HAMDEN — Rhode Island’s storied schoolboy hockey program threatened to sweep Hamden right out of its own rink Wednesday night in the second period, holding the Green Dragons to one shot while taking a lead.
The home team settled down, got an early third-period goal from captain A.J. Luedee and another late on a breakaway and beat Mount St. Charles 3-2 at Astorino Arena.
“The second period was really rough,” Luedee said, and only goalie Donald Moorcroft, making 10 of his 25 saves in the period, kept the damage in check.
“We were playing frustrated in the second period. We decided to calm down, regroup and rethink our strategy going to the third period and simply play our game.”
Luedee scored off an offensive-zone faceoff 1:24 into the third to tie it, then scored on a breakaway with 3:34 to go off Michael Gethings’ stretch pass that bounced off a defender.
“We had guys in the right position, which helped,” Hamden coach Todd Hall said.
“You earn your bounces. The way we cleared the puck on that particular breakaway goal to A.J., A.J. holding his position wide, just swept in behind the kid, it bounced over him: We deserved that bounce, and then A.J. made a great move on the breakaway.”
The Mounties came with tons of pressure in the final minute with goalie Ryan Forget pulled for a sixth attacker, but No. 4 Hamden (6-4) held them away from rebounds, cleared the puck when they could and blocked shots. Luedee blocked the last in the closing seconds.
“Positionally (we) were holding their position six-on-five. It was nice to see,” Hall said.
“Of course as a coach you want that type of intensity, that type of focus all game. Hopefully we can take that, bottle it somehow or, at least, most of it, and start like that the next game (Friday at Simsbury). We’ll see.”
Hamden opened the scoring in the first when Bryce Riccitelli put away a rebound after Gethings beat a defender and put a shot off Forget’s right pad.
Alexander Pratt tied it 2:12 into the second period, and Michael Canavan stole the puck to score short-handed with 58.6 seconds left in the second and give Mount St. Charles a 2-1 lead.
“It’s always nice to come down here. We learn from our adventures down here, or when they come up,” said Mount co-coach Dave Belisle, whose team was missing several players to injury or illness.
“The kids that were out there definitely learned something: You can’t play one and three-quarter periods. They got what they deserved, Hamden.”
PLAYER OF THE GAME
Hamden goalie Donald Moorcroft made 25 saves to earn the win.
COUPLE OF CHANGES
Hamden tweaked its lines a bit from recent games, swapping Luedee and Riccitelli. Hall said they’d considered making some changes before beating Greenwich 8-3, but then didn’t want to mess with things after, you know, beating Greenwich 8-3. It made more sense after Saturday’s 6-1 loss to No. 1 Ridgefield.
“What’s good to know is what you had, what you have now, and what you could possibly go back to,” Hall said.
“You know combinations have worked, but if you don’t really change until the end, you don’t know what will work.”
“We’ve learned that we can play with anyone in the state. That’s the best team in Rhode Island, a historic team, too. Though we lost to Ridgefield, I feel like we can continue on and move forward with our game.” — Hamden captain A.J. Luedee
HAMDEN 3, MOUNT ST. CHARLES (R.I.) 2
MOUNT ST. CHARLES 0 2 0—2
HAMDEN 1 0 2—3
Records: Mount St. Charles 7-5; Hamden 6-4. Goals: MSC—Alexander Pratt, Michael Canavan; H—A.J. Luedee 2, Bryce Riccitelli. Assists: MSC—Trey Bourque; H—Michael Gethings 2, Tyler Routh. Goalies: MSC—Ryan Forget (15 saves); H—Donald Moorcroft (25). Shots: MSC—27; H—18.