WEST HAVEN — Notre Dame-West Haven coach Larry Vieira feels his team is a resilient group. Playing in their share of close games, the Green Knights have found ways to win.
Thursday evening was another example.
Scoring twice in the final 2 minutes, 12 seconds of the second period, Notre Dame defeated Greenwich 4-1 in a Division I contest at the Edward L. Bennett Rink in West Haven.
“I have a very resilient team,” Vieira said. “Most of our games have either been decided in the third period or overtime. We have come from behind to win games. We rather not be in those positions to come from behind, but we have been in those situations and know how to win those games.”
Notre Dame, ranked fifth in the GameTimeCT/Register Top 10 poll, did not need any comeback against the Cardinals. Instead, goals by Charles Andriole and Jack Luzzi propelled the team to its sixth victory of the season.
After Notre Dame goaltender Connor Smith denied Matt Davey from the slot with a pad save less than a minute in and turned aside Andrew Frost from the left wing with seven minutes to go in the middle period, the Cardinals finally got the equalizer.
Taking a perfect pass from Wesly Zolin, Davey snapped a shot past Smith to even the game at one with 6:47 remaining in the middle period.
“We did not play bad,” Greenwich coach Chris Rurak said. “This year, we have not had the bounces with the shots so far. I thought we outplayed them and we got the shots, but they hit the goalie’s face or did not go our way.”
The Green Knights (6-5-1) made sure the tie did not last long as Notre Dame scored twice in the final 2:12 to take a 3-1 lead.
Andriole got things going for the Green Knights when he took a perfect pass from Ian Hayden and roofed a shot past Greenwich goalie Charles Zolin, with Thomas Hunt also picking up an assist.
Notre Dame continued the pressure and that would pay off when John-Michael Childs fed Luzzi, who skated to the slot area and beat Zolin between the pads with 51.4 seconds left in the middle period.
“He (Luzzi) has scored some clutch goals for us this year,” Vieira said. “That is the type of player he is. He does a lot of good things for us.”
The Cardinals (5-7-2) had opportunities to get back in the game in the third period, but Smith was up to the challenge, making 12 saves in the final period.
Smith denied Charlie Graves on a breakaway 4:56 in, made a stick save on a blast by Davey with 9:15 left, and made a pad save on a point shot by Andrew Frost with 5:10 to go.
“We were able to keep the front clear for me to see all the shots,” Smith said. “I had a clear path to see. My team did a really god job in front of me.”
Smith capped the game by denying Thatcher Danielson in front with 4:34 left, and denied Ryan Columbo in front with two minutes to go.
Notre Dame scored the lone goal of the opening period, capitalizing on its only power play opportunity of the stanza.
Taking a pass from Zach Schroeder, Hayden deked in front and beat Zolin for a 1-0 lead 4:21 into the contest.
Greenwich had six shots on goal in the opening period which were all turned aside by Smith. The best opportunity for the Cardinals came with 2:50 to go in the opening period as Jake Shredders went the length of the ice before being turned aside by Smith.
PLAYER OF THE GAME
Connor Smith — Notre Dame sophomore goalie made 28 saves, including 12 in the final period.
“We are 6-5-1 and we have not played an easy team on our schedule yet this year. I am very happy where we are. We are getting better each game.”
— Notre Dame coach Larry Vieira
Notre Dame-West Haven 4, Greenwich 1
Greenwich0 1 0 – 1
Notre Dame-WH1 2 1 – 4
First Period: N – Ian Hayden (Zach Schroeder) 10:39; Second Period: G – Matt Davey (Wesly Zolin) 6:47; N – Charles Andriole (Ian Hayden, Thomas Hunt) 2:12; N – Jack Luzzi (John-Michael Childs) 0:51; Third Period: N — Jack Luzzi (Connor Smith) 0:15.7; Saves: G — Charles Zolin — 28; N — Connor Smith — 28; Shots: Greenwich 32-29
Records: Greenwich 5-7-2; Notre Dame-WH 6-5-1