Gor­don shuts down Wave

The News-Times (Sunday) - - Sports - By Dave Ste­wart BAS­KET­BALL

DARIEN — Two boys ice hockey games in two days will take its toll on the best teams. Even the No. 1 ranked Ridge­field Tigers aren’t im­mune, but they again found a way 2 0

to win.

It also helps when you have a spec­tac­u­lar goalie.

With se­nior Sean Gor­don rack­ing up 36 saves, the Tigers over­came seven penal­ties and de­feated the Darien Blue Wave, 2-0, Satur­day at the Darien Ice House.

It was the Tigers’ sec­ond win over Darien in as many days, as the two FCIAC ri­vals played a home-and­home dou­ble­header. Ridge­field won on Fri­day, 3-2 in OT, at the Win­ter Gar­den Arena in Ridge­field.

The speed was a bit slower on Satur­day, but the game was equally com­pet­i­tive.

“To­day, it was grind­ing it out,” Gor­don said. “This is the first team be­sides maybe LaSalle (Academy of Rhode Is­land), that we didn’t have it from the be­gin­ning. We had to bat­tle back, es­pe­cially with all the penal­ties in the first pe­riod. We had a lot of good men­tal tough­ness to­day.”

“They’re a very good team, well-coached and good play­ers, top to bot­tom,” Ridge­field coach Shaun Galagher said. “They have no weak­nesses. It was re­ally fun to get this at­mos­phere and in­ten­sity be­cause you know that sec­ond game was go­ing to be in­tense af­ter the first one yes­ter­day. Both teams brought that to­day.”

“It was fan­tas­tic,” Daren head coach Mac Budd said. “It was a re­ally, re­ally great ex­pe­ri­ence. We have some great se­nior lead­er­ship, but we also have some younger guys and it was great for all of them to play in these games. You re­ally test your­self when you have to come back the very next day, play the same team, and try to get to the same level of in­ten­sity.”

The Tigers’ goals were scored by Will For­rest — who had the win­ner in OT on Fri­day — and Nick Cul­li­nan, but the Wave held a 36-19 ad­van­tage in shots.

Ridge­field (9-0) was its own worst en­emy in the first pe­riod, com­mit­ting three penal­ties as the Wave dom­i­nated the flow. Darien (4-4) had an 11-3 ad­van­tage in shots on goal, but Gor­don cleaned it all up with 11 saves.

Play was more bal­anced in the sec­ond stanza, al­though Darien again led in shots, 18-11.

Ridge­field fi­nally broke the scor­ing ice with 1:31 re­main­ing in the sec­ond pe­riod when For­rest fired one in from just in­side the blue line. The puck rang in off the pipe with an as­sist from Dan Par­son.

Ridge­field dou­bled its lead to 2-0 when Cul­li­nan took a pass from Kees van Wees on the back­door and buried it dur­ing a power play with 10:14 re­main­ing.

PLAYER OF THE GAME

Sean Gor­don, Ridge­field. The se­nior goalie came up huge for the Tigers, mak­ing 36 saves for the shutout. He was on point from start to fin­ish, with 11 stops in the first pe­riod and 18 in the sec­ond.

QUOTABLE

“They were amaz­ing. So many blocked shots and in­ter­cepted passes. Even the for­wards were in­volved that was the best PK we’ve had this year and maybe the last two years.” — Ridge­field goalie Sean Gor­don, talk­ing about the Tigers’ penalty kill

Dave Ste­wart / Hearst Con­necti­cut Me­dia

Ridge­field goalie Sean Gor­don makes a save as Darien’s Hud­son Poko­rny (21) and Ridge­field’s Pa­trick Rigby bat­tle in front on Satur­day.

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