By PHIL BRODSKY
Orange Live Sports Writer
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Sleep walking its way for the first 20 minutes of Saturday’s Southern Connecticut Conference Division II contest against Milford, the Amity hockey team finally awoke from its lengthy snooze and found itself on the short end of a 2-0 tally. After a yawn and a stretch, the Spartans rallied back with three goals in the final nine minutes of the second session and went on to nudge the Indians 4-3 at the Milford Ice Pavilion.
Winning Coach Gary Lindgren said, “Why we’ve had rough first periods is a good question that I haven’t found the answer to. All I know is we’ve been lack luster, tentative, and back on our heels. I’ve been very disappointed how teams have taken it to us and dictated the tempo early in the game. Today, we came out with no jump in our step and were just standing around. Finally came alive during the second period and caught some breaks. We have to find a way to get ourselves going in the first period.”
Trailing 2-0 (and outshot 17-5 during the first period) , Amity finally got onto the scoreboard when Brett McNeil dug the puck out of a scrum in front of the net (with help from Adam Shea) and flipped it over the outstretched glove of Milford goalie, John DePalma with 6 minutes, 25 seconds gone in the second period. That power play goal (which came with Rob Busky in the penalty box for hooking) cut Milford’s lead in half.
Nearly eight minutes later (at 14:20) Erik Dykun tied the game on another power play goal. It came with Ben Levallee also off the ice for hooking. The game remained deadlocked at 2-2 for only 23 seconds as Amity scored again. This time the Spartans caught a big break as Keating Seymour’s shot caromed off an Indian skate and sailed into the net to give Amity a 3-2 advantage.
“Finally, we came alive. When we scored those two power play goals during the second period, I think we finally settled down and began to believe in ourselves.” added Lindgren.
At 3:50 of the third period, McNeill (assisted by Shea and Jon Crocker) netted what would prove to be the game winning goal. With his team trailing 4-2, Milford’s high-scoring junior center Zack White knocked the puck under the pad of Amity net minder Nick Nuzzolo to again make it a one-goal game. It was White’s second goal of the game, his ninth score and 18th point of the season. Despite a furious Milford finish, Nuzzolo and the Spartans hung on to clinch their fourth win in five games.
Despite the final score, Milford outshot the Spartans by a hefty 42-25 margin, requiring a busy Nuzzolo to make 39 saves. DePalma recorded 21 saves for the Indians.
According to Lindgren, “Milford (now 3-2) is a good team. They kept coming at us. I like what Sal (Milford Coach Sal Follo) is doing and Zach White is a player. He went by three of our guys to score their second goal. I got worried when White scored again only four minutes into the third period, but our guys played with confidence. I took a time out and told them to be smart and to play conservatively. After that, we battled and Nick was outstanding in goal. He made a tremendous save with 30 seconds to go—it was the save of the game.”
Milford’s first goal came with only 19 seconds gone as Will Vitelli poked the puck past Nuzzolo. At 2:13, White beat three Amity defenders and drilled the puck into the upper right hand corner of the net. That unassisted goal gave his team a 2-0 lead. Amity caught a huge break midway through the first period as a Milford shot hit off the post, popped up into the air and sailed just over the top of the cross bar.
The 4-1 Spartans return to the Milford Ice Pavilion on Wednesday to face the Division I Notre Dame of Fairfield Lancers at 6 p.m.
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