The Amity Spartans skated onto the ice in the CIAC State Tourney opener determined to make every second count. Last year they were eliminated in the fires round and that was not going to happen while this senior class was still around.
Fairfield Warde/Ludlowe’s Captain Conor Scharlop (2) got one past Amity’s goalkeeper Brian Mosher (30) on a power play assisted by Austin Armas (14) and Captain Jack O’Rourke (7) with 4:06 left in the first period.
Amity fans hearts sank as the Mustangs took a 2-0 lead with just 1:55 remaining when Trevor Demilt (6), assisted by Matthew Stern (4) and sophomore Jack McCormick (8) smacked one into the net.
As the clock ran out with just 55.6 seconds left in the first period, Brett McNeil (8) on an assist from Dalton Luciani (28) got the Spartans on the board, bringing the score to 2-1.
Amity owned the second period with a solo goal by Adam Shea (5) at 4:59 tying the game at 2-2.
Zach Shelnitz (14) broke that tie with a power play, assisted by Shea with 3:29 seconds left in the middle period.
The third period was stressful for both Grace and Mosher as the Spartans and Mustangs did everything they could to win this game.
With just 2 minutes left in the game, Grace was pulled to give the Mustangs an extra man on the ice and at 1:58 John Pignataro (6) and John Crocker (19) set things up for Shelnitz to shoot one into the empty net bringing the Spartans ahead 4-2.
But the Mustangs would not accept this kind of deficit, Scharlop and O’Rourke assisted junior Zach Weinstein (9) in the final goal of the game only 38 seconds before the buzzer.
Of the Mustangs, Amity interim coach Mike Richetelli said, “We knew they were going to be tough. They played their butts off.”
Amity has come to depend upon its strong seniors this season, but the underclassmen like Shelnitz have proven themselves as valuable team players.
Richetelli said, “He (Shelnitz) came up big tonight. We are going to need that in the playoffs. We are going to need goals from everybody. We are going to need different people to step up.”
#2 Amity (15-8) advances to the quarterfinals tonight against #10 New Milford. With the loss, Fairfield ended its season (7-14).
Tuesday, March 11
East Catholic 9, Wilton 3
Cheshire 5, Suffield/Granby/Windsor Locks 2
Hand 4, Newington/Berlin/Manchester 1
North Haven 6, North Branford 2
Amity 4, Fairfield 3
New Milford 4, Bolton/Coventry/Rockville 2
Branford 6, Fermi/Enfield 2
Milford 5, Trinity Catholic 2
Friday, March 14
No. 1 East Catholic (15-5-1) vs. No. 8 Cheshire (11-9-1) at Trinity College, 6:30
No. 13 Daniel Hand (11-10-0) vs. No. 5 North Haven (13-5-3) at Northford, 7:30
No. 2 Amity (14-7-0) vs. No. 10 New Milford (15-5-1) at Milford Ice Pavilion, 7 p.m.
No. 3 Branford (16-4-1) vs. No. 11 Milford Coop (12-8-1) at Bennett Rink, 6:30
The Milford Ice Pavilion is nice and close, but parking can be a bear. We suggest the Amity Army carpool to save that hassle.
March 17, at Ingalls Rink
5:30 or 7:30 p.m.
March 21 at Ingalls Rink, 7:30 p.m.