NEW HAVEN — The Xavier boys hockey team has had a long tradition of success and winning seasons. But the Falcons have never reached the CIAC Division I championship game.
And they will have to continue to wait.
Matthew Davey scored at 2:18 of sudden-death overtime to complete a comeback from two goals down and lead No. 2 Greenwich to a 3-2 win over No. 3 Xavier in the Division I tournament semifinals at Ingalls Rink on Wednesday.
Greenwich (21-3) advances to its fifth Division I final, coming away with the D-I title in 1992. The Cardinals will face the Fairfield Prep/Ridgefield semifinal winner in the final at Ingalls Rink on Saturday at 2 p.m.
“I had the open shot and I just took it,” Davey said. “I actually faked a pass and that’s when I got open. I wasn’t sure when I hit it that it was going in but it felt great when it did. This is really huge for our program to get back to the final.”
Greenwich’s Alex Mozian sent the game into overtime, scoring off a shot at the bottom of the left circle to tie the game at 2 with 1:19 to go in regulation.
“We were behind 2-0, but there was no panic,” Greenwich coach Chris Rurak said. “In the third period we controlled the play. The big thing was we needed to start getting the pucks on goal.
“We got a big goal from Alex Mozian to tie the game and send it into overtime. At that point we had the momentum going into the overtime and Matt came up with another big goal for us.”
In the first period, Greenwich outshot Xavier 9-8 but the Falcons made one shot count for a 1-0 lead at the first intermission.
Anthony DiPreta took three shots on goal the first 10 minutes of the period. But his fourth shot on goal broke the scoreless tie.
DiPreta took a pass from Jack Healy near the red line and bolted down the right wing. DiPreta let a rising slap shot go from the top of the right circle that flew past goalie Ben Nash into the left corner of the net for the 1-0 lead at 12:26 of the first period.
The Cardinals had plenty of chances to score in the first period, but goalie Tyler Beaulieu came up with the nine saves he needed to keep the Cardinals off the scoreboard.
Mozian had one of Greenwich’s best chances to score. He broke down the right wing and had a wide-open shot in front of the right post. But Beaulieu made the stick save at 8:30 .
The Cardinals also had a power-play opportunity late in the period, but Beaulieu made the saves on the two shots they had with the man advantage.
Early in the second period, the Falcons provided the Cardinals with another man-advantage opportunity with Kevin Lynch serving an interference penalty at 2:28. But Xavier’s Aden Hotchkiss took advantage of a defensive mistake by Greenwich.
Hotchkiss grabbed a loose puck at the Xavier blue line and bolted all alone toward Greenwich goalie Ben Nash. Hotchkiss one-timed a shot about eight feet in front of the net and scored a shorthanded goal to give Xavier a 2-0 lead at 4:08 of the second period.
The Cardinals kept producing opportunities and one shot finally got by Beaulieu.
William Baugher took a hard slap shot inside the right circle. The puck bounced off Beaulieu’s glove and into the net and Baugher cut the Xavier lead to 2-1 at 7:06.
Both sides had their chances in the third period. But with 1:30 to go Greenwich coach Chris Rurak pulled Nash for a 6-on-5 advantage and it paid off with Mozian’s tying goal.
Nash ended up with 29 saves and Beaulieu had 32.
“The goal that tied it gave them all the momentum going into the OT,” Xavier coach Dan Deconti said. “They had all the momentum. We’ve had a lot of success. We just have to find a way to get over that hump and get into the final.”
GREENWICH 3, XAVIER 2 (OT)
(at New Haven)
XAVIER 1 1 0 0—2
GREENWICH 0 1 1 1—3
First period: X-Anthony DiPreta (Jack Healy) 12:26; Second period: X-Aden Hotchkiss (unassisted) 4:08; G-William Baugher (Nick Pelletier-Martinelli, Nikita Kovalev) 7:06; Third period: G-Alex Mozian (unassisted) 13:41; OT: G-Matthew Davey (unassisted) 2:18. Shots: G 34; X 31. Saves G Ben Nash 29; X Tyler Beaulieu 32. Records: G 22-3; X 15-8.