Ridgefield boys hockey advances to FCIAC title game
Take away Christian Compolattaro and the final score would have better reflected what happened on the ice.
Dominating throughout, top-seed Ridgefield defeated fourth-seed Westhill/Stamford, 3-0, in the FCIAC semifinals Wednesday evening at Terry Conners Rink in Stamford.
The Tigers could have had at least four more goals if not for the efforts of Compolattaro, Westhill/Stamford's senior goalie, who made 31 saves, including several how-did-he-do-that denials reminiscent of Dominik Hasek.
Ridgefield (19-2-0) will now face second-seed New Canaan (17-3-1) in the conference championship game Saturday (March 4) at 2:30 at Terry Conners Rink. The Tigers defeated New Canaan twice during the regular season, both times by scores of 3-1.
Senior forward Matteo van Wees gave Ridgefield a 1-0 lead with 5:13 left in the first period Wednesday night. Defenseman Jack McGeary assisted on the goal.
The Tigers tacked on their other two goals during a 90-second span of the second period. Jonas Chang scored on a wrist shot during a five-on-three advantage with 6:43 left, and Nick Cullinan followed with a goal with 5:13 to go, putting Ridgefield ahead, 3-0, entering the final 15 minutes.
Ridgefield controlled the scoreless third period but was unable to put any more shots past Compolattaro.
"He's a fantastic goalie and I'm happy we don't have to face him again," said Ridgefield head coach Shaun Gallagher about Compolattaro, who had shut out St. Joseph in a conference playdown game last Saturday. "That first goal (from van Wees) put the pressure on their defense, and we were able to add on [to the lead]."
Notes: Ridgefield senior goalie Sean Keegans denied all 20 Westhill/Stamford shots to register the shutout.
Jack Stafford and Ty Fujitani assisted on Chang's goal, while Will Forrest and Fujitani had assists on Cullinan's goal.
New Canaan routed defending champion Greenwich, 7-2, in the second semifinal Wednesday night.
Ridgefield is ranked first and New Canaan second in the latest state polls.
Ridgefield last played in the FCIAC finals in 2013, when it defeated St. Joseph to win its second straight title.
Press Sports Reporter Chris Sacchi contributed to this story.