Cullinan's hat trick leads Ridgefield past New Canaan

Henry Garlick skates past a New Canaan player during Ridgefield's 6-1 win Tuesday night. - Dave Stewart photo
Henry Garlick skates past a New Canaan player during Ridgefield's 6-1 win Tuesday night. — Dave Stewart photo

The Ridgefield Tigers have emerged unscathed from the first half of the boys ice hockey season and, to put it simply, they’re having a blast.

“It’s a lot of fun,” senior Nick Cullinan said. “You get to see everybody working and playing well and (goalie) Sean (Gordon) is playing out of his mind every single night. It’s a lot of fun and we’ll see if we can keep it going.”

Cullinan notched a hat trick and one assist, and Kees van Wees scored twice, as the Tigers made the New Canaan Rams their latest victims with a 6-1 victory Tuesday night at the Darien Ice House.

The game was close for the first 20 minutes — Cullinan’s first-period goal was the only scoring to that point — but the Tigers scored twice in the final 4:19 of the second period before rolling with three more goals in the third.

Ridgefield is now 10-0 and looking every bit the part of the No. 1-ranked team in the state. The Tigers have also won three games in five days against FCIAC playoff contenders, beating Darien on back-to-back days Friday and Saturday before the win over New Canaan.

“We started a little slow in the first,” Ridgefield head coach Shaun Gallagher said. “It’s been a lot of hockey in a short amount of time, so it was good to see us respond in the second and third periods with a lot more energy.”

No. 6 New Canaan, which is 5-5, continued its trend of playing well for much of its games, but giving up big plays at key moments.

“It’s the same as it’s been,” New Canaan head coach Clark Jones said. “We love a lot of what we’re doing. From a game-management standpoint, we can’t consistently do it right now. When we make mistakes, they’re significant. You can play a really good game for 70-80 percent of the game, but when the other 20 percent there are catastrophic errors going on, this is what you get.”