BRIDGEPORT — The theme Saturday at the Wonderland of Ice was obvious, at least to Fairfield Prep coach Matt Sather.
“It was all about corners being turned,” Sather said after the Jesuits started the second half of the season with a 4-2 victory over Hamden.
But there was more to the coach’s feeling besides being the 11th game in a 20-game regular season. Prep (5-6, 4-0 SCC) had lost five of six games decided by two goals or less this season (0-3 in OT).
“We have been tied so many times this season and then lost the next goal,” Sather said.
And that corner was turned Saturday as well when Chandler Dumont banged in a rebound on the power play for what proved to be the game-winner with 8:44 remaining in the third period to break a 2-all tie.
“We’ve been in this position before,” Dumont said. “But this time we finally finished it off.”
Hamden (7-6, 2-1), the defending SCC champions, was hoping the Jesuits were headed for a similar fate Saturday. Prep, the defending D1 state champs, clearly had the better of play in the second period but Hamden used a short-handed goal by AJ Luedee to negate Mason Whitney’s breakaway earlier. So instead of the Jesuits being in control heading to the final 15 minutes, the Green Dragons were all even with them.
“We weathered the storm and I thought we were in a good position,” Hamden coach Todd Hall said. “But then they sneaked that third goal in.”
Prep scored five minutes into the game when Matt Wenger tapped in a pass by Anthony Clericuzio. But Hamden got even on Luedee’s power play goal late in the period.
Whitney was then in the right place at the right time when he controlled a deflection outside the Hamden blue line and swoop in alone on Hamden goalie Don Moorcroft (24 saves) for a 2-1 Prep lead early in the second period.
“They got the right bounce but the old saying is that you earn your bounces,” Hall said.
Luedee’s second goal against Prep goalie Jake Walker (19 saves), while the Jesuits were on the power play, tied it with 1:33 remaining in the period.
Prep was now in a familiar spot. But Dumont saw to it that it the result would be different this time.
“Calyb (Reeves) shot it and I just crashed the net,” Dumont said. “I score a lot of goals off the rebound so I was ready.”
Three minutes later Reeves knocked in a rebound for a 4-2 Prep lead.
So, the Jesuits managed to finally win a close one, moved to within one game of .500 for the first time since they were 1-2, and opened the second half of the season on a high note.
The Jesuits may have finally turned the corner.
STAR OF THE GAME
The Jesuits had four different scorers and goalie Jake Walker turned aside 19 shots, but Chandler Dumont’s third-period power play goal proved to be the game-winner.
“We had to prove we can win one of these games. We’ve been knocking on the door but haven’t broken through. Now it looks like we’re getting better.” — Prep coach Matt Sather
FAIRFIELD PREP 4, HAMDEN 2
HAMDEN 1 1 0—2
FAIRFIELD PREP 1 1 2—4
Goals: H — AJ Luedee 2. FP — Matt Wenger, Mason Whitney, Chandler Dumont, Calyb Reeves. Assists: H — Eddy Fracasso. FP — Anthony Clericuzio, Jack Esse, Reeves, Dumont, Colin Bella. Goalie saves: H — Don Moorcroft 24. FP — Jake Walker 19.
Records: H 7-6, 2-1 SCC; FP 5-6, 4-0