WEST HAVEN – Following a season-opening loss, Simsbury coach Chris Day was looking for his team to be a loose bunch entering the team’s second game of the season. When the Trojans endured a nearly two-hour bus ride to get to Wednesday evening’s game against Notre Dame-West Haven and came away smiling, Day had a hunch good things were about to happen.
The Simsbury coach was right as senior Riley Chapman scored three goals, and fellow senior Jacob Magaw added a goal and three assists as the Trojans topped the Green Knights 6-3 in a Division I contest at the Edward L. Bennett Rink.
“This is a good group of returning seniors,” Day said after his team improved to 1-1. “We will be led by the guys with the experience. We are looking for those guys to keep everyone loose. We had a bus ride of nearly two hours and we came out of that smiling.”
Chapman and Magaw helped Simsbury earn its first win of the year as both were involved in all three Simsbuy goals in the third period.
Magaw set up Charles Driscoll’s goal from the point 2:28 into the period for a 4-2 Simsbury lead, and after Ian Hayden brought the Green Knights within 4-3 with 6:30 to go, Magaw blasted a rocket through a screen past Notre Dame goaltender Liam Connell for a 5-3 advantage with 1:15 to go.
Chapman iced the game and picked up the hat trick for good measure with 39 seconds left in the game for the 6-3 final.
“This is a huge win for us,” Chapman said. “We definitely wanted to come out strong today. We wanted to put as many shots on net as possible and keep the pressure on. We were able to do that.”
For the Green Knights, it was a case of not taking advantage of their opportunities with 31 shots, and taking too many penalties as the Trojans scored on three of four power play chances in the game.
“The penalties hurt us,” Notre Dame coach Tim Belcher said after his team dropped to 0-2 on the season. “We got outworked and outplayed tonight. It does not matter who you play. If you take that many penalties, good teams are going to capitalize. Simsbury earned this win tonight. They worked hard and skated hard.”
The teams entered the third period with the Trojans holding a 3-2 lead after both teams exchanged a pair of goals in the middle period. The Green Knights had the better of the play in the middle period and held a 13-8 shot advantage, but trailed by one goal when the period concluded.
Trailing 1-0, the Green Knights peppered Simsbury goaltender Andrew Marquis early in the second and that pressure paid off when junior Clayton Coassin poked in a loose puck just 3:05 in. The tying goal by Coassin was his first career varsity goal and was assisted by Zack Dumas and Hayden.
Simsbury never let the Green Knights take the lead in the period as it used a sharp shot by Driscoll to take a 2-1 lead. Just five seconds into a power play, Magaw won the draw, fed Driscoll at the point and Driscoll’s shot trickled by Connell with 8:25 to go in the second period.
The Green Knights, ranked third in the Register/GameTimeCT Top 10 poll, again came back, putting pressure on in front. Vin Paolillo was in the right spot to poke in a loose puck off assists from Matt Ciaburro and Greg Caturano with 4:33 left in the second.
The tie was short-lived for the Green Knights as Simsbury took advantage of Notre Dame pressure and went the other way on a two-on-one rush. Skylar Hewes waited just long enough, then fed Chapman, who had nothing but an open net to shoot at with 1:10 left in the period for a 3-2 Simsbury lead.
“We know they are a good team every year,” Chapman said of Notre Dame. “They are a very skilled team. We were able to put the pressure on and capitalize.”
The Green Knights dominated a majority of the opening period, but it was Simsbury who came away with a 1-0 lead after 15 minutes of play.
While on the power play. Simsbury’s Chapman intercepted a Notre Dame pass and quickly beat Connell for a 1-0 advanatge with 3:40 left in the opening period.
The period saw the Green Knights come away empty on three power play opportunities, despite taking nine shots. Marquis was up to the task, denying Paolillo twice in close less than three minutes in, then following up by denying a point shot by Caturano and the rebound by Ciaburro with 8:45 left in the first period.
“We have two senior goaltenders in Drew Marquis and George Matteo,” Day said. “Both guys are working hard in practice. I like what I see. They are competing.”
Connell finished with 18 saves in the loss for the Green Knights.