WEST HAVEN -- Notre Dame-West Haven made it a perfect seven-for-seven to start the season by defending its home ice with a 3-0 victory over previously unbeaten Darien.
After nearly two scoreless periods, Notre Dame-West Haven's William Vizzo finally tilted the game in his team's favor by scoring with just 29 seconds remaining in the second period for the 1-0 lead heading into the third.
"Obviously, it was huge. We needed a goal, and I just put the puck on net and it went in," Vizzo said. "It's a huge win. We want to have confidence going into Saturday against Prep."
After being outshot 15-8 in the first period, Darien (3-1-1) had the opportunity it was looking for early in the second, as Notre Dame-West Haven (7-0-0) took two minor penalties just 35 seconds apart, setting the stage for 1:25 of 5-on-3. Darien took three shots, including one each by Robbie Juterbock and Thomas Watters, but Notre Dame successfully killed the two-man advantage.
"We didn't expect to be this way because we lost six kids from last year, but the younger kids are stepping up," Notre Dame-West Haven coach Bill Gerosa said. "We have a lot of young kids on the team and we've played the FCIAC early. They've done a good job against us, and it helps us in the long run."
Darien goalie Michael Collins made several difficult saves, but his highlight of the night came with the game still scoreless and Notre Dame on the powerplay.
Brendan Morley controlled the puck at the Darien blue line and sent a pass to Vizzo, who was lurking next to the Darien net. Collins moved to his right for a potential shot, but Vizzo instead sent it back across the goal crease to Kyle Thibault, who was robbed when Collins dove back to his left to make a glove save.
Notre Dame-goalie Luciano Amatruda stopped all 20 of Darien's shots to earn the shutout, and he was also the beneficiary of a favorable bounce at the beginning of the third period. Trailing 1-0, Darien won a faceoff in the offensive zone before ringing a shot off the post.
"Maybe a bounce here and there and the tide turns our way. It was either Bergin or Knowlton off of a designed play. If that goes in, it's a 1-1 game," Darien coach Chris Gerwig said. "Our guys stayed focused and we battled back. It's a great measuring stick for us, and especially after we hadn't played a game in 10 days. Nobody likes to lose, but you always have to take some positive things out of losses."
Instead, the Green Knights maintained the lead, and seven minutes later, they increased it on a goal by Thibault.
"They gave us all we could handle," Gerosa said. "Between our goaltending and defense, we got the job done."
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NOTRE DAME-WEST HAVEN 3, DARIEN 0
DARIEN 0 0 0--0
NOTRE DAME-FAIRFIELD 0 1 2--3
Records: NDWH 7-0-0; D 3-1-1
Goals: ND--William Vizzo, Kyle Thibault, Gregory Zullo. Assists: ND--Louis Iannotti (3). Goalies: ND--Luciano Amatruda (20 saves); D--Michael Colon (28). Shots: ND--31; D--20.