Total domination. Thats the only way to describe Fairfield Prep's performance Saturday. The Jesuits outmatched St. Joseph in every facet of the state championship hockey game, held at a sold-out Ingalls Rink in New Haven.
Prep jumped out to a 2-0 lead less than three minutes into play, and goalkeeper John Galiani was perfect in net, saving all 25 St. Joseph shots, including three breakaway, one-on-one showdowns. By the final horn, Prep finished with 46 shots on goal. It all added up to a 5-0 thrashing of the Cadets, giving Fairfield Prep its 14th Division I state championship, and its first since 2008.
"It's really special to get the shutout in the finals. But to be honest, it could have been 5-4. As long as we're standing there with that trophy at the end I'm happy," Galiani said. "Everybody was really pumped up and came to work. The atmosphere was just unbelievable today."
St. Joseph was clearly drained from an emotional win Wednesday over FCIAC rival New Canaan. Fairfield Prep quickly took advantage of that, charged by the electric atmosphere provided by the nearly two thousand red and white-adorned Prep fans.
Conor Peterson and Don Carnicky had scored for the Jesuits before some had even taken their seats. Bryan Puffer scored late in the first and early in the second to take away any chance of a St. Joseph comeback. Puffer nearly had a hat trick, but the shot just caught the underside of the crossbar. David Griffin rounded out the Fairfield Prep scoring with four minutes to play, assisted by Puffer.
It was immediately clear which team was playing in its first-ever state championship (St. Joseph), and which program carried the confidence of 13 previous titles (Prep). St. Joseph, which gained a reputation as the bad boys of the FCIAC with a hard-hitting style of play, was on the unfamiliar receiving end of many a bone-jarring hit courtesy of Fairfield Prep.
It was huge getting out to that early lead to bury them early," Puffer said. "St. Joe's is still a really good team, but we weren't going to let them get back into it. And the only way to describe John Galiani today is absolutely unbelievable.
Fairfield Prep finishes its championship season at 21-3. Prep's 14 state titles is second only to Hamden's 17.
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