FCIAC Boys Ice Hockey: Ridgefield rules rink, beats New Canaan for FCIAC crown

Nick Cullinan scored on a rebound of a shot by Will Forrest to snap a 2-2 with 3:19 remaining, and the Ridgefield Tigers went on to defeat the New Canaan Rams, 5-2, for the FCIAC boys ice hockey championship Saturday at Terry Connors Rink in Stamford.

It’s the second FCIAC championship in three days for Ridgefield, which claimed the boys basketball title in double overtime on Thursday. The Tigers are just the third team in conference history to win the boys basketball and ice hockey championships in the same season, joining the 1969 New Canaan Rams and the 1993 Trinity Catholic Crusaders.

“We’ve been working so hard for the past four years … all our seniors,” Ridgefield goalie Sean Keegans told the Ridgefield Press. “And it’s really just special we could get it done and win this trophy.”

“A very intense game, but we saw that coming,” Harrison Chuma said. “Obviously, Sean Keegans came up huge with a couple of massive saves and overall our defense shut them down.”

Keegans played a huge role in the victory, as he collected 29 saves against 31 shots and was named the game’s Most Valuable Player.

Jeff Pracella had a goal and two assists; Matteo van Wees and Harrison Chuma each had a goal and an assist; and Cullinan and Joe Signorelli scored goals.

For New Canaan, which twice tied the game in the third period, Chase Glover and Tyler Hill scored, and goalie Peter Windas made 31 saves.

“This was a great experience because there were ups and there were downs and we had to deal with them,” defenseman Drew Morris told the New Canaan Advertiser. “It was pretty tough when they scored in the first, but we’ve been down early before and we showed a lot of heart and a lot of guts coming back from two one-goal deficits. We just didn’t have enough in the tank to pull it out in the third.”

The boys ice hockey championship was Ridgefield’s sixth overall and its first since 2013, when it won the second of two straight titles. New Canaan, which won in 2014, had an FCIAC-best 18 championships, with Greenwich second at 11.

Ridgefield (20-2) and New Canaan (17-4-1) have now met three times this season with the Tigers winning all three. If they meet again, it would be for the state championship as they are on opposite sides of the CIAC Div. I tournament bracket.

Both teams will begin the state playoffs with home games against fellow FCIAC foes on Wednesday. No. 4 New Canaan will host No. 13 Greenwich (10-11-1) at 6 p.m. at the Darien Ice House, while No. 2 Ridgefield will host No. 15 Darien (8-11-1) at 6:40 p.m. at the Winter Garden.

• Click here for the CIAC Div. I ice hockey bracket

Here are some cool ice hockey story links…

• Ridgefield Press: Ridgefield beats Rams, 5-2, wins FCIAC boys hockey title

• New Canaan Advertiser: Ridgefield skates past New Canaan in FCIAC boys ice hockey final

• Stamford Advocate: Ridgefield beats New Canaan for FCIAC boys ice hockey title

FCIAC Boys Ice Hockey Final – Ridgefield 5, New Canaan 2

At Terry Connors Rink, March 4

New Canaan 0-0-2 = 2

Ridgefield 1-0-4 = 5

First Period

R – Joe Signorelli, assisted by Jeff Pracella, 4:20

Second Period

No Scoring

Third Period

NC – Chase Glover, assisted by Harry Gelnaw and Gunnar Granito, power play, 4:12

R – Harrison Chuma, assisted by Matteo van Wees and Jeff Pracella, power play, 4:47

NC – Tyler Hill, 8:10

R – Nick Cullinan, assisted by Will Forrest, 11:41

R – Matteo van Wees, assisted by Harrison Chuma, 13:39

R – Jeff Pracella, assisted by Matteo van Wees, empty net, 14:25

Saves

NC – Peter Windas 32 saves

R – Sean Keegans 29 saves

Shots

NC – 31; R – 37

The Ridgefield Tigers pile onto the ice after the final horn sounded on their FCIAC boys hockey championship on Saturday at Terry Connors Rink. — Dave Stewart/HAN Network photo

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