Ridgefield beats Rams, 5-2, wins FCIAC boys hockey title

For the second time in three days, a Ridgefield High team is conference champion.

Scoring three unanswered goals in the final three-and-a-half minutes, the top-seeded Ridgefield boys hockey team defeated second-seed New Canaan, 5-2, to win the FCIAC title Saturday afternoon at Terry Conners Rink in Stamford.

The victory followed the Ridgefield boys basketball team's 68-64 double-overtime win over Wilton in the conference finals Thursday night at Fairfield University.

It's just the third time in FCIAC history that a member school has won both boys basketball and boys hockey titles in the same season. New Canaan (1969) and Trinity Catholic (1993) are the only others to complete the rare double.

Joe Signorelli's goal with 10:40 left in the first period gave Ridgefield a 1-0 lead, and the Tigers held that advantage until New Canaan's Chase Glover got the tying goal early in the third period.

Thirty-seven seconds later, Ridgefield was back in front. On a power play, defenseman Harrison Chuma deflected a shot past New Canaan goalie Peter Windas to make it 2-1 with 10:13 remaining in the game.

The Rams followed with another equalizer, as Tyler Hill converted on a backhand to knot the score at 2-2 with 6:50 to go.

But sophomore forward Nick Cullinan scored from in front on the rebound of a sharp-angle shot from Will Forrest with 3:19 left, giving the Tigers a 3-2 lead.

Matteo van Wees then added a goal with a perfectly placed shot from the right side after a great breakout pass from linemate Landon Byers. Jeff Pracella, the third member of Ridgefield's top line, finished the 5-2 victory by taking a pass from Byers and scoring into an empty New Canaan net in the final minute.

"We've been working so hard for the past four years ... all our seniors ... and it's really just special we could get it done and win this trophy," said Ridgefield senior goalie Sean Keegans, who was named the game's Most Valuable Player after making 29 saves.

"A very intense game, but we saw that coming," said Chuma, part of a Ridgefield defense — along with Jack McGeary, Ty Fujitani, Jonas Chang, Andrew Tregurtha, and Liam Galloway — that held strong despite numerous New Canaan power plays, including a five-on-three for two minutes in the opening period. "Obviously, Sean Keegans came up huge with a couple of massive saves and overall our defense shut them down."

Notes: It's the sixth conference crown in program history and the first since Ridgefield won the second of back-to-back championships in 2013.

Pracella finished with a goal and two assists, while van Wees had a goal and an assist and Byers contributed two assists. Chang earned an assist on Cullinan's go-ahead goal, making a nice play at the blue line to keep the puck in the New Canaan zone before sending a pass to Forrest.

Windas had 32 saves for New Canaan (17-4-1), which lost to Ridgefield for the third time this season.

The Tigers (20-2-0) begin the Division I state tournament on Wednesday night at home against Darien.