Ridgefield pulls away to beat ND-West Haven, 6-1

A weird bounce allowed the Notre-Dame West Haven boys hockey team to tie the game early in the first period.

After that, it was all Ridgefield.

The unbeaten Tigers scored five straight goals in a 6-1 victory over Notre Dame on Thursday night at the Winter Garden in Ridgefield.

“There was [a] funny bounce off the face-off for their power-play goal,” Ridgefield coach Shaun Gallagher said. “There were no words said; our guys did not like that. It was good to see them respond well.”

Senior Nick Cullinan scored two minutes later to give the Tigers the lead again, kick-starting the offensive show. Ridgefield led 3-1 by the end of the first period and 5-1 through two periods.

“I think it’s part of the game; stuff happens. You have to bounce back,” Cullinan said. “We knew we were in for a battle and we had to anchor down.”

Cullinan scored another goal, while linemates Matt Walker (two) and Will Forrest (one) added assists for Ridgefield, which improved to 5-0

The trio has formed one of the most productive lines in the state, helping the Tigers outscore their first five opponents by a combined 31-8.

“Ridgefield is just a superior team,” Notre Dame-West Haven coach Larry Viera said. “I think they are a state championship quality team. I’ve been doing this for a long time and they have all the ingredients. They have a great youth hockey program, a great coaching staff. Their first line is like a college line. They are very good.

“We are a young, sophomore-laden group that had our butts handed to us. The positive we take from it, was that we didn’t quit. We battled. After the timeout we could have faded, but we didn’t.”

Though its top line starred once again, Ridgefield got help from a ton of other players up and down the lineup.

Will Stewart scored his first varsity goal to get the Tigers on the board in the opening period. Henry Garlick, Kevin McNicholas, and Kees van Wees also scored, while Daniel Parson (two), Garlick (two), Patrick Rigby, Simon van Wees, and Brady McSpedon added assists.

“We have four lines, it’s not about just one line or three guys,” Cullinan said. “It’s about all four lines.”

“When you have everyone buying in to the fact that they have an important role on the team, it makes a big difference,” Gallagher said.

Notes:  John Michael Childs had the goal for Notre Dame-West Haven (3-2).

Ridgefield goalie Sean Gordon was credited with 13 saves.