The Green Wave have built the foundation for a superb campaign.
Coach Dan Moore's New Milford High ice hockey team put the finishing touch on a 13-5-2 regular season with Monday's Senior Night victory, 6-2, over Westhill at Canterbury School's Draddy Arena.
Now it's time for the 2012-13 edition of NMHS hockey to make its statement for posterity.
The Green Wave have the chance this week and next to etch their mark as one of NMHS ice hockey's all-time best teams.
The first step would be the South-West Conference semifinals, slated for Thursday, Feb. 28, at the Danbury Ice Arena.
Coach Moore and company, owners of a 5-1-1 record in SWC competition this winter, are seeded third and set to play second-seeded Watertown/Pomperaug.
"We are in a great position to knock them off," said the NMHS ice mentor.
He noted the Green Wave dropped a 2-0 decision the first time the teams met and earned a 3-3 deadlock last week at Canterbury.
Thursday's winner will advance to Saturday's SWC Division II-III title game at 4:20 p.m. in Danbury against either the Bethel/Brookfield/Danbury co-op or the fourth-seeded team.
Next week, the Green Wave will take their ice act into the state Division II tournament.
Coach Moore said he's not surprised his crew enjoyed a successful regular season, particularly reflecting on the squad's superb defensive performance and excellent goaltending.
"We had a goal of 15 wins," he said, "so we're a little short of that, but we haven't given up more than three goals all season."
Indeed, in a winter-long show of blue-line and netminding prowess, the Green Wave posted five shutouts. Senior Matt DePalma and junior Nick Capriglione shared the goaltending duties with aplomb.
"This is a great mix of kids," coach Moore said. "Our seniors -- Tommy Barkal, Phoenix Butts, Matt DePalma, Cody Paquin, Tyler Kirkwood, Tyler Smith and Lorenzo Stellato -- have been great all season."
He also noted the scoring balance -- five players with 10 goals or more -- that so often is the product of good team play.
"They have worked really hard and bought into the team concept. ... Playing both ends of the ice," said coach Moore. "Defense wins championships."
Regardless of how the postseason action transpires, the Green Wave know their coach is in their corner.
"We had set a goal of winning the SWC," Coach Moore said. "And we will be very competitive in the state. Division II is tough, but I see us going a couple of rounds, just one shift at a time."
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