Davey’s OT goal puts Greenwich boys hockey in Div. I final

Matt Davey didn’t take too much time to see what was in front of him. He simply took the shot when he had it and put the Greenwich boys ice hockey team in the state final.

After Alex Mozian had tied the game with 1:19 remaining in regulation, Davey scored the game-winning goal 2:18 into OT to complete a Greenwich comeback as the Cardinals defeated the Xavier Falcons, 3-2, in the CIAC Div. I semifinals Wednesday night at Ingalls Rink.

For Davey and the Cards, it was a highlight-reel goal in a season filled with big moments.

“I was looking at Nikita (Kovalev), making the goalie think I was going to pass it to him, and then, I barely even looked, I just shot it,” Davey said. “That’s one thing our coach has been telling us is to get the puck on net.”

In hockey, those are words to live by.

“We were pretty confident going into overtime that we were going to get it done,” head coach Chris Rurak said. “We just made a joke in the locker room that we gave him the puck because he shot the puck. It proved my point, that if you shoot the puck, we’ll score. I’m so happy for him.”

The victory puts the second-seeded Cardinals (22-3) in the final for the first time since 2015, and they’ll face No. 1 Fairfield Prep for the championship at 2 p.m., Saturday, at Ingalls Rink. The Jesuits defeated defending Div. I champion Ridgefield, 4-1, in Wednesday’s late semifinal game.

Greenwich has just one state championship in program history, with that coming back in 1992 against Prep.

The Cardinals reached the final in 2015, but fell to Darien 1-0.

“This means everything,” Davey said. “It’s been 25-26 years (since Greenwich won a state final), so it’s really exciting. Every since we lost to Darien two years ago, it’s what we’ve been chasing ever since.”

Greenwich’s state tournament drive was in grave danger against Xavier, as the Falcons led 2-0 after Aden Hotchkiss scored short-handed 4:08 into the second period.

Soon after that goal, the Cardinals started turning up the heat offensively, starting with a great shift for the line of Davey, Kovalev and Mozian, and they eventually found the net to cut the deficit in half.

Matt Baugher scored Greenwich’s first goal when he fired a shot from the right circle and the puck glanced off the glove of goalie Tyler Beaulieu (31 saves) and into the net to make it 2-1 with 7:54 remaining in the second period.

Greenwich was unable to creep and closer the rest of that frame and for much of the third, but the Cards’ defense, led by goalie Ben Nash (29 saves), held the Falcons in check.

The Cardinals had their backs to the wall when they were hit with two penalties in a span of 31 seconds, giving Xavier a 5-on-3 with 3:46 to play.

“As soon as we saw the two penalties go up, we were thinking we’re used to this,” Davey said. “We’ve been facing that all year, so we just did what we’ve been doing, which is trying to get offense on penalty kill, which works with Alex, Nikita, Baugher and I. We just tried to possess the puck and get it deep as much as we could, and keep it out of our zone.”

After shutting down the two penalties, Rurak pulled Nash from the goal to give Greenwich a 6-on-5 advantage and the move paid off when Mozian scored with 1:19 remaining. Davey started that play, keeping the puck in the zone along the boards, skating into the circle, and tapping a slick pass to Mozian in front for the goal.

“When we were down two men, this team is a never-say-die team,” Rurak said. “That kind of summed up Alex Mozian’s last year. He was down and out, three major injuries, he came back. We were down two men, we know how to face adversity, and (Mozian) came up with a terrific goal at a great time. I’m really proud of the kids for battling through that. It was unbelievable.”

Now, Greenwich will get set for one final game and a chance at their first state championship in 26 years.

“It’s a goal that we’ve always wanted to get here,” Rurak said. “You always talk about doing it, but it’s really difficult to get here. There are so many good hockey teams in Connecticut and a lot in Div. I, so we’re just proud to be here representing our school and the FCIAC.”

CIAC Div. I Boys Ice Hockey Semifinals – Greenwich 3, Xavier 2 (OT)

Wednesday, March 14, at Ingalls Rink

Xavier 1-1-0-0 2

Greenwich 0-1-1-1 3

Xavier: Anthony DiPreta 1 goal; Aden Hotchkiss 1 goal; Jack Healy 1 assist

Greenwich: Matt Davey 1 goal, 1 assist; Nikita Kovalev 2 assists; Matt Baugher 1 goal; Alex Mozian 1 goal; Nic Pelletier-Martinelli 1 assist

Goalies

X – Tyler Beaulieu 31 saves

G – Ben Nash 29 saves

Shots

X – 31; G – 34

Greenwich’s Matt Davey gets the puck ahead of a Ridgefield Tiger during the FCIAC boys ice hockey final on March 3. — Scott Mullin photo

By participating in the comments section of this site you are agreeing to our Privacy Policy and User Agreement

© Hersam Acorn. All rights reserved. The Greenwich Post, 10 Corbin Drive, Floor 3, Darien, CT 06820

Designed by WPSHOWER

Powered by WordPress