GREENWICH — A three-goal first period put Hamden in prime position to start the new year with a win against Greenwich on Wednesday.
A four-goal second period put the Green Dragons in an even better situation.
Sparked by a four-goal performance from senior forward Michael Gethings, No. 6 Hamden upended second-ranked Greenwich, 8-3, at Dorothy Hamill Skating Rink.
Senior forward Tyler Routh tallied twice, while senior forward AJ Luedee assisted on five goals for Hamden (5-3). Hamden, which moved the puck well, effectively crashed the net and efficiently got down the ice, received 26 saves from senior goalie Donald Moorcroft.
“We haven’t played our best hockey yet and this week, our whole focus was to put it together,” Gethings said. “That was the closest thing to a complete game we had all year. Everyone contributed and did their job started from the D-zone out.”
Greenwich (2-1-1), which was coming off a victory against rival Darien in Saturday’s Winter Classic at Greenwich Skating Club, received goals from Jake Shreders, Sean Pratley and Julian Ribushofski.
“We were really flat in the first period,” said Pratley, a senior forward. “We weren’t talking, we weren’t running systems and we just had some mental lapses.”
It didn’t take long for Hamden to tally. The Green Dragons scored the game’s first goal 1:23 into the opening period.
A shot from Hamden’s Matthew Herrmann banged off the boards behind the net and settled near the stick of Routh, who snapped a shot from just below the right faceoff circle past GHS junior goalie Ben Nash.
Greenwich quickly responded. With the Green Dragons on a power play following a Cardinals penalty, Shredders broke loose on an odd-man rush, finishing a 2-on-1 with a wrister with 10:49 to go in the first period.
The visitors claimed a 2-1 advantage with 1:43 remaining in the first period. With Hamden putting a lot of traffic in front of the net, Gethings, a left wing, knocked in a rebound in front, making it 2-1.
“Michael had a great game, he put himself in the right position to score,” Hamden coach Todd Hall said. “About 97 percent of this game is playing without the puck and putting yourself in position to score.”
Hamden ended the first period with a 3-1 lead after senior Eddy Fracasso quickly gathered a pass and converted a shot from the right wing with 23.4 seconds left in the period.
The second period began with the Green Dragons building on their momentum. Routh’s goal at the 10:37 mark of the third period put Greenwich in a 4-1 hole.
Gethings then tallied on a one-timer off a pass from Luedee, putting Hamden in front, 5-1, with 4:21 to go in the second period.
“We hadn’t played a good 45 minutes yet, so we felt like after those first two periods we couldn’t let up,” Luedee said. “Greenwich is one of of the top teams in the state, so we they weren’t going to let up either. This will help us gain momentum into future games.”
The Cardinals cut Hamden’s lead to 5-2 when Ribushofski controlled the puck deep in the Green Dragons’ zone, skated in and went top shelf from the left wing with 3:22 still left in the second stanza.
Eight seconds into a power play Hamden tallied, with Gethings lighting the lamp. His one-timer with 44.9 seconds left in the second period gave his squad a 7-2 cushion.
“They played well and we were a little sloppy on defensive zone,” GHS coach Chris Rurak said. “They were bringing two, three guys with pressure and we got a little flustered. then we lost our defensive zone coverage. It’s good to be humbled and I think this is a good wake-up call for our kids.”
Nash made 18 saves over the first two periods, while Dylan Dreher stopped 13 shots in the third period for Greenwich.
“Four or five of their goals were guys on the backdoor shooting puck on the net,” Rurak said. You can’t blame the goaltender on those. There were just some breakdowns. All of the pucks were going from the corner to the backdoor.”
Hamden sophomore forward Craig Cesare left the game during the third period after being checked into the boards. He walked off the ice with the assistance of a trainer and EMT, who was on site, and transported to Greenwich Hospital.
PLAYERS OF THE GAME
Gethings sparked Hamden from the spark with his big offensive game. Moorcroft was solid in the net, registering 14 saves during the second period.
“Donald is solid he made the saves he needed to make and we did a good job of keeping that puck away from our net,” Hall said.
“It’s an eye-opener for us, so we have to keep grinding at practice and get to where we need to be,” Pratley said.
HAMDEN 8, GREENWICH 3
HAMDEN 3 4 1 — 8
GREENWICH 1 1 1 — 3
Records: Hamden 5-3; Greenwich 2-1-1; Goals: H — Michael Gethings 4, Tyler Routh 2, Jack Dolan, Eddy Fracasso; G — Jake Shreders, Julian Ribushofski, Sean Pratley; Assists: H — AJ Luedee 5, Fracasso 3, Matthew Herrmann, Jack Shane, Benjamin Chicoine; G — Ribushofski; Goalies: H — Donald Moorcroft (26 saves); G — Ben Nash (18 saves), Dylan Dreher (13 saves).