Nash helps Greenwich get past Ridgefield, 2-1
He used his head. He used his hands. He used everything he had at his disposal to get the job done Tuesday for Greenwich’s boys hockey team.
Senior co-captain Ben Nash made big saves all afternoon at Hamill Rink, including a couple in the third period that he’d put with any he has ever made, in the Cardinals’ 2-1 win over Ridgefield.
The most memorable denial came with nine and a half minutes left, preserving the lead. Nash made one stop on Will Stewart’s one-timer. Stewart quickly centered to Kees van Wees, but Nash reached out to his left to glove the shot.
“That one in the third period that came off my pad, and then I made the glove save in front: That was one of the best saves of my career,” Nash said. “That was a big one.”
Nash had earlier stopped Stewart with his helmet on the rush in the second period.
“Two-on-one down low ... I just kind of threw my body at it,” Nash said, “and luckily my head was there and nothing else.”
The Cardinals (9-5-1, 6-0 FCIAC) have won eight in a row in-state. An 0-1-1 weekend in Rhode Island against LaSalle Academy and Bishop Hendricken interrupted that run, part of five games in seven days that left Greenwich banged up — four regulars sat out Tuesday, so a few players had to step into bigger roles.
“(The trip) was good team bonding, good chemistry,” Greenwich coach Chris Rurak said.
“We’re a little dinged up right now. Some guys are out of the lineup who would normally be key contributors. But we played (a quarter) of the season in the last seven days, and we came out all right. I think it just made us better.”
Sophomore winger Ivan Kovalev scored both goals for Greenwich, the second on a power play 52 seconds into the third period to reclaim the lead.
Stewart tied the game for the Tigers on an assist from van Wees with 4:35 left in the first period, but coach Shaun Gallagher didn’t like the start for his Tigers (8-5, 5-2).
“They were much more energetic, winning a majority of the 50-50 pucks. We can’t start like that,” Gallagher said. “We have an emphasis on playing three full periods of hockey, and tonight, we definitely did not show up for the first.”
The Tigers came on in the second, getting in on the forecheck, winning some battles. Some of those little victories didn’t even turn into a shot, though, and Nash was there for those that did.
Kovalev opened the scoring 3:26 into the game, stealing the puck from a defenseman in the Ridgefield zone and slipping home a backhander.
Ridgefield has still allowed two goals or fewer in every game but one, and in that other game it allowed three. In all five losses, though, the Tigers haven’t even scored two goals.
“I know we’re close,” Gallagher said. “Even if it’s not a goal as a result of a play, we’re starting to generate good chances. I think it’s a matter of time, but it’s really going to be up to the group to decide to give that extra half-notch of effort, to finish second chances and finish some of the pucks in the dirty areas.”