WEST HAVEN — One heartstopping stop may have earned Donald Moorcroft his Most Outstanding Player award Friday night, or to hear him tell it he’s one lucky goalie.
Considering the blocker save he made on a two-on-one against two of the top forwards in the state, one of 31 he made at Bennett Rink, we’ll figure he earned it. Moorcroft and Hamden shut out Fairfield Prep 1-0 in the SCC/SWC Division I championship game.
“I knew it was going to be a close one, but I didn’t expect it to be 1-0,” Moorcroft said. “I was expecting 3-2, 2-1, maybe overtime. It was a close one there at the end. Luckily the call was on our side.”
Fairfield Prep’s Calyb Reeves tucked the puck in with 20.1 seconds left, but after conferring with each other and with the goal judge, the officials said the net was off its moorings when the puck crossed the line.
The Green Dragons (13-8) killed off those last 20 seconds to win their second conference title game in three years.
“I thought they were the better team from start to finish,” said Fairfield Prep coach Matt Sather, whose team is 11-9-1 going into the CIAC Division I tournament, where they could meet the Green Dragons again in the quarterfinals next weekend.
“Todd (Hall, Hamden’s coach) had them ready to go; always does. We had a hard time generating any pace. We had a hard time moving the puck through the neutral zone.”
It might’ve been one of Moorcroft’s best games at a key time.
“Full (game)? Absolutely. He was focused the whole game,” Hall said.
Midway through the second period, Colin Bella came at Moorcroft on a two-on-one with Reeves. Bella got the puck across to the left, and Moorcroft got across, too, to deflect the puck out of play.
“They’re terrific players. I just got a piece of it with my blocker. I guess you could say I’m a little lucky on that one,” Moorcroft said.
“I’ve known those kids for a while now, played around them, played with them. I guess I could say I got lucky.”
Hamden took a lead about four minutes later on Conor Gethings’ one-timer off a pass from Craig Cesare.
Cesare, who suffered a neck stinger in a Jan. 2 game at Greenwich, was injured on the next shift on a check into the boards, and he was ultimately taken off on a stretcher.
Hall didn’t have an immediate update after the game but believed most of the treatment was precautionary. He said some players had already made contact with Cesare by phone after the game and was hopeful that was a good sign.
“The fact that he has a recent history of it this year, they wanted to do everything by the book,” Hall said.
Jesuits goalie Jake Walker just about matched Moorcroft, making 32 saves. A glove save on Jack Shane about five minutes into the third and a stop on A.J. Luedee, open in the slot two minutes later, gave the Jesuits a chance. A goal peg went against them late.
“You lose a championship game, you’re always worried about making sure you get momentum back,” Sather said. “You don’t want to lose your last game going into states, but it’s a new season.”
PLAYER OF THE GAME
Donald Moorcroft shut out the Jesuits on 31 saves.
“This was a hard-fought game at both ends. Both goalies played excellent. Both defenses played excellent.” —Hamden coach Todd Hall.