Though the regular season is rapidly coming to a close, the Greenwich boys hockey team is still searching for the type of consistency that will help them contend for postseason titles.
The Cardinals, who have made several changes in the hope of creating a spark, might have took a step in the right direction Thursday night.
Freshman forward Wesley Zolin scored two goals, while his brother Charlie Zolin, a goalie, made 16 saves for his first career win in Greenwich’s 6-0 victory against Staples at Dorothy Hamill Skating Rink.
Greenwich sports a record of 7-8-2 overall, but stands in first place in the FCIAC West Division with a 5-3-1 mark. Overall, the Cardinals are in fourth place in the FCIAC and in good position to qualify for the six-team conference tournament.
Five players tallied goals for Greenwich in their workmanlike victory over Staples (5-9).
“We needed something different, obviously what we were doing wasn’t working, so we changed up everything,” GHS coach Chris Rurak said. We changed up lines, defensive pairings — we kept trying the same thing and forced the issue and we fell short, so we’re trying some different things.”
Charlie Zolin, a backup goalie for most of the season, got the start between the pipes and earned his first shutout, and win.
“It felt normal, I played calm and the defense kept it easy,” Zolin said. “Sixteen shots is not too bad. The defensemen were the major key of my success today, they played really good.”
The Cardinals freshman goalie got a good look at most of the shots coming his way.
“There was not really too much traffic in front of the net and when there was, the defensemen cleared them out.”
The Wreckers had several chances to tally in the closing minutes with forward Zach Strober putting the pressure on during a power play. But Zolin kept his shutout.
“I was like, I can’t let one in,” he said. “I tried to stay focused and calm and did whatever I could to keep playing well.”
Senior forwards Matt Davey and Charlie Graves each registered four assists for Greenwich, which tallied twice in the first period and three times in the second.
Senior forward Beau Getz started the scoring 20 seconds into the first period. Freshman defenseman Aidan Price converted a shot at the 10:19 mark of the opening period, with Davey and sophomore forward Jake Shredders assisting on the tally.’
“I feel like we all worked well together, all the lines worked well, we had good team chemistry,” Getz said. “I started out on a line with Charlie (Graves) and Andrew Frost and we connected well.”
Senior forwards Sean Pratley and James Eschricht got the puck past Staples senior goalie Dylan Mace in the third period, as did Wesley Zolin, who also scored in the final period.
“Today’s effort was better,” Rurak said. “The guys we are counting on in big games, we need them to find their groove going into FCIACs and states, because they’re coming up.”
Thursday’s night’s performance was a welcome sight to the Cardinals’ coaching staff after the team suffered a 6-1 defeat against New Canaan in their previous game.
“The New Canaan game was indicative of our season,” Rurak said. “We came out and just crushed it the first period. Then our second period, which has been our worst period, hurt us. It’s really about our kids getting mentally focused for the whole game. If we just stay mentally engaged for a full 45 minutes, we’ll play good hockey. We’ve seen glimpses of it.”
Said Getz: In tonight’s (Thursday’s) game, we played well for all three periods. We got the puck deep and got bodies on the puck.”
Greenwich will take a day trip to Providence, R.I., for a non-conference matchup against LaSalle Academy on Saturday, then will visit St. Joseph Wednesday.
“Hopefully, we’ll have a good showing against LaSalle and then finish up strong against St. Joseph and Darien, before heading into the playoffs.”