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Xavier hockey knocks off NFI

February 15, 2018 GMT

DANBURY — Xavier’s status as a third-period team was cemented Sunday when it overcame a three-goal deficit in upending Notre Dame-West Haven in one of the signature wins of the Division I season.

In danger of being upset by a team desperately looking to join that elite club of state title contenders, the Falcons once again waited until the final 15 minutes before wrestling control and finishing off a fifth straight win over a Division I club.

Xavier struck for three goals in the third period — including an empty-netter with 45 seconds remaining — to fend off New Fairfield-Immaculate 4-2 at the Danbury Ice Arena Wednesday evening. Alex Stasuik scored the game-winner with 4:09 left as the Falcons tallied 20 shots in the final period.


“I hate to say that we’re a third-period team because I’d like to say we’re a three-period team,” said Xavier coach Dan DeConti. “Today we battled through a strong third period and we did it again; we’re a grinding, hard-working team. We just seem to be successful later in the game.”

The Mustangs had one quality opportunity to tie the game after falling behind that went just wide of the goal, and on a defensive-zone faceoff with the goalie pulled, Luke Lappe fired an accurate shot that iced the game for the visitors.

NFI dominated the final stages of the second period, which included a game-tying goal by standout sophomore Joe Robinson to make it 1-1. But the Falcons responded with a strong start to the third and grabbed the lead on a goal from Garrett Baier with nine minutes left.

The Mustangs tied it at 2-2 just 14 seconds after falling behind on a goal from Jameson Brown before Stasiuk struck down the stretch.

“I think we did a better job on our forecheck and getting pucks to the front of the net,” said DeConti, who suffered injuries to two key contributors including first goal scorer Tony DiPreta. “We had to adjust some lines and maybe when we did that we kept things more simple than we did in the first and second periods.”


Both Mustangs goalie Scott Dobos (34 saves) and Falcons counterpart Tyler Beaulieu (28 stops) had strong performances in net in a game that became more open as it went on. Dobos entered the game with one of the top save percentages (92) and goals against averages (1.8) in the state.

“He’s getting better and this was his 15th varsity start,” Mustangs coach Larry Vieira said. “He’s a good goalie and is going to get better.”



Both teams sat in the top half of the Division I standings prior to Wednesday’s action; Xavier has just two regular season games remaining — against ND-Fairfield and New Canaan — while NFI faces a slew of tough opponents over its final five games.

All three of NFI’s defeats have now come to teams ranked in the top four in the state in the latest GameTimeCT / Register Top 10 Poll.

“We don’t realize how good we are yet,” Vieira said. “Our message was we’re a good team and we have to get great. We haven’t gotten over that hill yet; we came up short against Prep, here and against Notre Dame (West Haven). We’re good but not good enough.


“I’ve known (Vieira) for a lot of years and he’s a great coach,” DeConti said. “His team buys into a game plan and they stick to it; they have success with. I didn’t come up here expecting this would be an easy game; we knew this was going to be a tough game just based on some of their other results and knowing Larry for a long time.”

rlacey@bcnnew.com, twitter.com/ryanlacey11


XAVIER1 0 3 — 4

NFI0 1 1 — 2

Records: Xavier 13-5, NFI 9-3-3. Goals: X—Luke Lappe, Alex Stasiuk, Garrett Baier, Tony DiPreta; NFI—Joe Robinson, Jameson Brown. Assists: X—Jack Healy 2, Aden Hothckiss, Cade Buckheit, Evan Pace; NFI—Goalies: X— Tyler Beaulieu (28 saves); NFI—Scott Dobos (34 saves). Shots: X—38, NFI—30.