Winter Classic Boys Hockey Nash, Greenwich blank Darien
GREENWICH — A decisive victory against a conference rival in a much-anticipated hockey game played outdoors — indeed, the Greenwich High School boys hockey team couldn’t have scripted a better way to conclude 2018.
Hundreds of fans gathered along the boards and every area of Greenwich Skating Club Saturday night, as FCIAC foes Greenwich and Darien dueled in the second annual Winter Classic.
And like last year, the Cardinals claimed the winner’s trophy.
Tallying twice in the second period, before adding a goal in the third, Greenwich skated to an impressive 3-0 win over Darien, before a packed house at Greenwich Skating Club.
The Cardinals received goals from freshman Wesley Zolin, senior Matt Davey and sophomore Thatcher Danielson and 22 saves from junior goalie Ben Nash.
Senior goalie Henri Pfeifle made 21 saves for the Blue Wave, who were edged by the Cardinals, 4-3, in last season’s Winter Classic.
Following a scoreless first period, both teams picked up the pace in the second period. Putting pressure on the Blue Wave the Cardinals took a 1-0 lead with 11:25 to go in the second period. Davey snapped a shot from the right faceoff circle that deflected off Pfeifle’s pads. Positioned at the left circle, Zolin gathered the puck off the rebound and quickly wristed a one-timer past Pfeifle, giving Greenwich a 1-0 edge.
The Cardinals extended their lead at the 4:35 mark of the second period. Skating down the left wing, Zolin crossed the puck to Davey, who finished the 2-on-1 rush with a one-timer from close in, putting Greenwich ahead, 2-0.
Pfeifle made 12 saves during the second period, while Nash stopped seven shots. Nash was tested by shots from Darien’s Sam Erickson and Jamison Moore during the second period, but held the Blue Wave off the scoreboard.
A scoreless first period saw Darien outshoot Greenwich, 8-4, both teams kill penalties.
The Blue Wave went on a power play when the Cardinals were whistled for a hooking penalty with 9:24 left in the first period. A second Greenwich penalty gave Darien a 5-on-3 advantage for 22 seconds, but the Cardinals kept the game scoreless.
Nash made eight saves in the first period for Greenwich, which had a two-minute power play opportunity when Darien was charged with a tripping penalty at the 3:05 mark of the opening period.
Pfeifle made four first-period saves for Darien. Greenwich, which was led defensively by senior Nic Pelletier-Martinelli, senior Dylan Madden, Ryan Columbo (junior) and Andrew Frost (senior) opened a 3-0 lead with the Blue Wave on a power play.
Danielson blocked a Blue Wave pass in the Cards’ zone, skated all alone down the left wing and beat Pheifle to his glove side, making it 3-0 with 11:44 remaining in the final period.
After the Cardinals’ short-handed tally, Darien created several scoring opportunities, but Nash stood strong in goal, capping his shutout.
Darien’s record stands at 2-2 following the loss, while Greenwich, which plays Hamden Wednesday at Dorothy Hamill Skating Rink is 2-0-1.