DARIEN -- It wasn't exactly vintage Knute Rockne or John Wooden or Herb Brooks. But whatever New Canaan High boys hockey coach Bo Hickey said to his team after the first period worked as well as anything those Hall of Fame coaches ever tried.
"I let them know my feelings; it was mostly monosyllabic words," Hickey said after his team allowed Northwest Catholic to score two goals 16 seconds apart late in the first period to tie the game. "I wasn't a real happy camper."
The Rams, led by Harry Stanton and John O'Rourke, got the message and scored three times in the first nine minutes of the second period and went on to a 6-2 victory at the Darien Ice Rink in the opening round of the Division 1 state tournament.
"There was a little screaming going on (between the first and second periods), a little motivating," said Stanton, who had two goals and two assists in the game. "But he got us going."
The seventh-seeded Rams (19-4-1), who won the FCIAC championship last Saturday, had been knocked out of the state tournament in the first round in each of the last two years. Hickey, and seniors Stanton and O'Rourke, weren't about to stand for that happening again. They will now face No. 2 Notre Dame of West Haven Saturday in the quarterfinals at a time and site to be determined.
Stanton, who assisted on O'Rourke's two goals in the opening period that gave New Canaan a 2-0 lead, put the Rams in front for good 2:47 into the second period off a perfect centering pass from Patrick Hompe. Four minutes later Parker Lewis set up Peter Reinhardt in front for a 4-2 lead. And two minutes after that it was Stanton converting on a breakaway for a three-goal cushion.
The mood at that point was quite different than when the Rams skated into the locker room after the first period, after Zeke Angelini knocked a rebound past New Canaan goalie Mac Wright (nine saves) with 2:23 remaining in the first period. John Foster scored 16 seconds later to pull the 10th-seeded Indians (10-9-2) even.
"Late in the first period we realized we could play with them," Northwest Catholic coach Don Melanson said. "But then New Canaan got very aggressive and took away our time and space and stopped making mistakes."
"You can blame (North Catholic's two-goal flurry) on Saturday's championship game," Hickey added, referring to the Rams' emotional victory over rival Darien in the FCIAC final. "I think we were still a little euphoric over that, I can't get too upset with that."
Except that he did.
"He told us what we did wrong (in the final 2Â½ minutes of the first period)," Stanton said. "Then we came out strong."
The Rams completed the scoring when Reinhardt tapped the puck past Indians goalie Michael Camasso (26 saves) for his second goal of the game.
New Canaan 6, Northwest Catholic 2
NW CATHOLIC 2 0 0--2
NEW CANAAN 2 3 1--6
Records: Northwest Catholic 10-9-2, New Canaan 19-4-1
Goals: NWC--Zeke Angelini, John Foster; NC--Harry Stanton 2, John O'Rourke 2, Peter Reinhardt 2. Assists: NWC--Jesse McLain, Demitri Yao; NC--Stanton 2, Hompe 2Parker Lewis, John O'Rourke, John McMahon, Davis Bruch. Goalies: NWC--Michael Camasso (26 saves); NC--Mac Wright (9); Shots: NWC--11; NC--32.