Hockey split: RHS girls make FCIACs; boys fall to Cards

Needing to win its final regular-season game to keep its season going, the Ridgefield/Danbury girls hockey team got the job done.

A pair of first-period goals carried the Tigers to a 2-0 triumph over Fairfield Warde/Ludlowe on Monday afternoon at the Wonderland of Ice in Bridgeport.

With the victory, Ridgefield clinched the fourth and final spot in the FCIAC playoffs. The Tigers (8-11-1 overall, 7-7 FCIAC) will play top-seed Greenwich in a semifinal game Wednesday night at 8 p.m. at the Darien Ice House.

Ridgefield took a 1-0 lead on Emily Stefanelli's unassisted goal midway through the opening period. Rebecca Gartner then made it 2-0 when she scored on an assist from Olivia Alessandro with 1:55 left in the first period.

The Ridgefield defense and goalie Kendal Mountain did the rest. Mountain saved all 17 of Fairfield's shots on goal to record the shutout. Defensemen Lauren Whalen, Chiara Signorelli, Bridget Galloway, Ali Caiola, and Julia Zangre helped Mountain by limiting Fairfield's quality chances.

Not as fortunate was the Ridgefield boys hockey team, which fell to Greenwich, 5-3, at the Dorothy Hamill Rink in Greenwich.

It was just the fourth loss of the season and the first conference setback for Ridgefield, which is now 15-4-0 overall and 10-1-0 in the FCIAC. The Tigers have already clinched one of the top-two spots for the conference playoffs and will get a first-round bye.

With Monday's win over Ridgefield, Greenwich (17-2-0 overall, 9-1-0 FCIAC) can secure the top overall seed by beating St. Joseph in the final regular-season game Wednesday.

Sophomore Nikita Kovalev (the son of former NHL player Alexi Kovalev) had three goals and an assist for Greenwich.

The Cardinals were ahead 3-2 through two periods and then doubled their lead on Connor Santry's goal less than three minutes into the final period.

Ridgefield pulled within 4-3 when Nick Cullinan scored on an assist from Will Forrest at the 8:32 mark.

The Tigers got a power-play opportunity with under four minutes to play and nearly tied the game. Off a feed from Cullinan, Forrest fired a low shot from the slot that Greenwich goalie Ben Nash was able to stop with a pad save.

Ridgefield then pulled goalie Sean Gordon for an extra skater, and Kovalev was able to skate around a defender and score into the empty net with 30 seconds left.

Matt Davey's goal staked Greenwich to a 1-0 lead early in the first period. The Tigers tied the score a little more than two minutes later, as Cullinan converted on an assist from Brady McSpedon.

In the second period, two straight goals from Kovalev put the Cardinals in front 3-1 before McSpedon scored off an assist from Cullinan to make it 3-2 going into the final 15 minutes.

Notes: The Ridgefield-Greenwich boys hockey game was shown live on the HAN Network. To watch the game on-demand, click here.