BRIDGEPORT >> The Hamden boys hockey team had been through a tough stretch of games entering Saturday’s meeting with SCC-SWC Division I rival Fairfield Prep.
The Green Dragons were 2-3 over their last five games, including two losses in a row. The team’s goal against the Jesuits was to play hard from the drop of the puck until the final second ticked off the clock in the third period. The intensity paid off in the third period with two unanswered goals.
Tyler Webb had two goals and an assist, including the team’s third goal 36 seconds into the third period, and Jon Hiebert added a power-play goal at 9:10 of the third period to lead No. 7 Hamden to a 4-2 win over No. 6 Fairfield Prep at the Wonderland of Ice.
Both goalies made spectacular saves throughout with Hamden’s Steven Turner finishing with 32 saves and Fairfield Prep’s Chris Liga with 24.
“We had a goal today, we wanted to play hard all three periods,” Hamden coach Todd Hall said. “Everybody contributed the entire game, from the players who skated only one shift in the game to the players who skated 10-15 shifts in the game.
“Prep was very aggressive on their penalty killing and made it tough for us to get anything going when we were on the power play. But Tyler Webb made some great plays for us and Steven Turner made some huge saves. That quick goal by Tyler in the third period was a turning point and gave us some momentum. This was a big win for us.”
Both teams are now 6-4 overall, 2-1 SCC-SWC Division I. The Jesuits entered the game 3-1 in their last four games.
“You could tell the difference in the emotion between our two teams from the first puck drop,” Fairfield Prep coach Matt Sather said. “They were fighting on every play and we were resting on our laurels. We had a tough time matching their intensity. They stepped it up and when we tried to get at them we usually ended up in the penalty box.
“You have to give credit to coach Hall the way his team constantly went after the puck.”
Skyler Celotto gave the Jesuits a 1-0 lead off a rebound at 8:18 of the first period. The Green Dragons answered a little less than three minutes later when Jake Blackwell tied the game at 1 off a shot about 10 feet in front of the net at 11:15.
The teams traded goals again in the second period when Webb scored at 4:41 for a Hamden 2-1 lead. Joe Mancini tied the game at 2 for the Jesuits at 6:30.
The Green Dragons controlled the puck off the center-ice face off to start the third period. Deep in the Prep zone, Blackwell dug the puck out of the right corner and sent it to Webb in front right post. Webb wristed a shot inside the right post for a 3-2 Hamden lead at 14:24 of the period.
“That quick goal really shifted the momentum on our side,” Webb said. “We could feel the momentum change on the ice. Jake Blackwell was in the corner with the puck. When I got it I aimed for the right post. It went just inside the post.
“This is a big win against a very good Prep team. Hopefully this win will be a jump start for us for the rest of the season.”
The Jesuits never recovered from the quick goal and had to kill off four penalties the rest of the game. Hamden took advantage of one of the penalties with Hiebert getting an insurance goal with 5:50 to go in the game.
Hamden 4, Fairfield Prep 2
Hamden 1 1 2 – 4
Fairfield Prep 1 1 0 – 2
First period- FP: Skyler Celotto (Kevin Oricoli, Devin Blanchette) 8:18; HA: Jake Blackwell (Raif Harris, James Smyth) 11:15; Second period- HA: Tyler Webb (Jake Blackwell) 4:41; FP: Joe Mancini (Skyler Celotto, Carter Kral) 6:30; Third period- HA: Tyler Webb :36; John Hiebert (Jake Blackwell, Tyler Webb) 9:10; Shots- HA: 28; FP: 34; Saves- HA: Steven Turner 32; FP: Chris Liga 24.
Records- Fairfield Prep 6-4 (2-1 SCC-SWC Division I); Hamden 6-4 (2-1).