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.
Kyle leads Westies to 5-2 win over Westhill
By MIKE MADERA
(December 19, 2018) - The West Haven boys hockey team is on a roll. After a season-opening loss, the Westies won their third straight contest Wednesday evening, defeating Westhill-Stamford 5-2 at the Edward L. Bennett Rink.
Niko Kyle led the way with two goals, while Richie Greene, D.J. Carfora, and Nico Bruneau each had a pair of assists. Jared Pliszka again played well, making 13 saves, as West Haven improved to 3-1 with the win.
West Haven never trailed in the game although Westhill twice got the equalizer. Kyle put the Westies ahead for good when he scored with 4:30 to go in the second period off an assist from Bruneau.
Kyle then gave West Haven a 4-2 lead with 6:44 to go in the game off assists from Carfora and Bruneau, before Kevin Moriarty scored a short-handed goal to seal the win with 2:17 to go in the game.
The third period saw West Haven on the power play for a majority of the 15 minutes, including a 5-on-3 opportunity. While the Westies failed to convert, Moriarty's short-handed tally was the sealing goal.
West Haven took a 1-0 lead with 3:04 left in the first period as Michael Kelly scored off assists from Robbie Forleo and Richie Greene. With the game even at one, Kaden Morgillo scored off assists from Carfora and Greene.
Westies fall to Branford 2-0
By MIKE MADERA
(December 26, 2018) - The West Haven boys hockey team entered the holiday break with a three-game winning streak. It took one game for that stretch to end.
Behind 39 saves from Jared Yakimoff, the Hornets blanked the Westies 2-0 at the Edward L. Bennett Rink Wednesday evening.
Niko Kyle (12) and Kevin Moriarty (14) put the pressure on against Branford, December 26, 2018. Photo courtesy of Todd Dandelske.
Yakimoff's counterpart, Jared Pliszka of West Haven, also played very well, making 31 saves in the games, but Branford finally broke through in the third period.
With the game scoreless, the Hornets scored the only goal they would need when Chris Donadio scored off an assist from Blake Kustra 8 minutes, 36 seconds into the final period. Kustra then scored an insurance goal 1:25 later off an assist from Engstrom for a 2-0 lead.
Kaden Morgillo (7) against Branford, December 26, 2018. Photo courtesy of Todd Dandelske.
West Haven, which dropped to 3-2, could not get one by Yakimoff in the final minutes, snapping their three-game winning streak.
Morgillo Propels Westies
Westies rally for OT win
By MIKE MADERA
(January 2, 2019) - The West Haven hockey team showed plenty of resiliency Wednesday evening. Not only did the Westies have to travel to the Westminster School to play Simsbury, they found themselves down early.
Trailing by two goals, West Haven rallied for a pair of third period goals, then used an overtime tally by Kaden Morgillo to defeat Simsbury 3-2. With the win, the Westies improved to 4-2 on the season.
Trailing 2-0, the Westies got on the scoreboard 3:18 into the third when D.J. Carfora scored off an assist from Nico Bruneau. The game would remain that way until the final two minutes.
Looking at a difficult loss, Carfora set up Niko Kyle and the senior did the rest evening the game with 1:59 left in regulation. The Westies then decided the contest in the extra session.
With 48 seconds left in overtime, Morgillo sent the Westies home winners and with their fourth victory of the season. Jared Pliszka was solid in goal as he made 33 saves in the win for West Haven.
Rally falls short in loss to Guilford
By MIKE MADERA
(January 5, 2019) - After a thrilling overtime victory over Simsbury three days earlier, the West Haven hockey team was looking to extend its heroics. Instead, the Westies suffered a bitter defeat.
Using a goal just over five minutes into the third period, Guilford rallied to defeat West Haven 5-4 at the DiLungo Rink in East Haven Saturday afternoon. With the loss, West Haven fell to 4-3 on the season.
West Haven took a 1-0 lead 4 minutes, 42 seconds into the contest when Kaden Morrgillo scored off an assist from Richie Greene. Guilford scored the next two goals, but Nick Boanno scored seconds later to even the contest at two.
In a game which would go back and forth the rest of the way, Guilford took a 2-1 lead 1:18 into the second, before Niko Kyle evened the game at three off an assist from Kevin Moriarty with 8:27 left in the middle period.
The Indians scored 1:50 later to take a 4-3 advantage to the third period, but West Haven got the equalizer 1:24 into the third when Robbie Forleo scored off an assist from Kyle. Guilford would end the back and forth affair with the last goal of the game with 9:45 remaining.
Jared Pliszka made 27 saves in the loss for West Haven.
Prep tops Westies
Pliszka's effort not enough in 4-1 loss
By MIKE MADERA
(January 16, 2019) - The Fairfield Prep hockey team knows all too well it is not how you start the season, but how you finish. With just two wins in their first seven games, the Jesuits were looking to get in a groove.
Wednesday evening may have been the first step.
Behind two goals and an assist from Colin Bella, and 24 saves from fellow senior Jake Walker, the Jesuits defeated West Haven 4-1 in a Division I contest at the Edward L. Bennett Rink in West Haven.
“I feel really good about this team,” Bella said. “I have a lot pf confidence in them. We have some new guys who may have been a little nervous at the beginning of the year, but they are starting to feel comfortable. Everyone is adjusting and the lines are looking good.”
Nick Boanno (23) against Fairfield Prep, January 16, 2019. Photo courtesy of Todd Dandelske.
The Jesuits (3-5) used special teams play to help win their third contest of the year, scoring a pair of short-handed goals and once on the power play. Fairfield Prep created numerous turnovers, using two to score.
“We can’t take eight penalties a game,” Fairfield Prep coach Matt Sather said. “That is not who we are or who we are supposed to be. That has sort of been our M.O. this year. We get some stick fouls in the offensive zone and stuff like that. They are in momentum parts of the game.”
The Jesuits seized momentum of the game from the start and never let up, pouring 51 shots on goal. Only the goaltending of West Haven’s Jared Pliszka, who finished with 47 saves, kept Prep from jumping out to a bigger lead.
After the West Haven junior made a handful of saves early, Prep got on the board first when Chandler Dumont took a pass from Bella and scored from an odd angle with 4 minutes, 44 seconds remaining in the opening period.
The Westies (6-4) had their opportunities as well in the opening period, but Walker turned aside seven shots, and the Jesuits increased the lead to a pair of goals with a power play tally with 20.2 seconds left in the opening period.
The goal by Anthony Clericuzio, off assists from Cooper Eckert and Matthew Wenger, gave Fairfield Prep some cushion entering the second period.
“I thought we moved the puck very well,” Sather said. “Their goalie (Pliszka) was excellent. I thought he had a really nice day. I thought their fore check gave us a hard time in the first period.”
The Jesuits needed that cushion as West Haven finally capitalized on its pressure with 7:12 to go in the middle period when Kevin Moriarty tapped in a pass from Kaden Morgillo. The power play goal, which also saw Robbie Forleo pick up an assist, gave the Westies life which they almost took advantage of.
West Haven celebrates a goal by Kevin Moriarty (14) against Fairfield Prep, January 16, 2019. Photo courtesy of Todd Dandelske.
Niko Kyle had three golden opportunities, two of which came in the first four minutes, but Walker was equal to the challenge. Walker made a beautiful glove save on Kyle while sprawled on the ice, keeping Prep on top.
“Jake (Walker) has been great all year for us,” Sather said. “He has been our best player all year.”
While Kyle forced the action, West Haven never got the equalizer, and the Jesuits once again got some breathing room when Bella stole the puck and fired between the pads of Pliszka for a short-handed tally with 1:06 left in the middle period.
“We had some opportunities, but we did not put the puck in the net,” West Haven coach Joe Morrell said. “We had a little momentum there and some good chances. In the third period, we never got into any flow with the penalties.”
Forleo had the best opportunity for West Haven to get closer in the final 15 minutes as he rang a shot off the post and another into the pads of Walker less than two minutes into the final period.
Bella scored into an empty net with 58.8 seconds to go for the 4-1 final.
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; Mike Savino '14; Alex Scranton '14; Mike Savino '15; Tyler Paine '16; Pete Richetelli '17; Brendan Serenson '17; Alex Lynch '17; Niko Kyle '18
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BOYS HOCKEY 2018-2019
THE HOME OF WEST HAVEN SPORTS
Hamden thumps Westies
Green Dragons roll to 10-2 win
By MIKE MADERA
(January 23, 2019) WEST HAVEN - Both the West Haven and Hamden hockey programs have storied histories. The two teams commemorated the long rivalry by wearing throwback jerseys Wednesday evening.
That was about all the two teams had in common.
Behind five goals and one assist from Eddy Fracasso, including three goals in the first period, Hamden rolled to a 10-2 victory over the Westies in a Division I contest at the Edward L. Bennett Rink.
“It was a great atmosphere,” Fracasso said. “West Haven brought a lot of fans. I am happy we came out with the win. I am really excited. Scoring is fun. I am happy I was able to get the passes from my teammates. I have never scored that many goals in a game. This is my first time with five. It means a lot with the rivalry we have.”
Robbie Forleo (3) against Hamden, January 23, 2019. Photo courtesy of Todd Dandelske.
The Green Dragons, ranked fourth in the GameTimeCT/Register Top 10 poll and having lost two of three entering the contest, put any thoughts of a West Haven comeback away in the second period, scoring six times. Fracasso scored twice and assisted on a goal by Michael Gethings for a 6-1 advantage, with both of Fracasso’s second period goals of the short-handed variety 26 seconds apart.
“You always want to build off a short-handed situation,” Hamden coach Todd Hall said. “But, to kill it off and score twice put us over the edge. We were able to build off it and score twice. We knew West Haven was going to come out hard. We just had to weather the storm.”
The Green Dragons, who had ten different players in the scoring column, capped the second period scoring by tallying three times in the final 6:28. Joseph D’Adamo scored the first of the three, Bryce Riccitelli added a power play goal, and Jack Shane added an even strength goal 53 seconds later for a 9-1 advantage with 2:59 left in the middle period.
“They were playing on a different level tonight,” West Haven coach Joe Morrell said. “They beat us in every aspect of the game and they finished hard.”
Ryan Bernardi (4) against Hamden, January 23, 2019. Photo courtesy of Todd Dandelske.
Hamden (7-5) poured on 31 shots in the first two periods, chasing West Haven goaltenders Jared Pliszka after the opening period, and Charles Miller with 2:59 to go in the middle period.
The Westies (6-5) started off quickly, but it was all Hamden after West Haven’s initial goal.
Before Hamden got going, Kevin Moriarty gave the Westies a 1-0 lead as he took the puck from behind the goal 49 seconds into the contest and beat Hamden goaltender Donald Moorcroft for an early lead.
Fracasso then took over for the Green Dragons. Just 39 seconds after Moriarty’s goal, A.J. Luedee won a faceoff back to Fracasso, who ripped a shot past Pliszka to even the game at one.
“When we got down a goal, the coaches told us to keep our heads and keep chipping away,” Fracasso said.
After Pliszka turned aside a shot by Conor Gethings, and Tyler Routh hit the post, Fracasso gave his team a 2-1 lead one minute later when he scored off an assist from Robert Celentano.
West Haven’s D.J. Carfora had a golden opportunity to even the game when he stole a pass in front, but Carfora was turned aside by Moorcroft with 5:29 left in the opening period. Moorcroft’s stop proved to be huge as Fracasso scored his third of the game when he ripped a shot from the left faceoff circle past Pliszka with 3:09 to go in the opening period for a 3-1 Hamden lead.
“He made some huge saves for us,” Hall said of Moorcroft. “We find a way to take penalties and we get hit with a barrage of shots. Don made some huge saves for us and we built off that and the penalty kill.”
Moriarty capped the scoring in the third period with his second goal of the game, off assists from Niko Kyle and Carfora.
Moorcroft made 24 saves in two periods of action for Hamden.
Lancers nip Westies
Two second period goals lead NDFF
By MIKE MADERA
(January 26, 2019) - The West Haven boys hockey team entered Saturday evening's contest against Notre Dame of Fairfield looking to rebound from a blowout loss fro Hamden.
While the Westies played better, it was not enough as they suffered a 2-1 road loss against the Lancers to fall to 6-6 on the season.
Jared Pliszka made 34 saves, but it was not enough as the Lancers sandwiched second period goals around one by West Haven's Kaden Morgillo to pull out the victory.
Just 6 minutes, 54 seconds into the second period, Notre Dame took a 1-0 lead on a goal by Justin LaSella. The Westies wasted no time coming back as Morgillo scored 54 seconds later off an assist from Nick Boanno, but that was all the scoring West Haven did.
When Notre Dame's Nate Stiles scored with 4:51 remaining in the period, Notre Dame took the lead for good.
Westies top East Catholic
Moriarty leads WH
By MIKE MADERA
(January 28, 2019) - The West Haven boys hockey team snapped its three-game losing skid with a 3-1 victory over East Catholic Monday evening at the Edward L. Bennett Rink in West Haven. With the victory, West Haven improved to 7-6 on the year.
West Haven celebrates a goal against East Catholic, Monday, January 28, 2019. Photo courtesy of Todd Dandelske.
Kevin Moriarty led the offense with one goal and two assists, while Kaden Morgillo had one goal and one assist, while Niko Kyle had one goal. Jared Pliszka made 21 saves in the win for the Westies.
The Westies took a 1-0 lead in the opening period at the 10:44 mark when Kyle scored off assists from Moriarty and D.J. Carfora.
Kevin Moriarty (14) with a big hit against East Catholic, Monday, January 28, 2019. Photo courtesy of Todd Dandelske.
With the game even at one in the final period, West Haven took a 2-1 advantage 48 seconds into the third period when Morgillo scored a power play goal.
Morgillo then helped ice the contest when he set up Moriarty's empty net tally with 53 seconds remaining.
Pliszka leads Westies
WH tops Amity 2-1
By MIKE MADERA
(January 31, 2019) - With the rivalry between the Amity and West Haven hockey teams, no one had to tell each the importance of the contest. Scoring twice by way of the special teams, West Haven defeated Amity 2-1 at the Edward L. Bennett Rink In West Haven Thursday evening.
West Haven goaltender Jared Pliszka stole the show, making 38 saves, including 19 in the middle period to help West Haven improve to 8-6 on the year.
“He has been good all year for us,” West Haven coach Joe Morrell said of Pliszka. “He has been seeing the puck very well all year.”
West Haven scored the lone goal of the opening period, taking advantage of the game’s initial power play. Staioned at the point, Kaden Morgillo ripped a shot which Conner Fowler tipped past Amity goaltender Malachi Zurolo with 8:28 left in the period.
“We have been working on special teams,” Morrell said. “We scored on the power play and short-handed. That was a key part of the game.”
The remainder of the period was left to the goaltenders as Zurolo made 10 saves and West Haven’s Pliszka made nine.
Pliszka’s best saves came in the final four minutes as he denied Ken Page from the left faceoff circle, then stoned Cody White in front after White had made a nice steal in the slot.
Zurolo also came up big as he denied a backhander by Niko Kyle in front with 6:09 remaining in the first period, and turned aside two shots by Moriarty in front seconds apart with five minutes to go.
The second period saw a barrage of shots as the two teams combined for 32, but only two goals were scored.
The Spartans evened the game with a power play goal of their own when Jason Csejka blasted a wrist shot from the point which eluded Pliszka 4:48 into the third as White picked up an assist.
After Pliszka stoned White and Caleb Marcin in succession in front with 8:34 left, the Westies took a 2-1 lead while short-handed. Moriarty started an odd-man rush with Niko Kyle and Kyle took the puck off his skates and used a back-hander to beat Zurolo with 7:47 left in the second.
“We have been handling the puck better,” Morrell said. “We have been clogging the middle defensively. We have been doing a better job of that.”
Pliszka made the lead stand up, coming up with one more huge save in the period, denying Nick Kiwanis on a one-timer in front with a pad save with 2:40 to go.
Westies thump Indians
WH tops North Haven 7-2
By MIKE MADERA
(February 6, 2019) - West Haven coach Joe Morrell was looking for a game in which his team did not need a tense final few minutes to decide the contest. Morrell and the Westies received that effort.
With nine different players in the scoring column and two goaltenders combining for 22 saves, West Haven topped North Haven 7-2 Wednesday evening at the Edward L. Bennett Rink in West Haven.
Richie Greene led the West Haven offense with two goals and one assist, Niko Kyle had two goals, Kevin Moriarty added one goal and two assists, and D.J. Carfora had three assists. Jared Pliszka stopped 16 of 18 shots, while Dan Kelly stopped all six shots he faced.
West Haven improved to 9-6 with its third straight victory and took control of the game early, scoring the three of the game's first four goals.
Greene gave West Haven a 1-0 lead 1:42 into the contest off assists from Forleo and Kaden Morgillo, before North Haven tied the contest with 3:21 to go in the first.
The tie did not last long as West Haven scored twice in 1:28. Morgillo gave the Westies a 2-1 lead off assists from Greene and Ryan Smith, before Kyle scored off assists from Moriarty and Carfora with 28 seconds left in the first.
Forleo set up Greene for a 4-1 advantage 1:51 into the second, and 39 seconds after North Haven got within two goals, Moriarty scored off an assists from Carfora.
Kyle scored with two minutes to go in the second, and Mike Alfano rounded out the scoring at the 3:29 mark of the third period when he deflected a shot by Colin Hines in for a goal.
Four in a Row
Kyle nets OT winner over NFI
By MIKE MADERA
(February 9, 2019) - Niko Kyle and the West Haven hockey team have been riding quite a wave lately. When the Westies needed Kyle the most, the West Haven sharp-shooter was there.
Scoring the final two goals of the game, including the winner at the 1:32 mark of overtime, Kyle helped the Westies to their fourth straight win with a 5-4 decision over NFI at the Edward L. Bennett Rink Saturday afternoon. With the win, West Haven improved to 10-6 on the year.
Niko Kyle (12) scores the game-winner against NFI, Saturday, February 9, 2019. Photo courtesy of Todd Dandelske.
The Westies had to rally to overcome early deficits of 2-0, 3-1 and a late 4-3 margin before pulling out the victory.
Trailing 4-3, Kyle sent the contest to overtime when he scored the equalizer with 6:18 remaining in the third period. Kyle then came out of the corner and fired a shot from the circle top shelf to record the winner.
Trailing 2-0 West Haven got within a goal with 1:31 left in the opening period when Kaden Morgillo scored off assists from Richie Greene and D.J. Carfora.
Kaden Morgillo (7) celebrates his goal against NFI, Saturday, February 9, 2019. Photo courtesy of Todd Dandelske.
NFI increased the margin to a pair of goals once again 2:49 into the second, but Morgillo scored his second of the game 29 seconds later to again get the Westies within a goal.
West Haven wasted no time getting the tying goal in the third period as Kevin Moriarty scored 24 seconds in off assists from Robbie Forleo and Kyle, but NFI again jumped in front 1:45 later, setting up Kyle's dramatics.
Jared Pliszka made 21 saves in the win.
Westies fall to Green Knights
Winning streak ends in 4-0 loss
By MIKE MADERA
(February 13, 2019) - Looking to extend its winning steak to five games and fresh off a thrilling overtime win against NFI, the West Haven boys hockey team ran into cross-town rival Notre Dame and goaltender Connor Smith. Smith proved to be the difference.
Turning aside all 39 shots he faced, Smith led the seventh-ranked Green Knights to a 4-0 victory over eighth-ranked West Haven in a battle of top ten teams.
Robbie Forleo (3) and the Westies against Notre Dame, February 13, 2019. Photo courtesy of Todd Dandelske.
West Haven goaltender Jared Pliszka turned aside 34 shots as the Westies fell to 10-7 on the year.
Charles Andriole finished with a goal and an assist for Notre Dame-West Haven.
After a scoreless first period, Notre Dame took a 1-0 lead when Andriole scored off an assist from Christian Hughes 1:51 into the second.
That would be all the Green Knights needed as Smith was not to be denied.
Richie Greene (9) against Notre Dame, February 13, 2019. Photo courtesy of Todd Dandelske.
The Green Knights took a 2-0 lead 1:14 into the third on a goal by Zach Schroeder off an assist from John D’Errico, before John-Michael Childs scored off an assist from Andriole with 6:59 to go for a 3-0 advantage.
Connor Faughnan added an empty-net tally in the final 1:31 for the 4-0 final.
Westies fall to Hamden
Regular season ends with 6-4 loss
By MIKE MADERA
(February 25, 2019) - HAMDEN — The first time Hamden and West Haven met this season, Hamden put on an offensive display and cruised past the Westies. Knowing West Haven was not going to let that happen again, the Green Dragons used an offense which saw 12 different players gather points in a 6-4 Division I victory at Lou Astorino Rink Monday evening.
Sophomore Conor Gethings was the only Hamden player with multiple points as he had a goal and an assist, while 11 other players recorded one point. Hamden goaltender Donald Moorcroft made 19 saves, including several key stops in the third period with the Westies looking to rally.
“It is important for us to get the secondary scoring,” Hamden’s Eddy Fracasso said after finishing with an assist. “We had several guys come up big tonight. That is good for the team. It gets the whole team rolling.”
The Green Dragons, ranked fifth in the GameTimeCT/Register Top 10 poll, were rolling from the start, outshooting West Haven 15-5 in the opening period, and using a pair of 5-on-3 advantages to build momentum, before scoring twice in 50 seconds for a 2-0 advantage.
Up two men, and after West Haven (10-10) had already killed a two-man down situation, A.J. Luedee found himself alone in front and beat West Haven goaltender Jared Pliszka where he made no mistake off assists from Fracasso and Gethings.
Just 50 seconds later, the lead was a pair of goals as Jack Shane scored off assists from Tyler Routh and Alex Hernandez.
“We got off to the quick start with the two goals,” Fracasso said. “We knew West Haven was not going to let us run away with it. We knew they were going to come back. We knew we had to pick it up.”
The Westies cut the deficit in half with 4.8 seconds left in the opening period. Richie Greene’s point shot was deflected in front by Kevin Moriarty, before Moriarty put in the loose puck to get the Westies within 2-1.
“We fell behind early,” West Haven coach Joe Morrell said. “We have shown we can come back and we will need that in the playoffs. We had some opportunities, but we didn’t cash in.”
Hamden (11-8) scored the only goal of the second period when Alan Cozzolino scored off a scramble in front with an assist going to Alex Ponzio, before the Green Dragons opened up the contest in the third period.
Craig Cesare gave Hamden a 4-1 lead 3:46 in and Michael Gethings added to the mix 38 seconds later for a 5-1 advantage, before West Haven stormed back.
“Playing teams like West Haven helps us for the postseason,” Fracasso said. “It gives us an extra boost. When we play the big teams like West Haven, we know we have to play together and be ready.”
Led by Kaden Morgillo, the Westies rallied back. Morgillo got West Haven within 5-2 off assists from Nico Bruneau and Colin Hines 1:04 later, before Niko Kyle scored off assists from Nick Boanno and Moriarty with 2:52 remaining.
Trailing by two, Morgillo again tallied off an assist from Sean Dupre with 35.5 seconds to go to get West Haven within 5-4, but the Westies could not get the equalizer.
“At 5-1, we got some life,” Morrell said. “We are going to need that. We know we can come back. It has happened a few times this year where we came back. Now, we have to rest up and get ready for the postseason.”
Conor Gethings sealed the win for Hamden as he scored into an empty net as time expired.
Xavier thumps West Haven 9-1 in opening round
By MIKE MADERA
(March 5, 2019) - West Haven and Xavier in the state tournament has been a common pairing over the last several years. The Westies have suffered some heartbreak at Wesleyan University in that time span.
Looking to extend the season and create a positive road memory against the Falcons, the Westies battled in the opening period. When all was said and done, it was Xavier which came out standing.
Using an offensive barrage in the second and third periods, No. 8 Xavier cruised a 9-1 victory over No. 9 West Haven in Middletown Tuesday evening in th eopening round of the Division I state tournament.
The defeat ends West Haven's season at 10-11, including five straight losses to complete the campaign. West Haven lost to Xavier in overtime less than two weeks earlier.
Read about the game at GameTimeCT.