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THE HOME OF WEST HAVEN SPORTS
GIRLS HOCKEY 2018-2019
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All-State players - Gabi Prisco '15; Gabi Prisco '16; Gabi Prisco '17; Veronica Lynn '17; Veronica Lynn '18; Taylor Nowak '18; Veronica Lynn '19; Taylor Nowak '19
Westie Sharks split pair
Team starts season 1-1
By MIKE MADERA
(December 8, 2018) - Coming off one of its best seasons in recent memory, the West Haven/Sacred Heart Academy girls hockey team has plenty to prove in 2018-2019. Fresh off a campaign which saw the Westie Sharks post 18 victories, but fall to New Canaan in the state quarterfinals, the team is ready to again make some noise.
Led by senior captains Veronica Lynn and Francesca Criscuolo, and assistant captains in seniors Celina Condon and Kyleen Crowe, the team has a solid nucleus. Add to the mix juniors Brooke McNabola, Taylor Nowak and Megan Froehlich, and sophomores Jianna Cohrs, Jenna Hunt, and Mia Celentano, and the Westie Sharks have a strong nucleus of talented players.
Kyleen Crowe. Photo courtesy of Todd Dandelske.
“Our girls have been working hard and are motivated to win after a tough loss to New Canaan in the state quarterfinals last season,” coach Erin Blake said. “We are ready to come back and prove ourselves. We take each game, win, loss, or tie, and learn from it. They have learned a lot over the course of the past year, and have set goals that they are ready to achieve. I am proud of their growth as a team and excited to see what this season holds. Their teamwork, dedication, and heart is any coach’s dream.”
Blake is well aware any good team starts with solid goaltending and even better defense. For the Westie Sharks, senior Crowe and freshman Grace Nowak will see time between the pipes, while Lynn, McNabola, sophomore Mackenzie Gardner and freshman Meghan Dupre will anchor the defense.
Meghan Dupre. Photo courtesy of Todd Dandelske.
Offensively, the Westie Sharks will rely on seniors Criscuolo, Condon, Zoe DeFalco and Grace Plunkett, juniors Nowak and Froehlich, and sophomores Cohrs, Hunt, Celentano and Hailey Alfano.
Freshmen Maya Boyhen, Caitlin Welch and Mae Iverson will also be counted on to provide offensive punch.
Criscuolo looks to center a line with a rotation of Condon, Celentano, and Hunt, while Nowak will center Froehlich and Cohrs.
“We are excited for our talented freshman class this season,” Blake said. “They work hard, are eager to learn, and will be a great asset to our team. (Caitlin) Welch, (Maya) Boyhen, and (Mae) Iverson will see time in our rotation of forwards. (Meghan) Dupre and (Grace) Nowak will contribute immensely to our defense, Dupre as our fourth defenseman, and Nowak in the net.”
While there are plenty of team and individual goals. There is also a team goal for a group which has become a family. With the passing of Pam Gardner, the Westie Sharks lost more than just one of its biggest fans.
“The team has heavy, but full hearts and a lot to play for this season,” Blake said. “With the recent passing of one of our number one fans, West Haven High School principal, and team mom, Pam Gardner, we want to honor her memory this season.”
The Westie Sharks opened the season with a split of their first two games. In the opener Saturday night, West Haven / Sacred Heart Academy fell to Suffield co-op 3-2 in overtime, before rebounding to blank Hand 6-0 in the home opener Monday evening.
In the road contest to open the season, the Westie Sharks watched as Sophie Lupone scored twice in regulation, before Tori Geaglone scored the winner in overtime.
WH/SHA poured 38 shots on goal, but were only able to score twice as McNabola tallied each time. McNabola evened the game at one in the second period off an assist from Condon, then scored an unassisted goal with 5:28 to go to force overtime.
Crowe made 32 saves in the loss, including twelve in the third period and three in overtime.
“I was extremely proud of how the girls played,” Blake said. “Suffield is a good team. We knew that going into the game. Our girls showed up ready to play. I was proud of the way they fought hard the entire game. Moving forward, we know what we need to improve on.”
Jianna Cohrs (5) and Taylor Nowak (11) celebrate a goal against Hand, December 10, 2018. Photo courtesy of Todd Dandelske.
WH/SHA rebounded with a 6-0 victory over Hand Monday evening at the Edward L. Bennett Rink in West Haven. Seven different players picked up points, including freshmen Dupre and Welch.
Cohrs and Nowak led the way for the Westie Sharks with two goals and an assist apiece, while Froehlich had one goal and one assist.
WH/SHA took a commanding lead in the opening period, scoring five times. Cohrs scored off an assist from Froehlich 1:57 in for a 1-0 lead before Taylor Nowak scored off an assist from Cohrs, then set up Froehlich 13 seconds later 7:31 in for a 3-0 lead.
The Westie Sharks extended the lead to 4-0 1:22 later when Welch and Gardner assisted on Nowak’s second of the game, before Dupre scored off an assist from Criscuolo 10:19 in. Cohrs capped the scoring at the 2:07 mark of the third period with her second goal of the game.
Crowe made 14 saves and Grace Nowak four in the combined shutout.
Westie Sharks blank Masuk
WH/SHA improves to 2-1
By MIKE MADERA
(December 15, 2018) - The West Haven / Sacred Heart Academy girls hockey team defeated Masuk 7-0 at the Edward L. Bennett Rink in West Haven Saturday afternoon. With the win, the Westie Sharks improved to 2-1 with their second straight victory.
Maya Boyhen led the way with two goals and an assist, while Mackenzie Gardner and Megan Froehlich each had a goal and an assist. Kyleen Crowe and Grace Nowak were perfect in goal, making 21 saves.
The Westie Sharks took control of the game with three first period goals. Jenna Hunt opened the scoring 3 minutes, 40 seconds in off assists from Caitlin Welch and Mackenzie Gardner. Just 2:28 later, Mia Celentano scored off assists from Boyhen and Francesca Criscuolo, while Froehlich added another tally off an assist from Hailey Alfano 19 seconds later.
WH/SHA increased the margin to four goals when Gardner scored off an assist from Zoe DeFalco, and Boyhen scored from Froehlich and Emma Milrid.
Boyhen, off an assist from Meghan Dupre, and Grace Plunkett scored in the final period for the win.
Westie Sharks top Blades
WH/SHA improves to 3-1
By MIKE MADERA
(December 19, 2018) - The West Haven / Sacred Heart Academy girls hockey team improved to 3-1 with a 9-2 road victory over Amity/North Haven/Cheshire Wednesday evening. The Westie Sharks had six different goal scorers and 11 different players in the scoring column.
Taylor Nowak led the way with three goals and two assists, Jenna Hunt had two goals, Megan Froehlich had a goal and two assists, and Mackenzie Gardner chipped in a goal and an assist.
The Westie Sharks took control of the game with a 4-0 first period lead. Nowak had two goals and an assist in the period, including the opening goal of an assist from Gardner, and the final unassisted goal for a 4-0 lead. Froehlich and Hunt scored in between.
Meghan Dupre gave the Westie Sharks a 5-0 advantage off assists from Froehlich and Nowak, before Mia Celentano increased the lead to 6-1.
Leading 6-2 after two periods, Hunt made it 7-2 off assists from Celina Condon and Brooke McNabola, and Gardner scored an unassisted tally for an 8-2 lead. Nowak completed her hat trick with 5:40 to go.
Kyleen Crowe made 18 saves in the win.
Four in a Row
WH/SHA tops East Catholic 3-1
By MIKE MADERA
(December 22, 2018) - The West Haven/Sacred Heart Academy girls hockey team won its fourth consecutive contest, topping East Catholic 3-1 at the Edward L. Bennett Rink in West Haven Saturday afternoon. With the victory, the Westie Sharks improved to 4-1 on the year.
Veronica Lynn led the offense with two goals and Taylor Nowak also scored for the Westie Sharks.
Kyleen Crowe makes one of her 16 saves against East Catholic, December 22, 2018. Photo courtesy of Todd Dandelske.
Lynn gave West Haven/ Sacred Heart Academy a 1-0 lead with 5:16 remaining in the opening period with an unassisted goal. After East Catholic evened the score with 38 seconds remaining in the period, the Westie Sharks took the lead for good in the second period.
Francesca Criscuolo (14) against East Catholic, December 22, 2018. Photo courtesy of Todd Dandelske.
Lynn was at it again with another unassisted tally 5:13 into the period, before Nowak also added an unassisted goal with 6:55 left in the second period for a 3-1 advantage.
Kyleen Crowe and the West Haven / Sacred Heart Academy defense did the rest. Crowe made 16 saves in the game to help the Westie Sharks to their fourth straight win.
Six in a Row
WH/SHA tops Hamden
By MIKE MADERA
(January 5, 2019) - The West Haven/Sacred Heart Academy girls hockey team improved to 6-1 with a 4-1 victory over Hamden Saturday afternoon at the Edward L. Bennett Rink In West Haven. The win was the team's sixth in a row for the Westie Sharks.
WH/SHA celebrates a win against Hamden, January 5, 2019. Photo courtesy of Todd Dandelske.
Jianna Cohrs led the Westies with two goals and an assist, while Taylor Nowak had a goal and an assist in the win. Kyleen Crowe made 20 saves as the Westie Sharks held a 44-21 shot advantage in the game.
Brooke McNabola (18) and WH/SHA against Hamden, January 5, 2019. Photo courtesy of Todd Dandelske.
Trailing 1-0 in the second period, West Haven /Sacred Heart Academy evened the contest 4:40 in when Cohrs scored off an assist from Nowak. Cohrs gave the Westie Sharks a 2-1 lead 3:04 later when she scored off an assist from Francesca Criscuolo, before Nowak increased the margin to 3-1 off assists from Megan Froehlich and Cohrs with 3:32 to go in the second. Criscuolo finished the scoring in the final minute of the period for a 4-1 lead.
Darien tops WH/SHA 6-2
By MIKE MADERA
(January 16, 2019) - Winners of eight straight since an opening day loss, the West Haven/Sacred Heart Academy girls hockey team was ready for the challenge of playing a tough Darien squad.
Unfortunately for the Westie Sharks, Darien used a quick start, scoring the first two goals of the game, and never looked back in a 6-2 victory over WH/SHA Wednesday evening in Stamford. With the loss, the Westie Sharks fell to 8-2 on the year.
Trailing 2-0 after Darien scored twice in the final five minutes of the opening period, Taylor Nowak cut the deficit in half, scoring off an assist from Veronica Lynn one minute into the second.
Darien got that goal back with 3:29 left in the middle period for a 3-1 lead and it appeared Brooke McNabola's goal with 49 seconds left in the period would send the Westie Sharks to the third period with all the momentum.
That momentum stalled when Darien answered 38 seconds later, then scored 1:43 into the third for a 5-2 advantage.
Kyleen Crowe made 17 saves in the loss for the Westie Sharks.
Nowak leads Westie Sharks
Junior scores 4 goals in 8-2 win
By MIKE MADERA
(January 23, 2019) - The West Haven/Scared Heart Academy girls hockey team got back in the win column with an 8-2 victory over Daniel Hand Wednesday evening. The road victory allowed the Westie Sharks to improve to 9-2 on the year.
Junior Taylor Nowak led the offense with four goals, while Celina Condon scored twice, and Francesca Criscuolo had two assists. Kyleen Crowe made 19 saves in the win.
Taylor Nowak scored four goals against Hand, January 23, 2019. Photo courtesy of Todd Dandelske.
West Haven/Sacred Heart Academy took a 2-0 lead after one period as Jenna Hunt scored off an assist from Criscuolo with 7:37 to go in the period, before Nowak scored an unassisted goal with 1:52 to go.
The Westie Sharks increased the lead to 4-0 in the second period as Nowak scored off assists from Jianna Cohrs and Mackenzie Gardner, before Condon scored off an assist from Criscuolo four minutes later.
Leading 4-1 after two periods, the Westie Sharks scored four times in the third period to put the game away.
Jenna Hunt (7) opened the scoring against Hand, January 23, 2019. Photo courtesy of Todd Dandelske.
Nowak scored off an assist from Megan Froehlich 4:16 in and Condon added her second of the game off an assist from Meghan Dupre 52 seconds later.
Leading 6-2, WH/SHA scored the final two goals in the final 7:57 as Froehlich and Nowak scored unassisted tallies.
Westie Sharks top Masuk
Balanced attack leads to 6-1 win
By MIKE MADERA
(January 25, 2019) - The West Haven/Sacred Heart Academy girls hockey team improved to 10-2 on the season with a 6-1 victory over Masuk Friday evening. The road victory saw the Westie Sharks jump out in front and never look back as six different girls found the back of the net.
WH/SHA jumped out to a 1-0 lead 5 minutes, 12 seconds into the game when Francesca Criscuolo scored an unassisted goal. Just 4:28 later, the lead was 2-0 when C.C. Condon scored off an assist from Maya Boyhen.
The Westie Sharks put the game away with four goals in the second period.
Taylor Nowak scored off an assist from Jianna Cohrs 8:03 in, and Veronica Lynn scored an unassisted goal 2:51 later. When Mia Celentano scored one minute later, the Westie Sharks led 5-0.
Hailey Alfano capped the scoring 43 seconds later off an assist from Megan Froehlich.
Masuk added a third period goal to make the final 6-1. Kyleen Crowe finished with seven saves in the game as the Westie Sharks held a 25-8 shot advantage.
Nowak leads WH/SHA
Westie Sharks top Fairfield 4-1
By MIKE MADERA
(January 26, 2019) - Trailing the Fairfield Warde/Ludlowe hockey team, West Haven / Sacred Heart Academy turned to one of its leaders. Taylor Nowak did not disappoint.
Scoring twice, including the equalizer and the insurance tally, Nowak led her team to a 4-1 victory Saturday afternoon at the Edward L. Bennett Rink in West Haven. With the win, WH/SHA improved to 11-2 on the year.
Jianna Cohrs (5) against Fairfield Warde/Ludlowe, January 26, 2019. Photo courtesy of Todd Dandelske.
"We knew we had to keep going and play the whole game like it was 0-0," Nowak said. "This feels really good. Freshman year, we were getting beat. Now, coming into this season we are working hard and it feels good teams are coming after us.
"We have a lot of new players and we have adjusted very well. We have all come in and we have all connected. We had a couple of bumps in the season with Darien and Suffield, but we have come on."
Trailing 1-0, WH/SHA scored the next four goals. Nowak evened the contest at one 7:22 into the opening period off an assist from Jianna Cohrs and C.C. Condon gave the Westie Sharks the lead for good 3:27 later.
WH/SHA celebrates a goal against Fairfield Warde/Ludlowe, January 26, 2019. Photo courtesy of Todd Dandelske.
"I thought we played well." WH/SHA coach Erin Blake said. "The girls play well together. I am happy with the way we are playing. The girls really stepped up."
West Haven took a 3-1 lead 4:45 into the second period when Brooke McNabola sent a perfect pass from behind the net to Cohrs for the two-goal lead.
Megan Froehlich then did the same, coming from behind the net to send a perfect pass in front which Nowak ripped in from in front for a 4-1 lead.
"We (Froehlich and Cohrs) play together on the (Shoreline) Sharks and that helps as we know where we are on the ice."
Kyleen Crowe made 23 saves in the win fort he Westie Sharks.
Westie Sharks improve to 12-2 with win over Amity
By MIKE MADERA
(January 29, 2019) - The West Haven/Sacred Heart Academy train keeps rolling along. Behind two goals apiece from Taylor Nowak and Mia Celentano, the Westie Sharks won their fourth straight contest and improved to 12-2 with a 5-1 decision over Amity/North Haven/Cheshire Monday evening at the Edward L. Bennett Rink in West Haven.
Meghan Dupre (19) against Amity/North Haven/Cheshire, January 29, 2019. Photo courtesy of Todd Dandelske.
Kyleen Crowe was stellar in goal, stopping 32 shots, including 12 in the first period when the Westie Sharks grabbed a 2-0 lead. Crowe then stopped 10 shots in each of the final two periods to preserve the team's fourth straight win.
Kyleen Crowe (30) against Amity/North Haven/Cheshire, January 29, 2019. Photo courtesy of Todd Dandelske.
Jenna Hunt and Meghan Dupre also contributed offensively as Hunt had three assists and Dupre added a pair of helpers.
The Westie Sharks grabbed an early lead and never looked back as Nowak opened the scoring 4 minutes, 20 seconds into the game off assists from Jianna Cohrs and Megan Froehlich. Just 1:15 later, Brooke McNabola increased the advantage to 2-1 off an assist from Hunt.
WH/SHA took a 3-1 lead in the middle period when Nowak scored the only goal off an assist from Dupre. When Celentano scored her first goal, off an assist from Hunt, 3:56 into the third, WH/SHA built a 4-0 advantage.
Leading 4-1, the Westie Sharks added a goal in the final 14 seconds when Celentano scored off assists from Dupre and Hunt.
Westie Sharks nip Guilford
McNabola's late goal difference in 3-1 victory
By MIKE MADERA
(February 2, 2019) - After topping Guilford in relatively easy fashion earlier this season, one may have expected the same once again when the two teams met Saturday afternoon in West Haven. The Indians never got that memo.
Playing the Westie Sharks tough throughout, Guilford gave West Haven/Sacred Heart Academy a battle, but it was not enough as the Westie Sharks used Brooke McNabola's late goal to prevail 3-1 at the Edward L. Bennett Rink. WH/SHA improved to 13-2 with the win.
WH/SHA celebrates Brooke McNabola's go-ahead goal against Guilford, February 2, 2019. Photo courtesy of Todd Dandelske.
"Guilford is a good team," WH/SHA coach Erin Blake said. "We had to dig deep for the win. We came together as a team."
McNabola scored the eventual winning goal with 1:02 remaining in the third period off an assist from Taylor Nowak, before Nowak iced the contest with one second remaining off an assist from Francesca Criscuolo.
Mia Celentano (28) against Guilford, February 2, 2019. Photo courtesy of Todd Dandelske.
Kyleen Crowe was the star of the contest as she stopped 30 of 31 shots she faced. Nowak scored twice for the second straight contest and inched closer to the 100-point mark, notching her 99th point with two goals and one assist.
"Kyleen (Crowe) was great," Blake said. "She stood on her head with some of the saves she made. We are coming to end of the season and we will need to dig deep to get all the big wins we are looking for."
Nowak gave WH/SHA a 1-0 lead in the first period when she scored off an assist from Megan Froehlich. The goal by Nowak was all the Westie Sharks mustered until the third period as Guilford held a 31-23 shot advantage and scored the equalizer with 3:25 remaining in regulation.
Westie Sharks top Hamden
Nowak nets 100th career point
By MIKE MADERA
(February 5, 2019) - The 2018-2019 girls hockey season has been one filled with many highlights. While the team reel continues to grow, there was also an individual highlight which took place Tuesday evening at the Edward L. Bennett Rink in West Haven.
When Taylor Nowak scored with 8 minutes, 18 seconds to go in the middle period, she not only gave her team a 4-2 lead, but she recorded her 100th career point, becoming the first player in the history of the West Haven / Sacred Heart Academy girls hockey program to do so.
Taylor Nowak (11) became the first player in program history to record 100 career points against Hamden, February 5, 2019. Photo courtesy of Todd Danbdelske.
"Taylor's work ethic is admirable," WH/SHA coach Erin Blake said. "She is a tough kid who loves to compete and will do whatever it takes to help out her team. She is a true team player. Her humble nature is what amazes me. She isn’t in it for herself as she sees the ice extremely well and makes plays happen for each shift. She didn’t even know she was reaching 100 points. She is unselfish. She doesn’t count or boast about her accomplishments. I am so happy for her and all of her hard work to acknowledge her success reaching and becoming our first 100-point club player."
The Westie Sharks then finished business on the ice, recording their sixth straight victory in a 6-2 decision over Hamden. With the victory, WH/SHA improved to 14-2 on the season.
Meghan Dupre led the way with a goal and two assists, Celina Condon and Jianna Cohrs each scored twice, Jenna Hunt added two assists and Kyleen Crowe made 35 saves in the win.
WH/SHA trailed early as Hamden scored just 16 seconds in, but Dupre evened the game at one 4:12 later. After Hamden took a 2-1 lead at the 5:58 mark, Jianna Cohrs scored off an assist from Megan Froehlich to even the game at two with 1:36 left in the opening period.
"Hamden is always a huge game for us," Blake said. "They have come out quick both games this season, scoring in the first 6 seconds. It was a hard fought game from start to finish. We know it will always be a battle with Hamden, but I am proud of the way our girls have been digging deep to pull out a win. They are playing together as a team, working hard each shift, and every goal is a team effort with their puck movement. They have the drive and I am extremely proud of each and every players hard work this season."
Celina Condon (4) against Hamden, February 5, 2019. Photo courtesy of Todd Danbdelske.
The rest of the game belonged to the Westie Sharks and Nowak. Cohrs scored her second of the game off an assist from Dupre 5:53 in, and Nowak added her milestone goal49 seconds later off another assist from Dupre for a 4-2 advantage.
Condon put the game out of reach in the third period with a pair of goals. Her first tally came with 5:54 remaining off an assist from Hunt, and her second came immediately after off assists from Hunt and Francesca Criscuolo 25 seconds later.
Cohrs leads Westie Sharks
Nowak nets 100th career point
By MIKE MADERA
(February 9, 2019) - The West Haven/Sacred Heart Academy girls hockey team has found plenty of ways to win this season. Saturday evening in Shelton was no different.
Behind two goals from Jianna Cohrs and 31 saves from Kyleen Crowe, the Westie Sharks won their eighth straight contest and improved to 16-2 on the year with a 2-0 victory over Notre Dame-Fairfield.
The Westie Sharks scored twice in the opening period, then watched Crowe do the rest. The WH/SHA goaltender denied 31 shots, including 17 in the second period to post the shutout.
Cohrs was the offensive story for the Westie Sharks as she gave her team a 1-0 lead 3 minutes, 31 seconds into the contest off an assist from Veronica Lynn.
The one goal held true until 41 seconds remained in the opening period as Cohrs again scored, this time off assists from Celina Condon and Megan Froehlich.
Westie Sharks extend Streak
WH/SHA improves to 17-2 with win over Branford
By MIKE MADERA
(February 13, 2019) - The West Haven / Sacred Heart Academy girls hockey team extended its winning ways to nine games with a 5-2 victory over Branford Wednesday evening at the Edward L. Bennett Rink in West Haven. With its ninth consecutive win, WH/SHA improved to 17-2 on the season.
Megan Froehlich (32) against Branford, February 13, 2019. Photo courtesy of Todd Dandelske.
Kyleen Crowe finished with 17 saves, including eight in the final period, as she faced just six shots in the first and three in the second.
The Westie Sharks got goal scoring in different ways as Mia Celentano, Jenna Hunt, Francesca Criscuolo, Celina Condon, and Megan Froehlich all tallied.
Brooke McNabola and Condon added two assists, while Criscuolo, Celentano, Hunt and Taylor Nowak each recorded one assist.
The Westie Sharks never trailed in the contest, scoring twice in the opening period and leading 2-0 after one period.
Celina Condon (4) against Branford, February 13, 2019. Photo courtesy of Todd Dandelske.
Celentano got the ball rolling with 2 minutes, 44 seconds remaining as she scored off assists from McNabola and Criscuolo. With 30 seconds remaining in the opening period, Hunt scored off assists from Condon and McNabola for a 2-0 advantage.
Leading 2-1 in the second, Criscuolo scored off assists from Condon and Celentano, before Condon scored off an assist from Hunt 3:08 later for a 4-1 advantage. Froehlich capped the WH/SHA scoring with 1:14 left in the middle period for a 5-1 lead off an assist from Nowak.
WH/SHA tops Hall to move to 18-2
By MIKE MADERA
(February 15, 2019) - The West Haven/Sacred Heart Academy girls hockey team won its tenth straight contest with a 4-0 victory over Hall Friday evening. With the win, the Westie Sharks improved to 18-2 on the season.
Taylor Nowak led the offense with three goals, Jianna Cohrs had a pair of assists, and Kyleen Crowe made 28 saves in the win.
The Westie Sharks took a 3-0 lead in the opening period as Jenna Hunt started the scoring off an assist from Brooke McNabola 3:01 into the game.
Nowak scored the next two goals, the first off assists from Cohrs and Megan Froehlich, and the second off helpers from Cohrs and Mackenzie Gardner 2:33 apart for a 3-0 lead.
WH/SHA closed the closing with Nowak's unassisted tally in the third period.
Crowe and the Westie Sharks then closed the deal as the goaltender made five saves in the first period, nine in the second and 14 more in the third.
On to the Ship
WH/SHA tops NDFF to reach SCC finals
By MIKE MADERA
(February 21, 2019) - The West Haven/Sacred Heart Academy girls hockey was not going to be denied. Despite having to wait an extra day due to inclement weather, the Westie Sharks won their eleventh straight contest and advanced to the Southern Connecticut Conference title game with a 3-0 victory over Notre Dame - Fairfield Thursday evening at the Edward L. Bennett Rink.
Veronica Lynn (66) against Notre Dame-Fairfield, February 21, 2019. Photo courtesy of Todd Dandelske.
Read about the victory at GameTimeCt.
Blades top Westie Sharks
WH/SHA falls in SCC final
By MIKE MADERA
(February 22, 2019) - The West Haven / Sacred Heart Academy girls hockey team was looking for another Southern Connecticut Conference title. Having already defeated Amity/North Haven/Cheshire twice, the Westie Sharks knew the task would be a tall one to defeat the same team three times.
WH/SHA celebrates against Amity/North Haven/Cheshire, February 22, 2019. Photo courtesy of Todd Dandelske.
Read about the SCC final from GameTimeCT
Westie Sharks advance to semifinals
Celentano scores game-winner in OT against East Catholic
By MIKE MADERA
(March 2, 2019) - With time ticking away in overtime of the quarterfinals of the girls state hockey tournament, West Haven/Sacred Heart Academy’s Mia Celentano had one thought going through her mind and that was to end it here.
Coming in off a 2-on-1 rush with Taylor Nowak, Celentano pounced on a rebound of a Nowak shot and beat East Catholic goalie Maren Riley with 51.6 seconds left in overtime to lift the second-seeded Westie Sharks to a 2-1 victory over tenth-seeded East Catholic at the Edward L. Bennett Rink in West Haven Saturday evening.
With the victory, WH/SHA (20-3) advances to Wednesday’s semifinal action against Darien in Shelton at 7:30 p.m.
Mia Celentano celebrates her game-winning goal against East Catholic, March 2, 2019. Photo courtesy of Todd Dandelske.
“I did not want to play another overtime,” Celentano said after lifting the program to the farthest point it has ever been in state tournament action with the semifinal bid. “No one stopped playing. We really came out in the overtime pushing. Taylor (Nowak) just knows where to put the puck. I was able to get the rebound.”
The goal for the Westie Sharks came at just the right time as the speedy East Catholic team was starting to take advantage of a tired WH/SHA team. If not for the goaltending of Kyleen Crowe, the Westie Sharks dream of the program’s first state title may have come to a quick and bitter end in the overtime session.
Crowe came up with seven saves in the extra session, but none better then the glove save she made on Meghan Croyle with 4:04 to go in overtime.
“It was just a great group effort,” Crowe said. “My defense did a great job and I wanted to make sure I was back there for them. They played great in front of me.”
Megan Froehlich (32) scores against East Catholic, March 2, 2019. Photo courtesy of Todd Dandelske.
Croyle was the reason East Catholic (16-12) forced the overtime as she picked up a rebound of a shot by Julia Swanson and beat Crowe with 3:48 gone by in the third period. The goal by Croyle put the momentum on the side of East Catholic.
“We played great,” East Catholic coach Frank Usseglio said. “We came in as the ten seed and to play like that against the two seed is great. I expected that type of perforrmance with the group I have. But, they (WH/SHA) have four girls on defense who are hard to get by. We are fast, but those girls are tough. They made it hard for us.”
The Westie Sharks did all they could not to go to overtime but Riley came up big in several spots of the third period. Riley’s two biggest saves came when she denied Nowak with a blocker save with 7:10 left in regulation and then denied Celina Condon ona breakaway with 4:34 to go.
“East Catholic is a strong team and you can never underestimate them,” WH/SHA coach Erin Blake said. “They gave us a run for our money and this game could have gone either way. It came down to the last second. We just pushed hard and wanted it. It was a good team effort.”
The Westie Sharks took a 1-0 lead in the second with the best pessure of the contest to that point. Off a scramble in front, Megan Froehlich found the back of the net with Jianna Cohrs assisting 3:17 into the period.
The goal by Froehlich would hold up as Riley turned aside eight shots in the middle 15 minutes.
Riley’s best sequence came in a 15 second span when she denied Brooke McNabola from the point, then a pair of rebounds by Nowak off the McNabola shot, before turning aside Nowak in close 15 seconds later. Nowak then burst in on a 2-on-1 break with Cohrs, but Riley (26 saves) stood tall with another save with 2:44 left in the second.
The two teams played to a scoreless first period despite combining for 14 shots. Each team had its share of opportunities to get on the board in the openng period, but both goaltenders made saves in close to keep the game scoreless.
The Westie Sharks had the better of the opportunities early with Condon turned aside by Riley from the high slot 6:13 in, and a hard shot by Nowak denied 3:40 later. Cohrs had the best scoring chance for the Westie Sharks in the first period, but her shot in close was denied by Riley with 2:15 to go.
East Catholic also had its opportunities, but Crowe (27 saves) was up to the task for the Westie Sharks. Mary McKiernan twice was denied in the slot by Crowe in a 26 second span, before Crowe made a nice save off Victoria Amaral in close with 2:02 to go in the first and another off Croyle on the doorstep 52 seconds later.
Darien blanks WH/SHA in semifinals
By MIKE MADERA
(March 7, 2019) - Looking to play for a fourth straight state title, the Darien girls hockey team had one more hill to climb before reaching the championship game. That hill proved to be worth the climb.
Behind a strong defensive effort, and two points apiece from Cate Droogan and Kelly Raymond, third-seeded Darien topped second-seeded West Haven/Sacred Heart Academy 4-0 in the CHSGHA girls semifinals at the Rinks at Shelton Wednesday evening.
Francesca Criscuolo (14) against Darien, March 6, 2019. Photo courtesy of Todd Dandelske.
Not only will Darien (17-3-1) get an opportunity to win its fourth consecutive state title, but the Blue Wave will get a chance to do so against FCIAC rival and top-seeded New Canaan, a 3-1 winner over Simsbury, Saturday afternoon at 1 p.m. at the Bennett Rink in West Haven.
“We got out on them super fast,” Droogan said after finishing with a goal and an assist. “We won every battle .We were determined to win every battle and we did so. I thought we played very well tonight.”
Darien held a 31-14 shot advantage in the contest, and if not for the goaltending of WH/SHA’s Kyleen Crowe, the Westie Sharks (19-4) may have faced a bigger hole from which to climb.
“We played defensive,” WH/SHA coach Erin Blake said. “We knew they were tough. They had a 6-2 win against us last time we played them. We knew it was not going to be easy.”
While West Haven’s Taylor Nowak had the game’s first scoring opportunity which was turned aside with a pad save by Hallie Kreppein, it was the Blue Wave which produced better scoring opportunities, until finally beating Crowe with 1:30 left in the opening period.
Off a scramble in front, Raymond scored off an assist from Droogan to give Darien the only goal it would need in the contest.
“We were not going to let them get going,” Darien coach Jamie Tropsa said of the Westie Sharks. “They are a very good team and they have had a good season. We never wanted them to get going.”
WH/SHA puts pressure on against Darien, March 6, 2019. Photo courtesy of Todd Dandelske.
While Darien held a 9-5 shot advantage in the opening period, it was the second period which turned the game around. The Blue Wave had 12 shots on goal and all seemed to be quality chances.
Crowe made a spectacular save on a shot by Kit Arrix 3:27 in, denied a backhander in front by Raymond five minutes later, and another by Lucie Edwards with a glove save less than a minute after.
Darien finally increased the lead to a pair of goals with 5:38 remaining in the middle period as Shea van den Broek knocked in a rebound, with Sarah Hearns and Ceci Stein gaining assists.
“We have a lot of depth,” Tropsa said. “We are able to run three or four lines out there. I give them a lot of credit. They have kids who work hard. We ran out three or four lines and six D (defense), and I think that allowed us to keep our legs fresh.”
After Kreppein denied Francesca Criscuolo with a great save in front with 1:31 left in the second, Darien put the game away with 10.8 seconds to go in the period.
Arrix kept playing until the whistle and stuffed a loose puck past Crowe following a WH/SHA turnover for a 3-0 advantage.
"This is amazing,” Droogan said of her team playing for its fourth straight state title. “Every year, we come in and we have a standard to live up to. It makes it so much better playing them (New Canaan). It is the first time we get to play them for the state championship. We are excited.”
With the game in hand, the only question was whether Kreppein (14 saves) would get the shutout and that was answered when the junior denied a point shot from Meghan Dupre with 7:20 to go, a hard shot in close by Jenna Hunt less than a minute later, and a shot by Jianna Cohrs in front with 6:12 to go.
“I thought we back-checked hard,” Tropsa said. “That was the plan going in.”
Darien put the final touches on the win when Droogan scored off an assist from Raymond with 2:06 left.
“I’m proud of this group and these seniors,” Blake said. “They are the first team to make it this far. We made four SCC championships, winning two. The seniors helped bring this from the ground up. I hate to see them go out this way, but we had a great year.”
Crowe finished with 27 saves in the loss for the Westie Sharks.