The foundation of the Warde hockey program was constructed 36 years ago when Arnie Larsen, the school's first hockey coach, organized a team midway through the 1972 season.
This is the second of a five-part series on the early years of Andrew Warde High School's hockey program. Today we take a closer look at the 1972-73 season, including an unforgettable comeback victory and the team's first championship trophy.
Now that the foundation was in place, the Andrew Warde High School Crimson Eagles' hockey team became a member of the Amateur Hockey Association for the 1972-73 season. In just their second year of existence, the varsity skaters finished with a 26-24-2 overall mark. Cumulatively, the team scored 176 goals and yielded 184.
It was quite a memorable season. In addition to the team's winning record through the grueling 52-game schedule which stretched from November 17 to March 6, the campaign also featured an incredible comeback overtime victory and a championship trophy.
The most exciting game of the season, no doubt, was against Masuk High School of Monroe in the Spring Hockey Carnival Tournament. The Eagles trailed the veteran Panthers throughout the entire contest and found themselves behind, 3-0, with just three-and-a-half minutes left in the game.
Incredibly, Coach Arnie Larsen's charges scored three straight goals during "running time," when the clock doesn't stop, including the tying goal by Andy Larsen with just two seconds left. Then, Ken Caplan scored the dramatic winning goal in sudden-death overtime to give the Eagles an unbelievable 4-3 win.
Warde captured the Holiday High School Hockey Tournament at Wonderland of Ice in Bridgeport without losing a single game. The Eagles played Trumbull, Masuk, and Notre Dame twice apiece over a six-week period and claimed their first hockey trophy.
The Eagles opened the tournament with a 2-2 draw against Trumbull, but Warde stormed back to win the next five games. Wins against Masuk (5-0), Notre Dame (3-2), Trumbull (3-1), Masuk (4-0), and Notre Dame (3-2) propelled the local skaters to the championship. Warde finished with a 5-0-1 record and outscored its opponents, 20-7, including two shutout victories.
Individually, senior Todd McEvily had a tremendous year in goal for the Crimson Eagles. Bob Quintiliani and Gerry Bojnec also performed admirably in goal, and both were looking forward to returning next year. The most serious injury was sustained by Danny Carter, but he eventually made a complete recovery.
Andy Larsen led the squad with 36 goals and 33 assists for 69 points. The other leading scorers included Ken Caplan (31-28-59), Bob Losch (27-18-45), Craig Benak (9-26-35), and Pete Prevelige (20-13-33). Larsen and Kaplan netted three "hat tricks" apiece, while Losch and Jon Grannis tallied a pair of hat tricks.
Warde's junior varsity hockey team also had a successful year. The squad split six games and outscored its opponents by a 17-15 overall margin. The highlight of the season was a 6-0 whitewashing of town rival Notre Dame High School. The team also posted 5-3 and 2-1 victories over Masuk High School.
Now it was time to take the next step. The Warde Eagles were about to attain varsity status and join the elite 14-team Fairfield County Interscholastic Athletic Conference the following season. The team had come a long way in just a little more than one year.