Westies fall to Xavier
Valiant effort falls short in season-ending 2-1 OT loss
By MIKE MADERA
(March 6, 2013) – They were given no chance. There were facts to back it up, specifically a 13-3 score on the wrong side of the board in two contests played against Xavier-Middletown this season.
Not listening to the facts, the West Haven hockey team traveled to Wesleyan University Wednesday evening looking to pull off an upset. They came an overtime period away from doing so.
In the end, it just was not meant to be. Behind a goal by sophomore Hunter Wilcox 1 minute, 19 seconds into overtime, No. 4 Xavier hung on to defeat upset-minded and No. 13 West Haven, 2-1, in the opening round of the CIAC Division I state tournament.
With the victory, Xavier improves to 13-5-2 and moves on to the second round against Ridgefield Saturday at a site and time to be announced. West Haven ends the season at 8-11-2.
“It hurts,” West Haven coach Joe Morrell said. “We were so close, especially after the two losses to them this year. It was the first game all year where we saw so much heart out of everyone. We saw bits and pieces all year, but three quarters of the kids had their best games today.”
The Westies looked as if they were poised for the upset with the play of Mike Savino in goal. Savino made 28 saves, several in spectacular fashion to keep the Westies in the game and force the overtime.
“Mike (Savino) played unbelievable in goal,” Morrell said. “We just told him he had to stop them. He had to make the big saves and he had to be there for us. He was. He was just unbelievable tonight.”
The Westies had only 15 shots in the game and their best opportunities came in the second period. Alex Scranton was denied by Xavier goaltender Ben Guidobono 4:31 into the middle period.
Jaeson Puleo then had his chances. Guidobono denied Puleo with a glove save with 5:10 remaining in the middle period then stopped the junior once again from the slot 1:10 later.
“We had our chances,” Morrell said. “We had better chances in the second period. We just did not bury them. We were able to tie the game but we had our chances.”
Puleo finally solved Guidobono with 1:25 remaining in the middle period as his shot found the top corner to even the game at 1.
“Jaeson Puleo really stepped up tonight,” Morrell said. “He played well.”
Puleo’s goal evened the contest after Xavier scored late in the opening period to take a 1-0 lead.
After Savino denied Ryan McLellan and Kade McCartrin in the middle of the period, the West Haven goaltender was not as fortunate with 3:50 to go in the opening period as McLellan’s backhander found enough space to get by Savino for the Falcons’ first lead of the night.
The Xavier lead was made possible as Guidobono stopped Scranton with a pad save and again denied Scranton through a screen on a shot from the point on a West Haven power play in the opening period. Guidobono came up big again in the period, stopping Puleo twice within 43 seconds with a pair of glove saves.
In an intense third period, neither team could find the back of the net. Savino denied John Gethings’ break 4:53 into the final period then denied McCartin on his initial shot and rebound a short time later. Savino’s biggest save came with 4:50 remaining in regulation as he denied Wilcox on a turn-around shot.
“It’s hard,” Morrell said. “We gave it everything we had. We played to the best of our ability.
“I am very proud of the kids. It stinks for them that the year is over. We saw improvement from day one to now. I am very proud of them.”
The year also ended without a West Haven milestone being accomplished. West Haven’s Austin Hansen entered the contest with 98 points and needed 2 more to join the 100-point club. Hansen was unable to get those points in what was an electrifying season from the senior.
Morrell was also quick to point out the support of the student body throughout the season and Wednesday evening.
“We want to thank the student body for their support,” Morrell said. “They have supported us all year. They just did a great job and did so again tonight.”
While the pain of losing is still fresh, the Westies will turn to that support of the student body in eight months when another season begins once again.
Westies defeat North Haven, 8-0, in regular season finale
By MIKE MADERA
(February 27, 2013) – Looking to enter the postseason on a positive note, the West Haven hockey team was able to do so.
Behind 4 goals and 2 assists by Jim Morrissey, 2 goals and 2 assists from Austin Hansen, 4 assists from Alex Scranton and 25 saves by Mike Savino, the Westies defeated North Haven 8-0 at the Northford Ice Pavilion Wednesday afternoon.
The Westies finished the regular season with a record of 8-10-2 and will likely face either Xavier or Darien in the opening round of the CIAC Division I state tournament.
Just as important for the Westies was the fact 9 different players were in the scoring column for the Westies. With his offensive output, Hansen, who needs 2 more points for 100 in his career, has now been a part of 24 of West Haven’s last 32 goals.
“He is having an unbelievable end of the year,” West Haven coach Joe Morrell said. “He has 41 points this year. It’s unbelievable how he has played.
“Last year, he had 50 points. He played with Mike Troiano who had 55 points. He has 41 this year and has been unbelievable.”
Just as impressive was Morrissey. With the bulk of the scoring all year falling on the shoulders of Morrissey and Hansen, Morrissey set the tone of the game early against North Haven.
Morrissey scored the first 3 goals of the game in impressive style, collecting one apiece while West Haven was short-handed, on the power play and at even strength. Morrissey scored twice while the Westies were a man down, giving West Haven 12 short-handed goals on the year.
“That has been great,” Morrell said of the 12 short-handed goals.
Morrissey got the Westies on the scoreboard with 6 minutes, 9 seconds left in the first period as he scored a short-handed goal off assists from Hansen and Scranton. Morrissey used another special teams goal, this one on the power play, to give West Haven a 2-0 advantage with 1:18 left in the period off assists from Scranton and Jaeson Puleo.
Morrissey was not done as he opened the scoring in the middle period 3:27 in for a 3-0 lead. West Haven scored 3 times in the period to put the game away as Brandon Cangiano scored off assists from Wyatt Condon and Matt Kelly with 3:47 left in the period and Scranton set up Puleo just 2:42 later.
“We needed a positive,” Morrell said. “We had not had a positive in a while. We got what we needed. It was a good game for us.”
The Westies iced the game with 3 more goals in the third period. Hansen got the first two, coming 4:09 apart, for a 6-0 lead. Morrissey and Hunter Cole set up Hansen’s first tally and Morrissey and Scranton did the honors on his second tally.
Morrissey rounded out the scoring with 33 seconds remaining in the game with his second short-handed goal of the game off assists from Puleo and Joe Ayala.
Mike Savino made 25 saves in sharing the shutout with Joe Bepko. Bepko made 2 saves.
“Mike (Savino) played really well,” Morrell said. “They did a good job on us in the first period. We played really well after that. Mike did a nice job.”
Falcons soar past Westies
WH falls 7-3 in home finale
By MIKE MADERA
WEST HAVEN (February 23, 2013) – Just one game after qualifying for the CIAC state tournament, the West Haven hockey team was hoping to improve its seeding in the postseason.
That plan did not start well for the Westies. Allowing 4 goals in the third period, the Westies fell to Xavier 7-3 at the Edward L. Bennett Rink Saturday afternoon on Senior Day.
The loss dropped the Westies to 7-10-2 with one game remaining against North Haven Wednesday afternoon at the Northford Ice Pavilion at 4 p.m. The Falcons improved to 11-6-2 with the victory.
“We had way too many breakdowns,” West Haven coach Joe Morrell said. “The mistakes were in the middle as well. When we make mistakes, the puck ends up in the back of the net.”
Anthony Lanziero makes a glove save against Xavier, February 23, 2013. Photo courtesy of Todd Dandelske.
Despite the loss, the Westies again had a bright spot in Austin Hansen. The West Haven senior scored twice, marking his eighth goal in 2 games. Hansen has had a part in 20 of West Haven’s last 24 goals.
“He has played really well,” Morrell said of Hansen. “He has come up with some big goals. What can you say about him? He’s been great.”
Trailing 3-1 to start the third period, the Westies did not get off to the start they would have liked. Xavier scored twice in 29 seconds in the first minute, 28 seconds of the final period to take a 5-1 lead.
The goals by Kade McCartin 59 seconds in on the power play and Bryan Stanton gave the Falcons a cushion they would need.
West Haven came right back, scoring a pair of power play goals to get within 5-3. West Haven’s power play scored on 3 of its 4 power play opportunities in the game.
“I thought the power play looked really good,” Morrell said.
Hansen got West Haven within 5-2 when he scored off a rebound on the power play 3:37 into the final period with assists going to Brandon Cangiano and Jim Morrissey.
The Westies continued the pressure and had the momentum over the next five minutes. Shots by Alex Scranton from the point and Morrissey from the slot were denied, but the Westies were awarded another power play a short time later.
With a 2-man advantage, Peter Lynn scored from in front off assists from Hansen and Jaeson Puleo to cut the deficit to 5-3.
West Haven had all the momentum, but could not capitalize. After Matt Kelly was denied in front by Xavier goaltender Paul Hotchkiss with 5:25 remaining, Xavier iced the game with 2 goals in the final 4 minutes.
Matt Kelly skates up the ice against Xavier, February 23, 2013. Photo courtesy of Todd Dandelske.
Ryan McLellan scored with 4 minutes to go and Jack Gethings added an unassisted goal 1:22 later for the 7-3 final.
“We had the momentum but then we had too many breakdowns,” Morrell said. “When we make mistakes, it ends up in the back of the net.”
Xavier controlled play to start the game with a 13-5 shot advantage in the opening period. The Falcons capitalized as Will Stanton scored on the power play 7:47 in and Andrew Meoli fired a laser over the shoulder of West Haven goaltender Anthony Lanziero for a 2-0 lead with 5:32 to go in the opening period.
Anthony Lanziero prepares to make a stop against Xavier, February 23, 2013. Photo courtesy of Todd Dandelske.
Hansen got the Westies within 2-1 just 5:11 into the middle period when he buried a power play goal past starting goaltender Ben Guidobono off assists from Lynn and Scranton. Just 1:22 later, Xavier was up 3-1 when Warren Howe beat Lanziero.
Guidobono kept the lead at 2 goals as he denied Jeremy Borelli and Hansen on the rebound with 3:25 left in the middle period and stopped Hansen in front 55 seconds later.
Guidobono finished with 14 saves, while Hotchkiss had 11. Lanziero finished with 30 saves in the loss for West Haven.
Hansen powers Westies to postseason
Senior scores 6 goals in win over Fermi-Enfield
By MIKE MADERA
(February 21, 2013) – Austin Hansen had one goal in mind when the West Haven hockey team traveled to play Fermi-Enfield Thursday afternoon. That goal was to help his team qualify for the postseason.
To say Hansen accomplished this goal would be an understatement. Scoring 6 times in the contest, including a pair within 19 seconds in the second period, Hansen led the Westies to a 7-5 victory.
The road victory improved West Haven’s record to 7-9-2 and clinched a berth in the postseason.
“We knew we had a good chance to clinch against this team,” Hansen said after scoring 3 short-handed goals, 1 on the power play and 2 at even strength. “If the team is to play well, it has to start with me. I was fortunate most of the goals came off good passes from my teammates.”
Hansen stated he was feeling tired in the contest until he missed a penalty shot in the second period. The missed shot got Hansen going and the senior did not miss, scoring all 4 West Haven goals in the middle period.
After Jacob Quinn scored twice in the first 5 minutes, 33 seconds of the second period to give Fermi-Enfield a 3-2 lead, Hansen took over. With assists going to Jim Morrissey and Peter Lynn, Hansen beat Fermi goaltender Aaron Lickwar with 4:23 remaining in the period to even the game at 3.
Hansen was not done. His goal 1:35 later gave West Haven the lead for good before he gave the Westies breathing room with a pair of goals in 19 seconds in the final 28 seconds of the period.
“I felt tired as I had a lot of ice time,” Hansen said. “I missed a penalty shot, and after that, I turned up my game.”
Brian Riley got Fermi-Enfield within 6-4 just 58 seconds into the third period, but Hansen was not going to let anyone ruin West Haven’s berth to the state tournament. With assists going to Morrissey and Alex Scranton, Hansen gave West Haven a 7-4 lead with 1:15 remaining to cap the road to the postseason.
“He was unbelievable,” West Haven coach Joe Morrell said of Hansen. “He scored 6 and he missed a penalty shot and some good chances in front. He could have had 9 goals today. It was unbelievable.
“We have relied on him these last few games. It has been so impressive because he has done it in games which are so important. This was a big game for us. This was not the second game of the year. We had to win this game.”
Hansen has carried the team over the last 6 games. In that time frame, the Westies have scored 21 goals and Hansen has had a part in 18 of those tallies.
“It has not just been today,” Morrell said. “In the last 4 games, he has been in on every goal but three. He has scored when we have needed wins.”
The game did not start off quickly for the Westies as Jason Despard’s goal 5:14 into the game put the Westies in a 1-0 hole. That deficit was short-lived as Hansen scored off assists from Joe Ayala and Morrissey 42 seconds later to tie the game and Devin Hines scored with 1:59 left in the period for a 2-1 lead.
“It feels good to be in,” Morrell said of qualifying for the postseason. “We have had a lot of heartbreaking losses where we didn’t finish. We were able to get the win and get in.”
Mike Savino made 25 saves in the win for the Westies.
Savino’s 45 saves leads WH to 3-3 tie with Hamden and closer to postseason
By MIKE MADERA
WEST HAVEN (February 16, 2013) – Sometimes a tie is as good as a win in hockey. Such was the case Saturday afternoon when Hamden and West Haven played to a 3-3 tie at the Edward L. Bennett Rink.
The tie allowed Hamden to qualify for the postseason with a 7-7-2 record, while the Westies inched closer, improving to 6-9-2. The Westies need either a win or two ties in their final three games to play in the state tournament.
“We got in and that is what we wanted,” Hamden coach Bill Verneris said. “You throw the records out with this rivalry. This rivalry has gone on before I was a little kid and I know Joe (Morrell) watched this rivalry as a kid. It still lives on. West Haven played their hearts out.”
West Haven needed to rely on goaltender Mike Savino for the tie as Hamden held a 48-28 shot advantage in the game, including 34-14 in the second and third periods combined. Savino was outstanding, particularly in the final minutes of regulation and the opening minutes of overtime.
The sophomore goaltender stopped Tyler Carangelo twice in the final 2 minutes, 40 seconds of regulation, then stopped Carangelo on a breakaway 2:04 into the overtime.
Read the remainder of this article in the Milford-Orange Bulletin here.
Alex Scranton (3) takes a shot with Austin Hansen in front against Hamden, February 16, 2013. Photo courtesy of Todd Dandelske.
Mike Savino prepares for a shot against Hamden, February 16, 2013. Photo courtesy of Todd Dandelske.
Jaeson Puleo one-times a shot against Hamden, February 16, 2013. Photo courtesy of Todd Dandelske.
Brandon Cangiano (18) and Jaeson Puleo (2) look for a rebound against Hamden, February 16, 2013. Photo courtesy of Todd Dandelske.
Jim Morrissey (5) celebrates his second period goal against Hamden, February 16, 2013. Photo courtesy of Todd Dandelske.
Kevin Coyle tips a shot in front against Scarsdale, New York, February 14, 2013. Photo courtesy of Todd Dandelske.
Hansen and Savino lead Westies past Scarsdale, N.Y., 5-2
By MIKE MADERA
WEST HAVEN (February 14, 2013) – It has been 8 days since the West Haven hockey team was on the ice in a gut-wrenching tie with South Windsor. Since that time, a winter storm dumped over 2 feet of snow on the area and the only ice the Westies saw was on the pavement.
Skating for the first time since blowing a late lead against South Windsor, the Westies looked like they put the rest to good use. Behind 2 goals and 3 assists from Austin Hansen, West Haven defeated Scarsdale, New York 5-2 Thursday afternoon at the Edward L. Bennett Rink.
Austin Hansen scored twice and added 3 assists against Scarsdale, New York, February 14, 2013. Photo courtesy of Todd Dandelske.
With the win, West Haven improved to 6-9-1 and needs either 2 wins or a win and a tie in its last four games to qualify for the postseason. Scarsdale fell to 12-6-1.
“This was definitely a huge game for us,” Hansen said. “We know we have to win games. After a week off, we were sloppy at times but we came up with a huge win.
“Coach (Joe Morrell) has signs up in the locker room that say “Urgency” in bold letters. We understand what we need to do. This team was built to make the playoffs. The season has not gone as we would have liked so far but we know we have to keep winning.”
Hansen provided the spark and the leadership in the game as he was all over the ice. Having a part in all 3 goals against South Windsor, Hansen continued the trend as he was part of all 5 goals against the Raiders.
Hansen helped get things going for the Westies in the first period with the Westies on the power play. Positioned behind the net, Hansen sent a perfect pass to Jaeson Puleo who one-timed a shot past Scarsdale goaltender Ian Marinelli for a 1-0 lead 4 minutes, 21 seconds into the game.
Jaeson Puleo scores one of his 2 goals against Scarsdale, New York, February 14, 2013. Photo courtesy of Todd Dandelske.
“He (Hansen) has been playing so well the last few games,” West Haven coach Joe Morrell said. “He is really playing well. He has carried us the last two games. He has been in on every point the last two games. We have scored eight goals and he has eight points.”
The Westies increased the lead to 2-0 with 5:48 gone by in the second period. Hansen was positioned in front of the goal and backhanded a rebound of a Brandon Cangiano shot past Marinelli for the second West Haven goal.
Just 2:01 later, West Haven led 3-0. Hansen set up Joe Ayala, who ripped a shot past Marinelli from the slot.
Joe Ayala celebrates his goal against Scarsdale, New York, February 14, 2013. Photo courtesy of Todd Dandelske.
“There is a little pressure knowing the team depends on you,” Hansen said of being relied on offensively. “I just try to get the offense going. My teammates did a good job of getting me the puck and putting the puck in the net.”
The Raiders finally solved West Haven goaltender Mike Savino with 4:48 left in the middle period. Savino was brilliant for most of the game, finishing with 25 saves.
Stephen Nicholas scored the first of his two goals as he spun around and put a backhander past Savino to cut the deficit to 3-1. Nicholas would be the only Scarsdale player to beat Savino as he scored with 3:04 remaining in the game to cut the deficit to 5-2.
Mike Savino made 25 saves against Scarsdale, New York, February 14, 2013. Photo courtesy of Todd Dandelske.
“This was a big game for us,” Savino said. “It was a long layoff and it was tough as our legs were heavy. We know we have to do the little things right. We have to play every game and go in thinking it is do or die.”
Hansen got the lead back to 3 goals just 1:03 after Scarsdale got on the scoreboard. Getting a perfect lead pass from Devin Hines, Hansen fired a rocket to the lower right corner for a 4-1 lead.
The Westies capped their scoring in the third period when Puleo scored his second power play goal of the game with 8:09 remaining.
Savino was the star of the third period as he made 12 saves, including 7 in the opening 5:30 of the period. Savino’s best save came when he denied Scarsdale sniper James Nicholas’ laser from the right faceoff circle 4:34 into the final period.
“We knew he was going to be tested in that third period,” Morrell said. “He came up huge. "
West Haven looks to inch closer to the postseason Saturday afternoon when the Westies host Hamden at 1 p.m.
Jaeson Puleo celebrates his goal against South Windsor, February 6, 2013. Photo courtesy of Todd Dandelske.
Austin Hansen scores against South Windsor, February 6, 2013. Photo courtesy of Todd Dandelske.
Brandon Cangiano looks for a rebound against South Windsor, February 6, 2013. Photo courtesy of Todd Dandelske.
Late South Windsor goal takes sure victory from WH
By MIKE MADERA
WEST HAVEN (February 6, 2013) – If ever a game summarized West Haven’s hockey season, Wednesday evening at the Edward L. Bennett Rink was the contest.
With both the Westies and South Windsor needing the game as each entered the contest with 5 wins, West Haven was 32 seconds away from a victory. But, a turnover in the South Windsor end allowed for a length of the ice rush by the Bobcats and a goal by Connor Hibbs with 32 seconds left in regulation to force a 3-3 tie.
The tie moves each team to 5-9-1 with 5 games remaining. Both the Westies and the Bobcats need either 3 wins or 2 wins and a tie in the final 5 games to qualify for the postseason.
“This is how our year has gone,” West Haven coach Joe Morrell said. “We need to score more goals. We figured we needed four goals to win tonight and we got three. This (tie) doesn’t help us. To us, it’s a loss.”
Jaeson Puleo hits the crossbar against South Windsor, February 6, 2013. Photo courtesy of Todd Dandelske.
The game also saw some controversy as a ruling by the officials which saw South Windsor’s Christopher Jones receive a major penalty and a game misconduct for boarding with 3 minutes, 58 seconds remaining in the second period overturned by the officials between the second and third periods.
Read the rest of this article in the Milford-Orange Bulletin here.
ND pounds Westies
WH falls to 5-9 with 6-1 loss
By MIKE MADERA
WEST HAVEN (February 2, 2013) – The last time cross-town rivals Notre Dame and West Haven met, the Green Knights made sure to set the tone of the game early, with a goal just seconds into the contest. That contest was the semifinals of the CIAC state tournament, where the Green Knights would eventually win and take home the state crown last season.
Fast forward 10 months, the start of the game and the results were just about the same. Notre Dame scored 3 times in the opening period, held a 25-2 shot advantage in the stanza, and went on to defeat the Westies 6-1 at the Edward L. Bennett Rink Saturday afternoon on Veterans Appreciation Day.
“We got on top and got things going early,” Notre Dame coach Bill Gerosa said. “With the rivalry and everything, I was happy with the win. I was a little disappointed we lost focus at the end, but happy with the win.”
West Haven was contained all day by the Green Knights in a 6-1 loss, February 2, 2013. Photo courtesy of Todd Dandelske.
The Green Knights, the second-ranked team in the New Haven Register Top 10 poll, improved to 11-2 by winning their fourth straight game and completely dominated from start to finish. In the process, Notre Dame’s Bill Vizzo recorded the hat trick and his 100th career point when he scored in the second period to give the Green Knights a 4-0 lead.
“It means a lot,” Vizzo said of the 100 points. “It is a big achievement. But, I can’t do it without my teammates.”
After a moving opening ceremony to honor the veterans prior to the contest, Notre Dame wasted no time setting the pace. The Green Knights were bigger and faster from the start and used that to their advantage early as Matthew Dostie tipped home a shot from James Davins for a 1-0 lead with 3 minutes, 58 seconds gone by in the game.
West Haven goaltender Mike Savino kept the Westies in the game by stopping Ryan Lynch on a rebound in front and Matthew Dumas from the side.
Savino made 10 saves before the Green Knights put the game away early. With Notre Dame on the power play, Darren Capobianco’s point shot was tipped in front by Lynch for a 2-0 lead with 7:42 left in the opening period.
Just 53 seconds later, Notre Dame increased the lead to 3-0. Eric Austin fed Louis Iannotti with a perfect pass to the point and Iannotti shot a laser to the top corner with 6:49 remaining in the opening period.
“We knew we had to come out flying,” Vizzo said after also adding an assist. “We had to get off to a quick start. The rivalry helps.
“This is a big win for us. It is very important we keep getting better. We can be a really good team. This team works hard.”
The Green Knights were so dominant to start the game they held a 13-0 shot advantage before West Haven’s first shot on goal with 4:58 remaining in the period. That shot, a backhander in front by Jeremy Borelli, was denied by Notre Dame goaltender Paul Sliwinski.
The Westies had limited scoring chances against Notre Dame, February 2, 2013. Photo courtesy of Todd Dandelske.
“We seemed to panic in the zone and kept giving them the puck off the boards,” West Haven coach Joe Morrell said after his team was outshot 50-18 in the game. “We kept giving the puck to them. We would get the puck and give it to them and get it and give it to them.
“I am concerned. I was concerned two weeks ago. I am concerned overall. We can’t get anything going.”
Notre Dame's Paul Sliwinski makes one of his 17 saves against West Haven, February 2, 2013. Photo courtesy of Todd Dandelske.
The Westies have lost 5 of their last 6 games, are 5-9 and need 3 wins in their final 6 games to play in the postseason.
West Haven had its opportunities to get back in the game in the second period but could not capitalize. The Westies managed only two shots on a 5-on-3 advantage which lasted 3 minutes, saw Sliwinski stop breakaways by Austin Hansen and Peter Lynn and a shot in front by Jim Morrissey.
The Westies can not get a shot by Notre Dame's Paul Sliwinski, February 2, 2013. Photo courtesy of Todd Dandelske.
The Green Knights extended the lead to 4-0 as the West Haven power plays expired. Vizzo was positioned in front of the net and knocked in a rebound with 5:02 gone by in the second period for his 100th career point.
“Billy Vizzo is a natural scorer,” Gerosa said. “He has a knack for the net.”
The Green Knights ended any hope of a West Haven comeback just 4:05 into the third period when Dumas set up Vizzo’s second goal of the game for a 5-0 lead.
West Haven finally got on the board 1:02 later as Joe Ayala beat Sliwinski in front off assists from Hansen and Wyatt Condon, but Notre Dame answered 53seconds later on Vizzo’s third of the game.
Mike Savino gets prepared to make one of his 44 saves against Notre Dame, February 2, 2013. Photo courtesy of Todd Dandelske.
Notre Dame looked as if it would see two milestones on the day as Greg Zullo picked up his 99th career point when he assisted on Vizzo’s first goal. Zullo would not get that final point, leaving him one point away from the 100-point milestone.
Brandon Cangiano looks to make a play in West Haven's 5-2 loss to the Lancers, January 30, 2013. Photo courtesy of Todd Dandelske.
Westies fall to Lancers, 5-2
By MIKE MADERA
(January 30, 2013) – As the regular season draws nearer to a close, so to do the chances of the West Haven boys’ hockey team playing in the postseason. Losing to Notre Dame-Fairfield 5-2 Wednesday evening at the Milford Ice Pavilion, the Westies fell to 5-8 and need 3 wins in their final 7 games to play in the postseason.
The road only gets harder for the Westies as they return home to play Notre Dame-West Haven, the second-ranked team in the New Haven Register Top 10 poll, Saturday afternoon.
"It is another tough one," West Haven coach Joe Morrell said. "We are still struggling to put the puck in the net. We have to have more than two people scoring.
"We need three more. Every time we lose, it is one step closer. When you lose, it is another one of the schedule."
Despite second period goals by Jim Morrissey and Austin Hansen, the Westies were never able to build off the momentum.
The Lancers controlled most of the play in the first period (16-3 shot advantage) and West Haven goaltender Anthony Lanziero was more than ready for the task in the game as Lanziero turned aside 43 of 48 shots by the Lancers.
Anthony Lanziero makes a save against Notre Dame-Fairfield, January 30, 2013. Photo courtesy of Todd Dandelske.
"They outshot us 16-3 in the first period but Anthony (Lanziero) kept us in the game," Morrell said. "We started to play better and had opportunities at the end."
Lanziero’s efforts helped the Westies stay within 3-2 in the final 3 minutes of the game before Notre Dame put the game away. Junior Cooper Demchak scored an insurance goal with 2 minutes, 36 seconds left in regulation for a 4-2 Lancer lead.
"We swapped chances and went back and forth," Morrell said. "They scored with about three minutes left and added an empty net goal. We had opportunities. We are just struggling to score. We are having a hard time putting the puck in the net."
Senior Jake Novak rounded out the Lancers scoring in the final seconds. Novak’s goal with 2 seconds remaining made the final 5-2.
Notre Dame came out with all the pressure in the first period. Lanziero came up big, but could not stop Greg Ferris’ shot on the power play with 5 minutes, 50 seconds remaining in the opening period.
Notre Dame’s lead remained until 3:57 into the second period. Alone in front, Morrissey beat Lancers’ goaltender Stone Denbok to even the game at 1.
The Westies then caught an unfortunate break. With 6:59 left in the middle period, a rebound went right to Christian LaCroix who beat Lanziero for a 2-1 Notre Dame lead.
The Westies continued to battle and evened the game with 2:12 remaining in the middle period. Hansen scored short-handed and all the momentum was on West Haven’s side.
That momentum was immediately taken away as Notre Dame’s Matt Heim scored a power play goal on a laser with 1 minute left in the period.The Westies never caught up. Despite being on the power play late, West Haven never got the equalizer.
Jaeson Puleo was denied from in front late and the Westies' chances slipped away.
Morrissey leads Westies past Milford
Junior scores twice in 4-2 win
By MIKE MADERA
MILFORD (January 26, 2013) – If ever a team needed a win, that team was the West Haven hockey team. Fresh off a stunning loss to Amity, the Westies were well aware the time on the regular season clock was ticking away.
Jimmy Morrissey and company were not about to let another opportunity slip away. Led by two goals from Morrissey, the Westies defeated Milford 4-2 at the Milford Ice Pavilion Saturday afternoon.
“This is a big win for us,” Morrissey said. “We have to make the playoffs. That is our number one goal. This win today is huge.”
The victory allowed West Haven to inch closer to the state tournament as the Westies improved to 5-7. Milford, despite dominating the third period, fell to 6-5.
“The only positive out of today is we got the win,” West Haven coach Joe Morrell said. “After losing a game to Amity the other day, a game we felt we had to win, this was a big win for us.”
Morrell’s disappointment after the game was due to Milford’s domination of the third period. The Indians outshot West Haven 16-6 in the period and outscored the Westies 2-0.
Read the rest of this article in the Milford-Orange Bulletin here
Spartans stun Westies
Late goal erases West Haven rally
By MIKE MADERA
WEST HAVEN (January 24, 2013) – Amity’s Brett McNeil and his teammates remember too well what it was like to not qualify for the postseason last year. With an opportunity to erase that memory, McNeil was not about to let the chance slip away.
McNeil sent his team to the postseason as he scored on a breakaway with 1 minute, 50 seconds remaining in the game to give the Spartans a 4-3 win over West Haven at the Edward L. Bennett Rink Thursday evening.
The goal was McNeil’s second of the game and helped the Spartans bounce back from blowing leads of 2-0 and 3-1. The win improved Amity’s record to 8-2 on the year.
“It is good to do it (qualify) so early on,” McNeil said. “Now, we can work on getting a good seed and play in the SCC championship. That is one of our goals.
“This is a good win for us because we bounced back after blowing the lead. We did not give up. I knew we could pull it out in the end."
McNeil's goal was a bad break for the Westies as the Westies failed to keep the puck in the Amity zone and McNeil got by the West Haven defense before beating West Haven goaltender Mike Savino for the winner.
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Despite battling to the end, the Westies fell to the Lancers, January 30, 2013. Photo courtesy of Todd Dandelske.
THE HOME OF WEST HAVEN SPORTS
Jim Morrissey scores against Notre Dame-Fairfield, January 30, 2013. Photo courtesy of Todd Dandelske.
Austin Hansen celebrates his goal against Notre Dame-Fairfield, January 30, 2013. Photo courtesy of Todd Dandelske.
BOYS HOCKEY 2012-2013
The Westies will need several contributors on offense in 2012-2013, including Jaeson Puleo, seen here scoring against Ridgefield in last season's state tournament. Photo courtesy of Todd Dandelske.
Matt Kelly (27) skates up the ice with Tyler Paine (4) in West Haven's 5-1 loss to Fairfield Prep, January 16, 2013. Photo courtesy of Todd Dandelske.
Devin Hines skates against Fairfield Prep, January 16, 2013. Photo courtesy of Todd Dandelske.
Westies fall to Prep
Early goals key to Jesuits’ win
By MIKE MADERA
WEST HAVEN (January 16, 2013) – Fairfield Prep’s top line of David White, Nick Bargiello and Connor Henry is nicknamed the Red Line by the Jesuits. The name was fitting Wednesday as that line had the Westies seeing red all night.
The line combined to score all five goals and had a total of 13 points as the top-ranked Jesuits defeated West Haven 5-1 at the Edward L. Bennett Rink Wednesday evening.
“It was a nice night for them,” Fairfield Prep coach Matt Sather said. “We call them the Red Line. They scored all five goals tonight. Saturday, our White Line had three goals.
“We are pretty balanced this year. We have two or three lines which can put the puck in the net. It is nice to have.”
The Jesuits (9-0) wasted no time setting the tone of the contest, scoring twice in the first 2 minutes, 24 seconds of the game. Both goals came off the stick of Connor Henry as the senior forward beat West Haven goaltender Mike Savino from in front 42 seconds in, then scored 18 seconds into a power play for a 2-0 lead.
Prep, which outshot West Haven 14-5 in the opening period, dominated throughout the period but could not increase the lead as Savino stopped Kenny Kochiss in front with a pad save and denied Sean Henry from the point.
West Haven (4-6) cut the deficit in half with 6:37 remaining in the opening period. Peter Lynn beat Prep goaltender Chris Gutierrez from the slot off assists from Don Froehlich and Jim Morrissey to give the Westies life.
That life lasted 21 seconds. As quickly as the Westies cut into the Prep lead was as quickly as the Jesuits responded. Bargiello and Connor Henry assisted on White’s first goal of the game for a 3-1 Fairfield Prep lead.
Mike Savino makes a save against Fairfield Prep, January 16, 2013. Photo courtesy of Todd Dandelske.
Any hope of a West Haven comeback rode on the early play in the second period. The hope faded just 20 seconds into the middle period as White poked the puck past Savino from in front for a 4-1 lead.
“They scored two quick goals in the first two periods,” West Haven coach Joe Morrell said. “We knew we had to be smarter and be in the right positions. At times, we were not. Those early goals hurt.”
The Jesuits increased the lead to 5-1 just 4:34 later when White set up Bargiello in front and Bargiello easily beat Savino with 10:06 left in the middle period for a 5-1 lead.
While the Fairfield Prep offense was cruising, the Westies had limited opportunities with 13 shots on goal in the game. West Haven’s best opportunity of the second period came when Jaeson Puleo was denied from the slot on the power play with 5:16 left in the period.
“We knew we were not going to get a lot of opportunities,” Morrell said. “We knew we would get about six decent opportunities.”
Anthony Lanziero played in goal in the third period for West Haven and made several big saves, including a breakaway stop. Lanziero finished with 11 saves in the final period.
Anthony Lanziero stops Fairfield Prep's Connor Henry, January 16, 2013. Photo courtesy of Todd Dandelske.
“I thought he played very well,” Morrell said of Lanziero.
White and Connor Henry each finished with 2 goals and 3 assists, while Bargiello finished with a goal and 2 assists. Gutierrez made 12 saves in the victory.
Savino made 24 saves in the loss for West Haven.
Hamden nips Westies
DeMatties scores twice to lead Green Dragons
By MIKE MADERA
(January 12, 2013) – In the midst of a tough stretch of games, the West Haven hockey team is well aware of the importance of each of the games. Having started the stretch with a tough road win over Simsbury, the Westies were looking to post a victory Saturday afternoon at Hamden with top-ranked Fairfield Prep next on the schedule.
Unfortunately for the Westies, the win did not come Saturday afternoon in Hamden. Led by a pair of second period goals by Mike DeMatties, Hamden rallied to defeatWest Haven 3-2 at Lou Astorino Rink.
“We always look at the week and we had a chance to go three for three in our games,”West Haven coach Joe Morrell said. “We won two out of three. We had some chances. We just did not get it done.”
Those chances Morrell was talking about came on the breakaway as Hamdengoaltender Matt Hoff denied Jaeson Puleo on a partial break and stopped Austin Hansen on the break with a pad save.
After scoring twice in the first period, the Westies were shut out in the final 30 minutes. The loss dropped West Haven to 4-5.
Hamden and West Haven traded goals to open the game as Tyler Carangelo and Joe O’Connor set up Jim Magson and Don Froehlich set up Hansen for West Haven.
Austin Hansen scores for West Haven against Hamden in a 3-2 Hamden victory, January 12, 2013. Photo courtesy of Todd Dandelske.
With 2 minutes, 39 seconds remaining in the opening period, Peter Lynn set up Puleo to give West Haven a 2-1 lead after one period of play.
Jaeson Puleo dekes and scores against Hamden, January 12, 2013. Photos courtesy of Todd Dandelske.
DeMatties then took over. The Hamden forward beat West Haven goaltender Mike Savino 1:32 into the second period to even the game at two and scored with 4:18 left in the second for a 3-2 Hamden lead.
“We ran around a little bit,” Morrell said. “We took too many penalties. Mike Savino played realty well.”
Neither team scored again. Hamden’s Hoff faced only 18 shots in the game and made 16 saves in the win. Savino was a lot busier than Hoff, finishing with 28 saves in the loss.
Mike Savino makes one of his 28 saves against Hamden, January 12, 2013. Photo courtesy of Todd Dandelske.
Hamden improved to 4-3-1 with the win.
Austin Hansen looks to make a play against Hamden, January 12, 2013. Photo courtesy of Todd Dandelske.
Alex Scranton moves the puck against Hamden, January 12, 2013. Photo courtesy of Todd Dandelske.
Hitting their Stride
Westies get to .500 with victory
By MIKE MADERA
(January 9, 2013) – West Haven coach Joe Morrell spoke of the importance of getting to the .500 mark. With the meat of the schedule just around the corner, Morrell wanted his team to realize the importance of Wednesday evening’s contest as the team took over an hour to get to Simsbury.
Morrell’s team got the message. Led by 1 goal and 2 assists from Austin Hansen and 21 saves by Mike Savino, the Westies defeated Simsbury 3-1. The victory allowed the Westies to improve to 4-4 with the likes of Hamden, Fairfield Prep and Notre Dame looming.
“This is a big win for us,” Morrell said. “To be 4-4 after going to Simsbury on a 1 hour and 20 minute bus ride is big. We knew we had to be here going into this stretch.”
Needing the win, the Westies turned to their leader in Hansen. The senior wasted no time putting the Westies on the board when he scored just 1 minute into the game.
Savino and the West Haven defense made the goal hold up until the second period began as West Haven scored another early goal. Hansen was part of that goal as well when, along with Donny Froehlich, he set up Jim Morrissey for a goal just 1:35 into the period for a 2-0 lead.
Simsbury battled and tested Savino before finally getting a shot past the West Havennet minder. Just 2:10 into the final period, Dave Olechna beat Savino and put the pressure on the Westies.
That pressure was relieved 4:03 later. Hansen sent Morrissey in on a breakaway and Morrissey made a good move to beat Simsbury’s Andrew Several for a 3- 1lead.
“We scored a goal in the first minute of the game,” Morrell said. “We made it 2-0 in the second and they scored right away in the third. But, we came back about three minutes or so later with a nice goal by Jim Morriossey. That was a big goal.”
Savino played well in goal for West Haven, saving 21 shots.
“I thought Mike played really well,” Morrell said. “We have a tough schedule ahead. That benefits us now because the schedule we play has prepared us.
“I think we are playing with more confidence. You can see it out there with the defense and forwards. The first two weeks of the game season we looked as if we were afraid to make a mistake. Now, we look a little more comfortable out there.”
Several made 25 saves as Simsbury fell to 4-3.
Westies defeat East Haven 2-1
By MIKE MADERA
(January 5, 2013) – If the West Haven boys’ hockey team ever needed a win, that time was Saturday afternoon. With the likes of Simsbury, Hamden, Fairfield Prep and cross-town rival Notre Dame looming, the Westies were well aware they needed to start compiling victories.
Led by the offense of Jaeson Puleo and Peter Lynn and the goaltending of Mike Savino, the Westies rallied to defeat East Haven 2-1 at the Patsy DiLungo Rink in East Haven.
“This was big for the confidence of the team,” West Haven coach Joe Morrell said. “This was big, not so much because of what they are and what their record is, but for us. We knew what we had to do. We needed to get the win and we were able to do that.
“We talked before the game. We were either going to be the shovel that put the dirt in the hole or the shovel that took the dirt out of the hole. We felt we could not afford to go deeper.”
The key to the contest came on special teams. The Westies scored on their lone power play opportunity and the penalty killing unit killed off three of four East Havenpower play opportunities.
While the special teams unit was doing its part, Savino was equally impressive in goal. The West Haven defense held East Haven to 16 shots and Savino made 15 saves in the contest
Savino allowed only a first period goal 5 minutes, 34 seconds into the game. With Joe Ayala in the penalty box for holding, Mike Falanga beat Savino off assists from Tristan Goodwin and Matt Longobardi for a 1-0 lead.
The Westies needed just 5:02 to respond. Off assists from Jim Morrissey and Austin Hansen, West Haven’s Jaeson Puleo beat East Haven goaltender Zak Bouve to even the game at 1.
West Haven had its opportunities but could not capitalize in the first period aside from the goal by Puleo. The Westies had 24 shots in the game, but only found the net twice.
“We had a lot of opportunities,” Morrell said. “We have to score some goals. The pressure was on us going into the game. They are going to get in the tournament. We have to battle. It was a big game.”
The Westies scored the eventual winner in the second period. Peter Lynn beat Bouve off an assist from Morrissey as West Haven took a 2-1 lead.
The rest was up to Savino. The West Haven goaltender stood tall and did not allow another East Haven goal.
Savino and the West Haven penalty killing unit were at their best in the third period. Each contributed to killing off a pair of East Haven power plays in the opening 7 minutes of the third period.
Bouve made 22 saves in the loss for East Haven.
Westies fall to Glastonbury despite better effort
By MIKE MADERA
WEST HAVEN (December 31, 2012) – After falling to Xavier in convincing fashion in the second round of the West Haven Christmas Tournament, West Haven coach Joe Morrell was looking for a better effort in the consolation game against Glastonbury.
Morrell got the effort he was looking for but it was not enough in a 3-1 loss to the Tomahawks at the Edward L. Bennett Rink Monday afternoon. The New Year’s Eve loss sent the Westies to a 2-4 record.
“It was the best game we played,” Morrell said. “We competed. After the Xavier game, all the coaches talked and we said we did not compete. We did not win any battles. Today, we won some battles. We just have to put the puck in the net.”
The Westies played a talented Glastonbury team hard through the end. Two mistakes would prove costly to the Westies.
Leading 1-0 and dominating the first period, West Haven lost the momentum when it failed to clear the puck out of the zone and allowed Glastonbury’s Avery Clair to score with 3 seconds remaining in the first period.
Clair’s tying goal erased a sensational opening period by West Haven goaltender Mike Savino who made 16 saves in the opening period.
“We were up 1-0,” Morrell said. “That goal hurt. We were playing so well. We were all over their goalie. We have to put the puck in the net when we have the chances.”
The second mistake came with 8 minutes, 56 seconds remaining in the third period. With the game still tied at 1, the Westies allowed Clair to go end to end without being touched and Clair scored the eventual winner.
“The kid (Clair) is very good,” Morrell said. “He went around the defense. He is a very good skater. But, we have to put the puck in the net. When we have opportunities to score, we have to capitalize. We can’t make two mistakes and let that be the game.”
Clair’s two goals spoiled a brilliant effort by Savino, who finished with 32 saves on the day. Savino was brilliant at times in the contest, particularly in the first period when he kept the Westies in front after Jim Morrissey scored a short-handed goal off an assist from Austin Hansen with 8:08 remaining in the period.
The Tomahawks pushed for the equalizer but Savino was not to be denied. The sophomore goaltender used a blocker save to stop Luke Dimarco with 7 minutes left in the opening period, denied a shot by Spencer Hosack from the left point with a glove save 3 minutes later and stopped Conner Thompson and the rebound by Isaac Ward one minute later.
“I thought Mike played really well,” Morrell said. “I thought he was very aggressive.”
The Westies had their chances to take the lead in the final two periods. Jaeson Puleo was denied in front by Glastonbury goaltender Chase Gabor 1:23 into the middle period, Alex Scranton was stopped by a pad save by Gabor 5 minutes in and Puleo was again stopped in front on the power play with 7:09 remaining in the middle period.
West Haven’s best chances came in the final 3 minutes of the second period as Gabor denied Don Froehlich from the point, stopped Morrissey from the high slot and denied Hansen’s one-timer with 1:35 left in the period.
The Westies had three quality scoring chances after Glastonbury took a 2-1 lead in the third. Puleo was stopped in front with 4:40 to go in the game, Peter Lynn was denied from the slot 23 seconds later and Scranton’s point shot was tipped by Morrissey but stopped with 2 minutes left.
Glastonbury iced the game with 15 seconds left when Tyler Walles scored into an empty net from the opposite end of the ice.
Gabor was impressive with 24 saves for the Tomahawks.
Westies fall to Xavier 6-0
By MIKE MADERA
WEST HAVEN (December 27, 2012) – Having won two games in a row, the confidence level of the West Haven hockey team had improved over the last week. The Westies knew a big test awaited them in the semifinals of the West Haven Christmas Tournament when Xavier visited the Bennett Rink.
West Haven passed the test in the first period but soon learned a complete 45 minutes of hockey is what it will take every night if the Wsties are to be successful this year. Allowing 4 goals in the second period, West Haven fell to Xavier 6-0 Thursday evening.
The Westies fell to 2-3 and will play Glastonbury Saturday evening at 5:15 p.m. in the consolation game.
“We struggled in our zone,” West Haven coach Joe Morrell said. “We put ourselves in bad positions. We have to play better.”
Led by two goals from Colin Beaudoin, a goal and an assist from Dan Dupont and two assists from Andrew Meoli, the Falcons cruised to the victory.
Leading 1-0 after one period on Dupont’s goal with 4 minutes, 45 seconds remaining in the opening period, Xavier put the game away with 4 goals in the middle period in the final 9:56.
Kade McCartin beat West Haven goaltender Mike Savino with a point shot through a screen for a 2-0 lead and Beaudoin scored 58 seconds later off assists from Meoli and Hunter Wilcox for a 3-0 lead.
Westies top Rams
Hansen scores twice in 3-2 victory
By MIKE MADERA
WEST HAVEN (December 22, 2012) – West Haven forward Austin Hansen is well aware of his role on this year’s team. Losing plenty of scoring to graduation, West Haven will need contributions from everyone.
Hansen is at the top of the list. The West Haven senior answered the call in the opening game of the West Haven Christmas Tournament as Hansen scored twice, including a penalty shot, to lead the Westies to a 3-2 victory over Cheshire Saturday afternoon at the Edward L. Bennett Rink.
“There is a little more pressure on me, but it is also more fun for me to score goals,” Hansen said after also picking up an assist. “We want to play well. As long as the team is playing good, that is all that matters.”
With the win, West Haven advanced to the semifinals of the tournament against Xavier Thursday evening at 5:15 p.m.
“We played two good periods and we had to hold on at the end,” West Haven coach Joe Morrell said after his team improved to 2-2.
While Hansen had a big game for the Westies, the turning point of the contest came just 23 seconds into the second period when West Haven’s Peter Lynn was called for a major penalty for hitting from behind. The penalty not only cost Lynn the rest of the contest and one more game, it put the Westies in a short-handed situation for the next five minutes.
Between the solid penalty killing of West Haven and the goaltending of Mike Savino,Cheshire never found the back of the net, preserving West Haven’s 2-0 lead.
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In the Win Column
Westies pick up first victory with 4-2 decision over Trinity Catholic
By MIKE MADERA
(December 19, 2012) – West Haven hockey coach Joe Morrell has not seen any of his teams start the season with three straight losses in the last 15 years. Morrell and his team were not about to let the streak end.
Shaking up the lines and scoring twice in each of the second and third periods, West Haven defeated Trinity Catholic 4-2 in Stamford Wednesday evening. With the win,West Haven improved to 1-2, while Trinity Catholic fell to 0-3.
“Absolutely, this was a big win for us,” Morrell said. “Anytime you start the season with two losses, it is big. This is the first time, I believe in 15 years, we have started the season 0-2. We have been 0-1-1 before. You do not want to start the season with three losses. It can become catchy.”
The Westies used a new mix of lines to score their highest amount of goals in a game through three contests. Moving Peter Lynn with Austin Hansen and Jim Morrissey, and having Jaeson Puleo log extra minutes between two lines, the West Haven offense clicked.
After a scoreless first period, the Westies scored first in the second period. Just 47 seconds into the period, Morrissey set up Hansen, who beat Kyle Odierno for a 1-0West Haven lead.
The lead would hold true throughout much of the period before Trinity evened the game with 5:39 remaining in the middle period. Freshman Eryk Wielgos beat West Haven goaltender Mike Savino to tie the game.
“Mike (Savino) played really well,” Morrell said. “He got a little help from the post early on, but he played really well.”
Puleo played a big role in giving the Westies the lead for good. With 30 seconds remaining in the second period, Puleo set up Joe Ayala for a goal, giving West Haventhe lead it would never relinquish.
“We have struggled to score goals,” Morrell said. “Having four kids on the board is huge for us.”
The Westies extended the lead to 3-1 early in the third period as Lynn scored an unassisted goal 2:47 into the period. Puleo and Hansen helped ice the game as they picked up assists on Morrissey’s goal with 10:12 left in the game for a 4-1 lead.
Trinity Catholic used a goal by Will Egan with 6:19 remaining but West Haven was able to hold off any further damage to post the victory.
“We have to keep getting better,” Morrell said. “It was our first win. I saw some positives but I also saw things we need to work on. It is important we put the puck in the net.”
Savino made 23 saves in posting the victory for West Haven. Odierno made 30 saves in defeat for Trinity Catholic.
Darien too much for Westies
WH starts season 0-2
By MIKE MADERA
(December 15, 2012) – With a tough schedule on the horizon and plenty of new faces in the lineup, West Haven coach Joe Morrell felt his team needed to get off to a quick start. Unfortunately, that has not happened.
After falling to Greenwich in the season opener, the team traveled south to playDarien Saturday evening. The outcome was not much better as the Blue Wave scored twice in the second period to take a 3-0 lead and defeated the Westies 5-1 in Darien.
With the loss, West Haven fell to 0-2. Darien, which defeated Hamden to open the season, improved to 2-0.
“We played better,” Morrell said. “It was 3-1 in the third period. The young kids played really hard. We outshot them 11-5 in the first period.”
West Haven only managed to get one shot past Darien goaltender Mike Collins as Jeremy Borelli scored with 8 minutes, 52 seconds left in the third period to cut the deficit to 3-1. Alex Scranton and Jaeson Puleo picked up assists on the goal which gave the Westies hope in the third period.
Less than 5 minutes later, that hope faded. Darien’s Jake Knowlton scored his second goal of the game off an assist from Brendan Hathaway with 3:56 remaining in the game to give Darien a 4-1 lead. Knowlton then assisted on Trent Bergin’s goal with 53 seconds remaining to ice the contest.
“I did see positive signs,” Morrell said. “The forecheck was very good at times and we moved a lot better than the Greenwich game.
“Unfortunately a lot of the kids are going through a learning situation. We have 10 kids that are new here on the ice. It will be a learning experience and they will learn as they play.”
The Westies fell behind right from the start as Hathaway set up Brent Bergin with 8:10 left in the first period for a 1-0 lead. West Haven was unable to get anything by Collins and went to the second period trailing by a goal.
With West Haven still looking for an identity on offense, two goals by Darien in the second period would prove to be too much to overcome.
Knowlton beat West Haven goaltender Mike Savino just 2:42 into the third period and Hathaway scored 59 seconds later to put all the momentum on Darien’s side.
The Blue Wave cruised from there as West Haven fell for the second straight game.
Savino made 23 saves in the loss for West Haven. Collins made 20 saves in the win for Darien.
West Haven's Jim Morrissey (above) tips in a shot for a goal, then celebrates (below) with Austin Hansen (8) and Jaeson Puleo (2) in a game against Greenwich, December 12, 2012. Photos courtesy of Todd Dandelske.
West Haven's Matt Kelly skates up the ice against Greenwich, December 12, 2012. Photo courtesy of Todd Dandelske.
West Haven's Devin Hines skates up the ice to join the offense in a game against Greenwich, December 12, 2012. Photo courtesy of Todd Dandelske.
West Haven's Brandon Cangiano lays a big hit against Greenwich (above and below) in a contest against Greenwich, December 12, 2012. Photos courtesy of Todd Dandelske.
Westies fall in opener
Late goals prove costly in 4-2 loss to Greenwich
By MIKE MADERA
WEST HAVEN (December 12, 2012) – Losing plenty of scoring to graduation, West Haven coach Joe Morrell was well aware his team would have to answer the scoring questions early in the season. Morrell also knew the other key for his team to be successful was getting the puck out of the defensive zone.
Unfortunately for the Westies, neither happened in the season opener against Greenwich Wednesday evening. Unable to capitalize on their minimal opportunities and failing to get the puck past the blue line, the Westies were defeated by Greenwich4-2 at the Edward L. Bennett Rink.
West Haven was hurt in the first two periods as Greenwich scored in the final 10 seconds of each. Any momentum West Haven built, particularly in the second period, was taken away with the late goals.
“We had some mental breakdowns,” Morrell said. “It is all about mental toughness. We have to be tough enough to not let that happen. We can not make those mistakes. Unfortunately, they put the puck in the net.”
Trailing 2-1 in the middle period after Jaeson Puleo scored for West Haven moments earlier, the Westies allowed Luke Finneran to make a perfect pass to Brian Silard. Silard wasted no time and beat West Haven goaltender Mike Savino just before time expired with 1 second remaining in the middle period for a 3-1 Greenwich lead.
The goal took whatever momentum the Westies had away. That momentum was created when Austin Hansen fed Puleo in front and Puleo’s shot deflected off the shoulder of Greenwich goaltender Bryan Archino into the net, cutting the deficit to 2-1 with 1 minute, 42 seconds remaining in the middle period.
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Westies looking to get back to Ingalls
By MIKE MADERA
Eight months have passed since the West Haven hockey team walked out of Ingalls Rink following a loss to rival Notre Dame in the semifinals of the CIAC state tournament. A new team brings a new journey.
For head coach Joe Morrell, no matter who the faces are, the goal remains the same. That goal is to get the necessary wins to play in the state tournament, then battle for a state title.
The run of last year’s team will be remembered for some time. Led by Kyle Leyerzapf, Adam Mink, Dan Granfield, Mike Troiano and a host of others, the Westies knocked off heavily favored Ridgefield in the quarterfinals, before falling to the Green Knights one win shy of the championship game.
With those four players and a total of eight graduating, the Westies will need to find an identity. Morrell feels his team can build off the success of last season while trying to accomplish the team’s goals.
“Our goals are always the same,” Morrell said. “We want to get the eight wins and qualify for the state tournament. It is the same goal every year and I think it is a realistic goal.
“I think you always try to carry it over. The kids remember the success of last year. They remember being there and talking about how great it was. They also know it took a lot of hard work to get there. It is going to take that hard work again.”
Morrell’s team is a young one in 2012-13 as there are only two seniors on the squad. Those seniors, Austin Hansen and Brandon Cangiano, will lead the way as the team’s captains.
“We do not have a lot of seniors,” Morrell said. “That will be hard on them. Last year, we had eight seniors. Everyone took a little piece. This year, they will have to be patient. They will have to help out and coach as much as they can.”
Hansen will anchor a first line from his right wing position. The line will also see juniors Jaeson Puleo on the left wing and Jimmy Morrissey at center.
Cangiano will also play right wing on the second line. That line will see juniors Matt Kelly on the left wing and Peter Lynn at center.
The first two lines will need to produce as the third line is the youngest. Sophomore Jake Lynch leads the line at center with fellow sophomore Kevin Coyle at right wing.
The left wing position will be a battle with freshmen Tyler Paine and Jeremy Borelli and sophomore Wyatt Condon battling for the spot.
“Last year, we had some core players with all the stats,” Morrell said. “But, the other kids were so valuable. They all stepped up. That was huge. We need to have kids step up this year.”
While the offense will need to work together to produce goals, the defense will need to find its cohesiveness as a unit. With only junior Alex Scranton returning to the back, plenty of new faces will be counted on to clear the zone.
Scranton will pair with sophomore Devin Hines as the first unit, while junior Joe Ayala and sophomore Don Froehlich will pair up on the second team. The third defensive pairing will see junior Coleman Walsh and freshman Hunter Cole work together.
“We need to get the puck out of our zone,” Morrell said. “That has been a problem right now. We know that going in and it is something we have to work on. I like the work ethic of all the kids. It has been very good.”
Morrell will also need to find someone to emerge from the battle in goal. That battle consists of sophomores Mike Savino and Joey Bepko and junior Anthony Lanziero.
“Right now, they have been tremendous,” Morrell said. “We have only given up three goals in a game just once in four scrimmages.”
The Westies open the season December 12 when they host Greenwich at 6:30 p.m. at the Edward L. Bennett Rink.
State Champions - 1949, 1961, 1964, 1976, 1984, 1988, 1990, 1994
All-State Players - Ray Luedee '75; Mark Carlo '76, '77; Marty Crouse '77, '78; Don MacMillan '77; Eddie Merola '79; Bob Serenson '84; Jay Andrew '84; Mark Anquillare '84; Mike Gilbert '87; Mike Woznyk '87; Paul Mulligan '88; Darrell Galasso '90; Rob Kryznel '93; Keith Dupee '94; Shaun Jackson '00; Aaron Beauvais '00; Tom Withington '00; Mark Heffernan '00, '01, '02; Brandon Fanelli '02; Jim Lafo '02; Chris Quagliani '02; Ron Baia '03; Nick Quagliani '03; Chris Shore '04; Joe Pereira '05; Ken Comfort '06; Joe Innamorato '07; John Ascenzia '10; Tim Baylis '10; J.P. Withington '11; Kyle Leyerzapf '12; Mike Troiano '12; Austin Hansen '13