Greenwich water polo battles the best in Montreal

The Greenwich High School boys water polo team traveled to Montreal, Canada over the weekend and barely escaped with its undefeated record still intact.

The location of the games couldn’t have been at a better venue, as Big Red played three of the top Canadian clubs in the annual Montreal Invitational held at the 1976 Olympic venue, Complexe Sportif Claude Robillard.

In a four team round-robin event, the Greenwich Cardinals virtually romped through its three preliminary games.

In its two Saturday games, the Big Red had surprisingly easy games against DDO (Dollard-des-Ormeaux) and the host team CAMO (Club Aquatique Montreal) and won 20-5 and 20-9, respectively.

Julian Fraser finished with five goals against DDO, while Tyler Triscari wasn’t far behind with four. Ed Moss and Nick Hyden each finished with hat tricks against DDO.

Triscari’s kept the good times rolling against CAMO by netting five goals, Hyden chimed in with four goals, while Mack Neary finished with three. Moss and Jack Robinson added two goals piece.

On Sunday morning, the Greenwich water polo team completed the preliminary round with a 12-6 win over LAVAL, named for that area of the city.

Fraser was once again the leading scorer, grabbing four goals. Robinson and Jack Kerwin each added a pair of goals. But the nature of the win may have foreshadowed the woes of the Cardinals going into the championship final, as in a shutout opening period, GHS players were unable to put the ball away, shooting 0-for-12 before finally connecting for a goal in the second quarter.

With the victory, Greenwich earned a rematch with CAMO, who entered the title game with a record of 1-1-1. Its lone victory was against DDO.

“With a 20-9 win over CAMO in the prelims, we could hardly have expected the type of game we experienced in the finals,” said Greenwich High head coach Terry Lowe.

It turned out to be a hard-fought, down-to-the-wire finale, in which Big Red led only once, 3-2 midway through the first period.

Every quarter ended with the two teams deadlocked. After the first quarter it was  3-3 and both teams were tied 6-6 at the half. After three quarters, the score was 9-9. Twice in the third period, Greenwich trailed by two, 8-6 and 9-7. The Cardinals pulled even after Jack Robinson nailed a penalty shot and Nick Hyden scored on a man-up as the period ended.

CAMO regained the lead midway through the fourth, but Tyler Triscari scored on the counterattack with 1:30 remaining and the game ended deadlocked at 10-10.

Greenwich goalie Steven Michaud made four of his 10 saves in the final period to help preserve his team’s undefeated record.

The Cardinals misfired on a penalty shot and shot a poor 9-for-35 from the field, including seven missed shots on man-up situations.

“More than anything, it was mostly a case of missed opportunities and our inability to finish on those chances,” said Lowe. “We generated nearly as many great chances in the finale as we did in the prelim game against CAMO.  We just could not put the ball away.”

The tie did keep Big Red undefeated with a record of 32-0-1.

Greenwich High will travel to the United States Naval Academy in Annapolis for its final games of the season. During the Tournament of America, the Cards will square off against the top East Coast teams, as well as a team from Dallas, Texas.

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