WEST HAVEN — The Xavier hockey team arrived in West Haven 15 minutes prior to puck drop Wednesday evening. Turns out that was all the time the Falcons needed to get ready.
Behind two goals from Chase Maxwell, including the game-winner with 4 minutes, 58 seconds remaining in overtime, Xavier topped Notre Dame-West Haven 3-2 in a Division I contest at the Edward L. Bennett Rink.
“We played really well,” Xavier coach Kyle Heins said. “We ran three and a half lines today and six defensemen. We were rolling them out there today. We got here at 3:43 (P.M.) and the kids just got ready and did their thing. They really produced out there.”
— jennifer (@jennifermaxwell) February 7, 2019
With the game even at two, Xavier, ranked 10th in the GameTimeCT/Register Top 10 poll, took advantage of a Notre Dame turnover and watched as Maxwell raced the length of the ice past a Notre Dame defender, before ripping a shot past Notre Dame goaltender Connor Smith for the winner.
“I picked my head up and still had my feet moving, so I knew I needed a quick shot,” Maxwell said. “I saw low blocker and just ripped it.”
The goal by Maxwell overshadowed a great effort by the Green Knights in which they outshot Xavier 15-3 in the third period, but scored just once to even the game at two.
That goal, scored by Zachary Schroeder and assisted by Ian Hayden and Rory Andriole, came 59 seconds into the third and started a barrage of shots by the Green Knights. Xavier goaltender Jake Woznyk made 14 saves in the period, including a brilliant pad save on Thomas Hunt in the slot with 8:55 to go.
“Xavier is an excellent team,” Notre Dame cach Larry Vieira said. “I am happy with our performance in the second, third, and overtime. I thought we played a good game and had (a) good compete level, but we need to find a way to start games better. Overall, I am pleased. We are not happy we lost, but as we have been saying all year, we want to get better every practice, every game, and see where we are in March.”
The two teams went to the final period with the Falcons holding a 2-1 lead and limiting the Green Knights to just 10 shots over the first two periods.
Xavier (4-9-1) took a 1-0 lead in the opening period with 5:17 to go as the Falcons had the pressure on after a Notre Dame penalty expired. Maxwell stuffed in a loose puck in front off assists from Trevor Earley and Ryan Drust.
The Falcons limited Notre Dame (6-7-1) to just two shots in the first 15 minutes with the best coming from Thomas Ashmore, who backhanded a shot in front which was denied by Smith.
The second period was a little more wide open with Xavier holding a 9-8 shot advantage and the goals even at one apiece.
The Green Knights, ranked sixth in the Register poll, carried the play early in the period with Woznyk turning aside shots from Ashmore and Jack Luzzi in the first three minutes, before the Green Knights finally capitalized.
Set up by Michael Card and off pressure in front, John-Michael Childs picked up his own rebound and snuck a shot past Woznyk to even the game at one 3:08 into the middle period.
The Falcons controlled play over the next three minutes, but saw a shot by Earley turned away by Smith, and a shot by Tom Lynch ring off the post, and another by Nick LeClaire hit the crossbar 1:02 apart with 8:15 remaining.
Xavier finally capitalized on its pressure with 2:29 to go when Kevin Mooney set up Evan Pace in front for the go-ahead goal.
PLAYER OF THE GAME
Chase Maxwell. Xavier senior scored twice, including the game-winner in overtime.
“This is a huge win for us. Look at our schedule. It is one of the toughest in the state. We have played some tough teams. A win like this is big. We definitely needed this. It is nine points in the win column. These kids are resilient.”
— Xavier coach Kyle Heins
XAVIER 3, NOTRE DAME-WEST HAVEN 2 (OT)
XAVIER 1 1 0 1 – 3 (4-9-1)
NOTRE DAME 0 1 1 0 – 2 (6-7-1)
1st Period: X – Chase Maxwell (Trevor Earley, Ryan Drust) 5:17; 2nd Period: N – John-Michael Childs (Michael Card) 11:52; X – Evan Pace (Kevin Mooney) 2:29; 3rd Period: N – Zachary Schroeder (Ian Hayden, Rory Andriole) 14:01; Overtime: X – Chase Maxwell 4:58. Saves: X – Jake Woznyk – 24; N – Connor Smith 20; Shots: X – 23; N – 26. Team records: X 4-9-1; ND 6-7-1
Correction: A previous version of this story incorrectly identified the current Xavier hockey coach with the previous one. The coach is Nick Heins. It has been updated.