By PHIL BRODSKY
Orange Live Sports Writer
To Sponsor The Hockey Team for The Season call Terri at 203-506-1747
Scoring early and scoring often, the Amity hockey team jumped out to a 3-0 lead halfway through the first period, but then had to hang on by its collective fingernails to defeat Sheehan 4-2 Saturday afternoon at the Edwards Bennett Rink in West Haven. It was the opening game of the season for both Southern Connecticut Conference Division II sextets.
“At times we were a little shaky, but we’ll take it,” Spartan Coach Gary Lindgren said.
With just a minute, 8 seconds gone in the game, Keating Seymour dug the puck out of a scrum in front of the Titan net and back handed it across the goal line. Adam Shea and Dane Simone earned assists in that score. Less than two minutes later, left wing Ryan Hauser slid the puck to Shea, who camped in front of the net. He quickly turned, found the Titan goalie (Will Valleau) out of position, and banged it home, giving Amity a 2-0 at 2:50 of the first period. Kevin Ryan made it 3-0 when he picked up the puck behind the Sheehan goal, came around the net unchecked and stuffed it between the pipe and Valleau’s leg pad with 7:16 still left in the Spartans’ busy first period.
According to Lindgren, “We got off to a great start. Our first goal came on our second shift of the game.”
That 3-0 lead last exactly seven seconds. Sheehan won the faceoff after the goal and the puck skipped onto the stick of Cody Alpert and he topped a dribbler that skipped over the goal line at 7:23.
Lindgren added, “I was disappointed to see Sheehan score right after we got our third goal. We had a defensive break down and the Sheehan kid (Alpert) made us pay. I think we got a little complacent with the three goal lead, went into a little lull, began to coast, and let them stay in the game.”
At the start of the second period, Sheehan again won the face off. Alpert picked up the puck at mid ice, came right down the slot and beat Amity goalie Nick Nuzzolo with just eight seconds gone on the clock. That was the only goal of an otherwise uneventful second period. With 39 seconds left, Ryan came very close to finding the net, but his slap shot banged off a goal post and caromed off toward the boards.
Still leading 3-2, Amity added an insurance goal when Seymour ripped a slap shot from the left dot that sailed past Valleau at 6:18 of the third period.
“That goal was big. Before it was scored, Sheehan was just a bounce away from tying the score” Lindgren said. “Even though Sheehan had cut our lead back to only one goal, we kept our composure and controlled play during the second and third periods. During the third period, we played smart. For the most part, we kept the puck in their end and wore them down.”
The Spartans outshot Sheehan by a hefty 46-18. While Valleau had a busy night, recording 42 saves. Lindgren admitted that Nuzzolo wasn’t tested very often by the Titans (making only 16 saves), but then added, “Nick came up big when he had to. Toward the end of the third period, he dove across the crease to make a huge save.”
Lindgren was especially pleased to note that all three of his lines had scored.
He said, “Our first two lines stepped up nicely and I thought our third line (Brendan Ferrar, Bubba Pignataro, and Ryan) really helped us tonight. For the most part, our defensive play was steady.”
The 1-0 Spartans are on the road Thursday to face North Haven in a 4 p.m. SCC inter-divisional game at the Northford Ice Pavilion.