By David Fierro
Close to earning a win in several of its first six games, Greenwich High School’s boys ice hockey team was seeking that elusive first victory of the season when it hosted FCIAC foe St. Joseph Saturday night at Dorothy Hamill Skating Rink.
Putting three stellar periods together, the Cardinals captured what they had been chasing since the season commenced last month – a win.
Junior Heath Jervis scored two goals, senior Michael Orrico registered two assists and senior Nick Sinisi made numerous saves for Greenwich in its decisive 5-0 victory over visiting St. Joseph.
“It’s definitely a relief,” Greenwich coach Jack Duffy said of the win. “Obviously, when you’re 0-6, it gets tough. I like the way we played. I think we played against a really hard-working team and I think we matched their level of play and it felt good, we did a lot of good things. I’m happy for the boys.”
Among the Cardinals’ six losses to start the season were close defeats against North Haven (a 2-1 loss), Xavier (2-0 defeat) and Darien (5-3 loss at the Winter Classic at Greenwich Skating Club). The Cardinals left nothing to chance Saturday night before their home crowd, scoring one goal apiece in the first and second periods, then adding three more tallies in the third period.
“It feels great, it was a well-deserved win tonight,” Greenwich senior defenseman/co-captain Kyle Allen said. “We have been working our butts off the past few weeks looking for this win, but we’ve got to move on.”
Indeed, the Cardinals enjoyed the win Saturday night and the next couple of days, but it’s back on the ice for the team Tuesday, as they will travel to the Winter Garden Ice Arena in Ridgefield to play FCIAC rival Ridgefield – weather permitting.
Greenwich, which advanced to the semifinal-round of the CIAC Division I Tournament last season, where it lost to Fairfield Prep, took a 1-0 lead on St. Joseph Saturday night on an unassisted goal from Jervis with 1:27 remaining in the first period. Jervis’ goal came after the Cardinals killed a Cadets power play, with Sinisi making a pair of saves, one of which was from the right wing off the stick of senior Brady Tomassi.
The shutout was the first of the season for the Cardinals and Sinisi.
“I think our defensemen were amazing, I couldn’t have done it without them,” Sinisi said. “They helped me out, it was unbelievable.”
In the second period, GHS kept its momentum. Jake D’Angelo, a senior forward, tallied off a pass from Orrico at the 6:48 mark of the second period, giving the home team a 2-0 advantage on the Cadets (1-5).
“I’m really happy with the second period,” Duffy said. “We started the game well and we did a good job of staying with things in the second period.”
The Cards also kept it together in the third period, putting the game away with by lighting the lamp three times. St. Joseph went on a power play 28 seconds into the third period due to a GHS hooking penalty. The visitors then went on a 5-on-3 power play, following a Greenwich hooking infraction. Yet the Cadets couldn’t capitalize, as the Cards’ penalty kill unit was on point and Sinisi was in top form in net.
The Cardinals goaltender turned away several St. Joseph shots during its power play, keeping the hosts’ lead and shutout intact.
“Sinisi had a great game in goal for his first shutout,” Duffy noted. “It was a thorough effort.”
Senior forward/co-captain Joe Lewis scored off a nice set-up by sophomore forward Teddy Johnson, putting Greenwich on top, 3-0, with 11:11 to go in the final period. Senior Frank Skibo also helped set up Lewis’ goal. Jervis, who is in his first season on the varsity squad, made a well-executed move in getting the puck past St. Joe junior goalie Anthony Geloso at the 8:19 mark of the third period.
“We played well, we established the forecheck early, the first guy was jumping on pucks and we were playing solid and backchecking hard,” Lewis said. “It was a solid game all-around.”
“Our forecheck was amazing,” Sinisi added. “In our zone, we were playing rebounds and we just put a ton of pressure on them, just really pushing the pace.”
Coach Duffy appreciated how his squad carried out its mission in the third period.
“Going into the third period, it was a 2-0 game, it was really important to get the next goal,” Duffy noted. “It was the first time we played 45 minutes of hockey.”
Said Allen, who helped paced Greenwich’s defensive effort, along with sophomore Boden Farmer: “Something we haven’t been able to do is play three periods and we did that well today. That’s got to keep up. For today’s sake, we did that really well and we got a win out of it.”
Now that Greenwich got that elusive first win, it needs to start stacking victories and build a winning streak. It starts with Tuesday’s road matchup against Ridgefield – again, weather permitting.
“We always face a lot of adversity up there it should be a bigger challenge,” Lewis said.
“Just keep getting pucks deep and playing three periods are the keys,” Allen added.