Notre Dame-WH boys hockey scores first win over Fairfield Prep in four years

Members of the Notre Dame-West Haven boys hockey team celebrate a second-period goal against Fairfield Prep on Saturday.

Members of the Notre Dame-West Haven boys hockey team celebrate a second-period goal against Fairfield Prep on Saturday.

Mike Madera / For Hearst Connecticut Media

WEST HAVEN — Notre Dame-West Haven junior Ty Battipaglia understands the rivalry between the Green Knights and Fairfield Prep. When the Jesuits jumped out to an early lead on Saturday afternoon, Battipaglia took over.

Behind two first-period goals by the Cheshire junior and a solid goaltending performance by Peter Alfano, Notre Dame topped Fairfield Prep 5-2 in a Southern Connecticut Conference Division I contest at the Edward L. Bennett Rink.

“I thought it changed the momentum of the game,” Battipaglia said after his fourth-ranked Green Knights improved to 4-2. “We knew it was a big game. We knew it was going to be a battle for us.”

Notre Dame, which also improved to 2-1 against state competition, controlled play for much of the contest and used its depth to its advantage.

“We feel very confident in the four lines we have,” Notre Dame coach Larry Vieira said. “We are very pleased with how they are playing. It feels good to do that (beat Fairfield Prep). It has been a while.”

The Green Knights picked up their first win over Fairfield Prep in four years, the last coming in overtime in the first year coached by Vieira.

“This is only the first round,” Vieira said. “I am sure we will see them again. We will see them in the postseason. You don’t win a state championship in January. We have a long way to go.”

Six different players were in the scoring column for the Green Knights with sophomore James Mascari also adding a goal and an assist.

The key for the Green Knights was how quickly they responded to an early deficit. That response shifted the momentum, which Fairfield Prep never got back.

“They outplayed us for huge stretches of the game,” Fairfield Prep coach Matt Sather said after his team fell to 3-4 overall and 2-3 in state. “They won all the little battles, especially in front. They were much better than us today.”

The game had a somber feel before the start as both teams came together at center ice to honor Teddy Balkind of St. Luke’s, who tragically passed away in a game this past Thursday.

Once the game got started, it was a frantic pace in the opening period, which saw a combined 14 shots and a 3-1 Notre Dame lead.

While Notre Dame’s Battipaglia was denied in front by Fairfield Prep goalie Nicholas Ambrosio less than three minutes in, Battipaglia would have something to say about the remainder of the opening period.

The Jesuits got on the board first when James Murphy put a rebound past Alfano 4 minutes, 24 seconds into the contest. Battipaglia then shifted the momentum.

Off the ensuing faceoff, the junior found himself in front of the Prep goal where he beat Ambrosio just seven seconds later to even the game at one.

“I thought the first period was the best first period I have seen a Notre Dame team play,” Vieira said. “We battled from that point on.”

The Green Knights went to the power play with 5:57 left in the opening period and needed just 11 seconds to capitalize when Battipaglia again beat Ambrosio from in front for a 2-1 advantage.

“We really worked hard as a team,” Battipaglia said. “We moved the puck really well today. I thought that was big for us.”

The Jesuits had a golden opportunity to even the game in the final two minutes of the period on the power play, but Alfano denied Aksel Sather in front and Luke Noonan with a pad save seconds later to keep Notre Dame on top.

“He is really getting his first shot at varsity action,” Vieira said of Alfano. “He has been very good. He is a calming influence for us. There are not many ups and downs with him.”

Those saves by Alfano proved big as Ashton Delmonico raced down the right wing and beat Ambrosio to the top right corner with 23.1 seconds left in the first for a 3-1 Notre Dame advantage.

“It is early enough where if we work hard, we can solve some of our problems,” Sather said. “It is obvious we have a lot of work to do.”

The Green Knights distanced themselves from the Jesuits in the middle period as they scored twice to tale a 5-1 lead.

After Alfano (19 saves) kept the Green Knights ahead by two by denying Tiernan Curley in front and Robert Rotondo on the doorstep within two minutes, Prep had another golden opportunity, but William Huntington’s shot rang off the post with 4:10 left in the second.

The Green Knights pulled away with a pair of goals in the final 4:03 of the second as freshman John Donohue scored in front off an assist from Mascari, before Mascari scored off an assist from Colby Faughnan with 1:15 remaining for a 5-1 lead.

Ambrosio finished with 17 saves in the loss for Fairfield Prep.

Player of the Game

Ty Battipaglia, Notre Dame-WH: Junior was a force all game, scoring twice in the first period to give the Green Knights the lead for good. Battipaglia’s goal seven seconds after Prep opened the scoring shifted the momentum to Notre Dame for the remainder of the game.


“It is horrendous beyond belief. The hearts of Notre Dame go out to them. The game today pales in comparison to what the family, the team, and the community are going through.”

— Notre Dame coach Larry Vieira on the death of Teddy Balkind of St. Luke’s

Notre Dame-WH 5,

Fairfield Prep 2

Fairfield Prep1 0 1 — 2

ND-WH3 2 0 — 5

First Period: F — James Murphy (Luke Noonan, Tiernan Curley) 10:43; N — Ty Battipaglia (Michael Pilato) 10:36; N — Ty Battipaglia 5:46; N — Ashton Delmonico 0:23; Second Period: N — John Donohue (James Mascari) 4:03; N — James Mascari (Colby Faughnan 1:15; Third Period: F — Luke Noonan 8:55; Shots: F: 21, N: 22; Saves: F: Nicholas Ambrosio 17, N: Peter Alfano — 19; Records: F:3-4; N: 4-2.