WEST HAVEN — The impressive start to the season continues for the Hamden boys hockey team, which lost 14 players from last season through a combination of graduation and prep school.
On Saturday, Mike Gethings had two goals and two assists and Steven Turner had 37 saves to lead No. 8 Hamden to a 7-3 SCC/SWC Division I win over No. 2 Notre Dame-West Haven at Bennett Rink. The jam-packed crowd was estimated at about 700 by rink manager Chris Everone.
The Green Dragons improve to 3-0 following early-season wins over FCIAC powers No. 7 Darien (6-4 victory) and No. 5 New Canaan (12-6 win).
Hamden scored four straight goals in the first period and the Green Knights (2-1) never recovered.
“Heading into this season, with all our losses from last season, I didn’t know what to expect,” Hamden coach Todd Hall said. “We lost most of our top scorers except for Mike Gethings. We had one returning defenseman (Alexander Hernandez) and our goalie (Turner) returned.
“I know it’s a cliche but we’ve really been taking it just one game at a time. Everyone on the team has been stepping up and contributing. But the key to the success in our first three games is we have been able to respond when the other team scores.”
In the first period, Chris Hibson gave the Green Knights a 1-0 lead 38 seconds into the game. But then it was all Hamden the rest of the period with four unanswered goals including two power-play goals.
A.J. Luedee scored his first goal of the period at 1:23 to tie the game at 1 for the Green Dragons.
With Notre Dame’s Tom Ashmore serving a cross-check penalty, Conor Gethings scored on the power play to give Hamden its first lead at 2-1.
Luedee scored his second goal on a power-play opportunity to give Hamden a 3-1 lead at 7:30. Mike Gethings made it 4-1 Hamden at 10:49.
“Scoring those four unanswered goals gave us some momentum, we could feel it,” Mike Gethings said. “But we gave it back to them in the second period when we didn’t take as many shots or play with the same intensity. We came back and executed a lot better in the third period.
“This good start is great, but like our coach says, you don’t win championships in December.”
It was a different story in the second period with defense taking over on both sides and ND coming away with the only goal of the period.
Notre Dame’s Kyle Stober provided the only scoring in the second period off a shot from the right wing. Stober cut the Hamden lead to 4-2 at 13:33.
The Green Dragons scored the first two goals of the third period with goals from Mike Gethings at 3:28 and Craig Cesare at 5:25 for a 6-2 lead and they cruised the rest of the way.
“Those four unanswered goals put us back on our heels,” Notre Dame coach Time Belcher said. “But the key for us is we didn’t win the battles around the boards and they beat us to every puck. In the second period we got a late goal to cut it to 4-2. If we scored first in the third to make it 3-2 that might have changed things.
“But give them credit. They came out in the third period and scored first and took control.”