It just wasn’t meant to be for the 2018-19 Notre Dame hockey team.
The dreams of adding the 8th state title in school history and another banner in Alumni Hall were dashed in a 5-2 loss to Fairfield Prep in the CIAC Division I state championship game in front of a sold out and frenzied crowd at the Ingalls Rink at Yale University on Tuesday, March 19.
After an even start by both teams, the Jesuits struck twice late in the first period to take control of the game. Thomas Quinn scored a rebound goal with 4:24 left in the first period and Fairfield Prep led 1-0. That lead doubled when a Jesuits rush led to an errant shot that redirected off a Green Knight stick into the net for a 2-0 lead with 46 seconds left in the period.
The Green Knights, who had won five in a row coming into the game, saw their deficit grow to three when Jack Esse added a rebound goal just 2:29 into the second stanza.
Notre Dame got on the scoreboard and back in the game on a nifty goal by Rory Andriole. The play started with Kevin Millea keeping the puck in the zone. It caromed to John D’Errico ‘21, who one-timed a perfect pass to a rushing Andriole. His shot beat Jake Walker and the Green Knights were within 3-1 with 4:49 left in the period.
That momentum didn’t last long as Fairfield Prep regained a three-goal lead just 45 seconds later when Mason Whitney was alone in front of the net and redirected a pass into the open net for a 4-1 lead after two periods.
The teams traded third period goals with Colin Bella giving Fairfield Prep a 5-1 lead before Charlie Andriole squeaked one through the legs of Walker after a length-of-the-ice rush to pull Notre Dame within 5-2 with 6:16 left in the game.
“Fairfield Prep is the bar of high school hockey. They’ve won 18 state championships. That’s the level we need to achieve,” first-year Notre Dame head coach Larry Vieira told GameTimeCT.com. He added, “Notre Dame hockey is used to this type of environment. We need to get this team past that bar. It’s a wonderful step. In terms of the game, I felt that our youth showed up a little bit.”
Notre Dame applied pressure the rest of the game but couldn’t get closer. Moments later, the Green Knights were denied when a Millea blast was saved by Walker. Ryan Ahern dinged the post on a rebound and Ian Hayden wrister sailed wide.
The Green Knights pulled Smith with 2:29 left and had several chances. Walker made a nice save on a Charlie Andriole shot. A Tommy Ashmore wrister from wall was saved and Jack Luzzi’s backhand attempt was kicked aside.
Notre Dame fought until the bitter end and had another scoring chance in the waning seconds but a Millea blast was denied and John-Michael Childs couldn’t knock home the rebound on the doorstep.
The Jesuits outshot Notre Dame 29-24. Smith made 24 saves while Walker made 22.