl’s power play goal at 2:52 of the second period pushed the Prep lead to 3-1, scoring off a sharp angle. It became 4-1 at 8:26 when Calyb Reeves’ wrister from between the circles beat Adams and just 36 seconds later, Mancini’s second goal beat Adams for a 5-1 Prep lead, ending his night and sending in backup Andrew Jones.
“Coach told us to embrace the physicality,” said senior forward Joe Mancini, who scored two goals. “I think early on, we might have been a little timid, not wanting to get hit, but we embraced the physicality and moved the puck around and got a few in.”Read Full Article
Jones fared no better, surrendering three goals in a 1:29 span as Anthony Clericuzio (13:09), Celotto (13:59) and Reeves (14:29) all scored to give the Jesuits a seven-goal cushion after two.
Colin Bella’s unassisted tally at 3:24 of the third made it 9-1 before the Lancers ended the Prep run with a goal from Nate Stiles at 4:30.
“We came out pretty strong and the guys were confident with the success that we’ve had, but as soon as we got down, guys just started watching,” Longo said. “They stopped sticking to their assignments. We didn’t take care of our own end.”
FAIRFIELD PREP 9, ND-FAIRFIELD 2
FAIRFIELD PREP2 6 1 — 9
ND-FAIRFIELD1 0 1 — 2
Records: Fairfield Prep (6-0); ND-Fairfield (4-1)
Goals: FP — Skyler Celotto 2, Joe Mancini 2, Cole Casl, Calyb Reeves 2, Anthony Clericuzio, Colin Bella; ND-F — Anthony Bouvier, Nate Stiles. Assists: FP — Mason Whitney, Ryan Eckert 3, Jack Carroll, Matt Kernaghan 2, Evan Uva, Kevin Oricoli 2, Cole Casl 2, Ryan Dowd; ND-F — Justin LaSella, Thomas Kuryla. Goalies: FP — Jack McGee (11 saves); ND-F — Kacy Adams (18 saves), Andrew Jones (9 saves). Shots: FP 33, ND-F 13.