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Saturday, March 24 Sports

Goalies rule in 0-0 girls ice hockey between Fairfield, Notre dame

Goaltending stole the show on Wednesday night at the Milford Ice Pavilion in a scoreless overtime tie when Notre Dame-Fairfield and the Fairfield co-op met in their girls ice hockey rematch from Dec. 13.

While Fairfield junior goalie Phoebe Cascella continued her hot play by recording 16 saves, the headliner in this non-conference game was Lancers senior Brooke Bonetti, who stopped 38 shots. Some of her saves were spectacular.

The 0-0 draw left Fairfield, whose players come from Fairfield Warde and Fairfield Ludlowe high schools, with a 4-6-2 overall record and Notre Dame at 3-7-2. Their game earlier in the season was a 1-1 tie in Bridgeport. The Lancers are 2-1-1 in their last four games, while Fairfield is 2-0-1 following a four-game losing streak.

"She played great," Fairfield coach Paul Kelly said of the opposing goalie. "You have to give all the credit in the world to her. We've known she's a good goaltender for quite some time. Some of our players play on the same club team with her."

Kelly attributed Fairfield's goal less game to Bonetti's saves and his team's inability to convert its many opportunities. "We did pretty much what we wanted to," Kelly said. "We wanted to get some traffic in front of the net. It was just one of those things where we were unable to get one by their goalie. We're a team that has to work hard to score goals."

Fairfield did the work, but Bonetti had the answers. Many of her saves came off shots from close range.

Fairfield outshot the Lancers by 38-16, including 4-2 in the eight-minute overtime, which contained the game's only penalties, one on each team. With 30 seconds remaining in overtime, at even strength, a Fairfield shot was deflected and cleared the crossbar behind Bonetti by mere inches.

"It was real close," Notre Dame coach Kerri Rowland said of Fairfield's final salvo.

Dominating a game is not a new wrinkle for Bonetti, Rowland said, but the Milford resident and co-captain raised her imprint on the outcome to a new level. "She was outstanding. Her performance today was her most consistent positioning all year," Rowland said. "She stayed on her angle every time they came down ice, and she controlled her rebounds, either by throwing them into the corner or smothering them."

Rowland agreed that it was Bonetti's best game of the season.

Notre Dame's defense has been improving, Rowland said. The Lancers' wings and centers have become more diligent at back checking to join the efforts of the defensemen and Bonetti. That has left the Lancers' defense more effective.

Rowland said Cascella, who gave up a goal Monday in a 4-1 win over Hand, played a solid game. Six of her saves came in the third period when Fairfield had less possession of the puck and fewer shots on goal than it did in the first two periods. Two days earlier, in a 5-2 win over the Stamford/Westhill/Staples co-op, Cascella made 24 saves.

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rwalmark@bcnnew.com; 203-255-4561 ext. 113; twitter.co/ReidWalmark

Fairfield 0, Notre Dame-Fairfield 0

FAIRFIELD 0 0 0--0

NOTRE DAME 0 0 0--0

Records: F--4-6-2; ND--3-7-2. Goalies: F--Phoebe Cascella (16 saves); ND--Brooke Bonetti (38). Shots: F--38; ND--16.