The start of the Greenwich High School boys' hockey season was rocky. The Cardinals were outscored 19-7 and averaged more than eight penalties a game in their first five contests. But after a 2-0 win over Darien on Tuesday evening, its second straight shutout win, Greenwich suddenly has a reason to be confident.
With the official start of the FCIAC schedule, Greenwich played a nearly flawless game against the Blue Wave by staying out of the penalty box and focusing on solid passing. Senior goalkeeper Ricky Piper was perfect in net with 22 saves, including a re-energized attack by Darien in the third period. Alex Liebers scored twice, assisted on both by Eric Macken. It was the first two-goal game of the year for senior tri-captain Liebers.
"I'm sure hoping it's not my last, either," Liebers said. "We played some quality teams right off the get-go. We're getting better on defense, and we'll have to work with that. I don't think we're a team that can put up five or six goals a game, so we'll have to win these close games."
Liebers and Macken's first dual attack came at the 8:40 mark in the first when Macken's wrist shot deflected off Darien goalie Max Rothston. Liebers was in the perfect position to stuff the puck into the net. In the second period, Liebers and Macken took advantage of a power playsomething the Cardinals had struggled with. Macken slid a pass to Liebers, who sizzled a wrist shot from the left faceoff circle through Rothston's five-hole.
The game was delayed nearly 20 minutes when a referee took a high stick to the face and had to be carted off in an ambulance. The break gave new life to Darien, as the Blue Wave finished the game with a 22-17 shots on goal advantage. Piper, along with a reinvigorated Greenwich defense, kept Darien off the board.
Greenwich is 2-4-1. The Cardinals will travel to Ridgefield to take on the Tigers on Saturday.
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