As Hamden learned Wednesday night, scoring early and often has been a trend the Greenwich High School boys ice hockey team has followed this season.
Ranked second in the state, the 4-0 Cardinals scored three goals during the first six minutes of the first period and tallied three more times the following period in its 7-0 victory over Hamden at Lou Astorino Rink.
Greenwich, which was coming off a 4-3 win over rival Darien at the outdoor Winter Classic at Greenwich Skating Club, received two goals and one assist from senior forward Alex Mozian and junior forward Matt Davey.
“It was a great performance, the team was hungry and came out hard,” Cardinals coach Chris Rurak said. “Everything went according to plan. We worked the puck deep and had some success with our forecheck.”
Mozian scored the only goal the Cardinals wound up needing 3 minutes, 55 seconds into the first period. Senior forward JT Lawrence and junior forward Sean Pratley each assisted on Mozian’s tally. After getting a pass from Pratley, Lawrence moved the puck to Mozian, who was positioned at the slot.
At the 5:10 mark of the opening period, senior forward Matt Baugher scored, giving GHS a 2-0 advantage. Davey and sophomore defensemen Ryan Columbo were each credited with assists on the goal. Less than one minute later, sophomore forward Nikita Kovalev converted a shot, making it 3-0. Baugher set Kovalev up for the goal.
“Working it down low and capitalizing on our opportunities the first six minutes set the stage for the game,” Rurak said. “Our kids are executing the game plan right away.”
Over their first four games of the season, the Cards have displayed their depth, with multiple players lighting the scoreboard and several more assisting on goals.
“To the delight of the coaching staff, we’re not just getting scoring from one or two players,” Rurak said. “Goals are coming across the board from different players. All three lines scored our first three goals. Having that type of depth is impressive.”
The Cardinals’ three-goal second period began with Davey scoring at the 5:57 mark, putting Hamden in a 4-0 hole.
Senior defenseman Connor Santry added a second-period goal and Davey tallied again, giving the visitors a commanding 6-0 lead. The teams were charged with eight penalties apiece in what was a physical matchup.
“We got into penalty trouble in the second period and we were down a lot, but we had some good penalty kills,” Rurak said.
Sophomore goalie Ben Nash got the shutout for the Cardinals, who play Norwalk-McMahon Monday at Dorothy Hamill Skating Rink.
“Nash played well, he came up with three humongous saves that really stood out, one of which was off a breakaway,” Rurak said. “He earned every part of that shutout. Defensively, we still have some work to do. They hit three crossbars, so they had some opportunities. We still have some work to do to contend for the FCIAC and state championships, but we are getting there.”