BOYS HOCKEY 2018-2019
Westies fall in Opener
Guilford posts 8-7 victory
By MIKE MADERA
(December 12, 2018) WEST HAVEN - John DeLucia and his Guilford hockey team understand there is a big target on the backs of the green jerseys. After several successful campaigns, the Indians are no longer a secret to the rest of the state despite some key losses.
How the Indians would react to adversity would be a telling sign in the success of the team. If one game is any indication, the Indians will be just fine.
Coming back from a three-goal deficit, the Indians rallied to defeat West Haven 8-7 in the season opener for both teams Wednesday evening at the Edward L. Bennett Rink in West Haven.
“I think it was nerves and a combination of mistakes,” Guilford coach Ralph Russo said of his team’s slow start. “Joe (Morrell) has his team well-coached over there. We scored early and they came right back. They put the pressure on and took advantage. I thought we showed a lot by coming back.”
DeLucia was at the center of attention all night for the Indians as he posted five points on a goal and four assists, while junior Jack Dacey added two goals and an assist, and freshman Connor Hagness tallied two goals.
“We know it is big to come back like we did,” DeLucia said. “We fought back and just kept working hard. Everyone battled. We fought back, made some smart plays, and the puck went our way. Everyone contributed. It was a great team win.”
For the Westies, the season opener was nothing short of disappointing as West Haven scored four consecutive goals in a span of 2 minutes, 24 seconds to take a 4-1 first period lead. That was not enough as a late goal by Hagness with 9.8 seconds left in the opening period gave the Indians all the life they needed.
“That was a big goal for them,” West Haven coach Joe Morrell said. “But, you can’t expect to win giving up eight goals. You should also expect to win when you score seven goals.”
Trailing by two goals to open the second period, the Indians put the pressure on from the start, pouring 16 shots on goal, and taking a 6-5 lead with 15 minutes remaining.
Defenseman Mike Letourneau gave the Indians life in the middle period when his point shot went off the blocker of West Haven goaltender Noah Iversen and trickled in to get Guilford within 4-3. The Indians evened the contest 4:06 later when Steven Tortora picked up a rebound of Shea Thibault’s shot in front.
“We relied on some veteran guys and we got help from some new guys,” Russo said. “We held our own. We got to 4-3 on a goal by one of our veterans (Letourneau) and our young guys helped us tie the game. The veterans were able to hold it together and we sprinkled in some new players.”
After Hagness had his breakaway stopped by Charles Miller, who replaced Iversen, the Westies took a 5-4 lead. Robbie Forleo’s blast from the left slot area beat Guilford’s Alex Attruia with 5:23 left in the second, for a short-lived advantage.
Dacey ripped a shot off the crossbar and in with 1:40 remaining in the period, and DeLucia scored with eight seconds to go for a 6-5 lead.
“We put the puck in the net and did not quit,” Morrell said. “They have a lot of good players over there.”
When DeLucia set up Dacey’s second goal of the game 1:18 into the third, Guilford had a two-goal lead. The Westies had chances to get back in the game, but D.J. Carfora was denied on a breakaway, before Richie Greene answered with perfect passing in front with Kyle to get West Haven within one goal with 8:40 to go on the power play.
Any chance of a West Haven comeback ended with 2:10 remaining as Hagness scored off an assist from DeLucia on the power play. Kaden Morgillo scored in the final seconds, but it was not enough for the Westies.
“We love playing with each other,” DeLucia said of his linemates. “We love to move the puck, and when we do that, we have a lot of opportunities.”
After a slow start in which Jake Watrous gave the Indians a 1-0 lead just 56 seconds into the game, the Westies responded in emphatic fashion, scoring four times in less than three minutes.
Carfora, who finished with a goal and an assist, evened the game off assists from Kevin Moriarty and Morgillo with 9:27 left in the middle period. Just 49 seconds later, Greene scored off an assist from Kyle for a 2-1 lead, and Colin Hines needed just 25 seconds to extend the lead to two goals with a blast from the point off an assist from Nick Carfora.
When Kyle, who finished with a goal and four assists, scored a power play goal off assists from Moriarty and D.J. Carfora, West Haven had what looked like a comfortable 4-1 lead.
Attruia finished with 24 saves for the Indians, while Iversen had 17 saves for West Haven, and Miller finished with 12.
In the Win Column
Moriarty, Forleo lead Westies to first victory
By MIKE MADERA
(December 15, 2018) - Kevin Moriarty and Robbie Forleo each scored twice, and Niko Kyle added one goal and two assists as West Haven defeated Fairfield Warde/Ludlowe 5-3 Saturday evening.
The Westies jumped out to a 4-0 lead and hung on for the win to improve to 1-1 on the season after a disappointing loss to Guilford in the season opener.
West Haven scored the lone goal of the first period when Kyle scored with 8 minutes, 57 seconds remaining in the period off assists from Colin Hines and Nico Bruneau.
The Westies took control of the game with the first three goals of the second period. Forleo gave West Haven a 2-0 advantage 1:01 lead into the second period with an unassisted tally.
Moriarty then took over as he scored twice in a minute for a 4-0 advantage. Moriarty's first goal gave West Haven a 3-0 lead with 4:58 remaining, before his second of the period, off assists from D.J. Carfora and Kyle gave the Westies a 4-0 advantage.
A late goal by Fairfield's Jonathan Cohen with 1:05 to go in the second cut West Haven's lead to 4-1, before Fairfield scored with 3:24 left in the third to get within a pair of goals. A goal by Fairfield with 47 seconds left put a scare into the Westies, before Forleo iced the game 11 seconds later off an assist from Kyle.
Jared Pliszka made 18 saves in goal for West Haven, picking up his first win of the year.
Back to Back
Greene, Bruneau lead Westies
By MIKE MADERA
(December 17, 2018) - After a season-opening loss to Guilford, West Haven coach Joe Morrell stated he needed to see some consistency from his team. While it may be happening in small stages, Morrell has to be pleased with what he has seen the last two games.
Led by two goals apiece from freshman Nico Bruneau and junior Richie Greene, a goal and two assists from senior Niko Kyle, and three assists from junior Robbie Forleo, West Haven defeated St. Joseph-Trumbull 5-2 in a Division I contest in Shelton Monday evening.
“We have been playing three lines and it has been nice to see us getting opportunities,” Morrell said. “We have been scoring early which is something we did not do last year. We have scored 17 goals in our first three games.”
Jared Pliszka makes a save against St. Joseph, December 17, 2018. Photo courtesy of Todd Dandelske.
West Haven, who had six players in the scoring column, five of which had multiple points, never trailed in the game after taking an early lead. The early goals coupled with 21 saves by junior Jared Pliszka were a recipe for success as Pliszka came up with several big saves late in the game
“I knew I had to make the key saves,” Pliszka said. “I did not have many shots. It feels good to get the two wins after we lost the first game. There is a different feeling in the locker room right now.”
West Haven’s special teams played a big role in the win as the Westies scored three times on the power play and did not allow St. Joseph to score on three of its power play chances.
After some early pressure was turned aside by St. Joseph senior goaltender Billy Brady, West Haven (2-1) got on the board with a power play goal with 3minutes, 26 seconds to go in the opening period when Kyle’s shot from the point trickled off the arm of Brady and in.
Richie Greene (9) and West Haven celebrate a goal against St. Joseph, December 17, 2018. Photo courtesy of Todd Dandelske.
St. Joseph (0-2) wasted no time getting even on the scoreboard when Brandon Roselli backhanded a shot in front off a rebound. Thomas Schietinger and Wyatt Chrisman picked up assists on the equalizer.
West Haven again capitalized on the power play, scoring its second goal with the man advantage in the period with 1:37 to go. Freshman D.J. Carfora, who had two assists in the game, took a pass from Sean Dupre and slid the puck perfectly across the crease to Bruneau, who banged a shot into a wide open net and a 2-1 West Haven lead.
Niko Kyle (12) scores against St. Joseph, December 17, 2018. Video courtesy of Mike Madera.
“It was nice for us to get those early goals,” Morrell said.
West Haven took a 3-1 lead 5:04 into the second period with its third straight power play goal as a result of a line change. With Greene coming off the bench, Kyle fed him a perfect pass in the slot and a cruising Greene beat Brady for a two-goal advantage.
“It is huge for us,” Greene said of getting scoring contributions from different players. “We are getting new guys stepping up and putting the puck in the net.”
Nico Bruneau scores against St. Joseph, December 17, 2018. Video courtesy of Mike Madera.
The Cadets again answered with 4:53 left in the middle period as Christopher Chartier knocked in a loose puck in front to get St. Joseph within a goal, but the Westies again added distance in the final period.
Just 16 seconds into the final period, Kyle and Bruneau were part of a give and go which saw Bruneau record his second of the game, with an added assist going to Forleo.
“Scoring early helps us,” Greene said. “It gives us more confidence.”
Pliszka then made the lead hold up in the third period, making 10 saves, some in spectacular fashion.
With the Westies ahead by two goals, Pliszka made the save of the game as he robbed Roselli from in front with a brilliant glove save. Just 36 seconds later, Pliszka did the same against Liam Gelston, denying him from in front.
“He really came up big,” Morrell said of Pliszka said. “We had a breakdown where no one picked up the man in front and he came up with a big save. As a goaltender, you are asked to make the routine saves and you have to steal one now and then. He made some big saves.”
Brady finished with 33 saves in the loss for the Cadets.
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