Special teams lift Ridgefield past Hamden
Special teams took center stage on Saturday night at the Winter Garden as the Ridgefield boys hockey team scored two power-play goals in the third period to pull away for a 4-1 non-conference win over Hamden.
“It was great to get a couple power play goals,” Ridgefield forward Will Stewart said.
Stewart scored the first one early in the third and Kevin McNicholas iced the game with less than a minute to go.
“Unfortunately, most of our guys that play shorthanded [also] play power play, play regular shifts,” Hamden coach Todd Hall said. “When something like that occurs, you’re really driving your guys into the ice.”
The teams combined for 13 penalties: seven for Ridgefield and six for Hamden.
Ridgefield’s penalty kill allowed just one goal — from Bryce Riccitelli — in the second period.
“It all started with our goaltender,” Ridgefield coach Shaun Gallagher said. “Matt Silliman played a great game.”
The defense kept Silliman’s crease clean during the penalty kills.
“I think our penalty kill was really nice,” Silliman said. “We dumped the puck at least five or six [times] each kill and it really worked to our benefit.”
Ridgefield took a 2-0 lead in the first period on goals from Michael Conciatore and Eric Pereira. Overall, the Tigers had four different goal scorers in the win.
“They share the puck well ... with a lot [of] new guys we’re going to have a lot of goal scorers step up at different times,” Gallagher said. “They want to score; they want the puck.”
The win over Hamden is Ridgefield’s third straight after starting the season with two losses, but it’s also the Tigers’ first victory over a Division I opponent this year.
“We definitely have a lot of respect for Hamden,” Gallagher said. “Their coaching staff ... every year they’re going to be good and they are good. To pick up a win against Hamden makes it nice.”
Notes: Kees van Wees contributed two assists for Ridgefield. McNicholas and Conciatore each added one assist.