Cadets still finding ways to win

The St. Joseph High boys hockey team celebrated Senior Night on Saturday by escaping Fairfield Co-op by a 2-1 margin at the Rink at Shelton.

Zach Usinger tallied both goals for St. Joseph and Dominic DeRosa added an assist. Matt Van Etten came away with 17 saves in goal for the Cadets who won for the eighth time in the past nine games.

St. Joseph honored seniors Troy Deering, Usinger, Bryan Canfarotto and Christian Keator, along with Mark Laoue, Matt Greenhut, Dan Castorina, Sean Smith and Andrew Gore.

“We out shot a team by a two to one margin (33-17), but obviously you have to put a few more pucks in the net than we did,” St. Joseph head coach Marty Crouse said.

“Our goalie (Van Etten) did a good job and kept us in the game. But, we had a few different lines out there and we just didn’t capitalize the way I had hoped we would.”

The Mustangs came out with a full head of steam intent on playing the Cadets to every loose puck.

The physical nature of the game sent both teams to the penalty box early on, but neither took advantage of the opportunities in the opening period.

Castorina, Smith and Gore gave the Cadets a solid defensive stance, allowing very few chances for the Mustangs to pose a threat.

“Give credit to Fairfield they never gave up and battled us the entire game,” said Crouse. “Matt (Van Etten) didn’t need to come up with a lot of saves, but early in that last period he came up big and made the saves he had to.”

With  9:37 left in the second period, Matt Greenhut got a pass to a wide open Ryan Corcoran in the corner, but the shot at the net glanced off the post.

St. Joseph was coming up empty, but was getting closer as the game wore on.

Finally, the persistence paid off at the 7:40 mark after DeRosa sent a pass that landed on the stick of Usinger in the crease.

The senior forward wound up and dialed it into the back of the net for a 1-0 St. Joseph advantage.

Colin Powell took a pass from Dom Sidorczuk and tried to up the margin only to have the shot saved at the post.

Filippo Petrini and Sean Hurley worked the puck down the ice through the Fairfield defense before Smith let go of a shot at the blue line, which ended up in the glove of Mustangs’ goalie Kyle Greenhut (31 saves).

Fairfield found an opening in the Cadets’ defense and with 3:59 left in the second period, Conor Scharlop assisted on Kyle Scheetz’ blast from the point to tie the game at 1.

“We basically skated three and half to four lines, trying to build some confidence and work everybody in,” Crouse said.

“I would have liked to be able to do more of that, but the score didn’t allow it. Fairfield is a tough team and they came to play.”

It was a tie game heading into the final period, and Fairfield came out looking for the lead.

Van Etten had to fend off three solid shots at the net in a three-minute span to start the period.

Then, the Cadets went on an offensive spree of their own peppering the goal with a flurry of shots. At the seven-minute mark St. Joseph tallied the go-ahead goal.

Laoue advanced the puck to Keator, whose pass down the ice glanced off the boards. Usinger raced in to collect the loose puck and drove it just past the out stretched reach of the diving goalie for the 2-1 lead.

St. Joseph staved off a late penalty that put Fairfield in a power play opportunity. The Cadets spread the ice well and ran the remaining time off the clock to secure the win.

“A win is a win especially at this point in the season,” Crouse said. “It is a little frustrating because I know we can play much better than that. But, it could have ended up ugly with a loss, so I’m certainly satisfied to come out of here with the win.”

Corcoran scored three goals in the first period to lead St. Joseph to a 7-3 victory over Stamford High on Wednesday. Laoue opened the scoring against the Knights (6-9-1).

Corcoran tallied the next three around a Stamford goal with assists coming from Usinger, Powell and Matt Greenhut.

It was 4-2 in the third when DeRosa scored off assists from Hurley and Gore.

Keator and Sidorczuk scored the game’s last two goals.

Greenhut, Alex Crespino and Chris Kirven had assists. Van Etten had 25 saves.

St. Joseph (15-4-1) concluded its regular season with an 11-0 victory over Westhill-Stamford on Tuesday.

Sidorczuk, Keator and Laoue scored two goals each.

Nick DiSabella, Hurley, DeRosa, Usinger and Gore also scored goals.