Boys Hockey: Branford Hornets Sting Spartans, Break Amity’s Winning Streak

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Jan 142019

The Amity Spartans Boys Ice Hockey team was on the road in North Haven on Saturday for a game against the Branford Hornets.

Although Amity had a great 7 game run, we knew the threat of a loss was possible as the season went on and the competition grew more difficult. They’ve been working hard in practices and at every game, and they were ready for battle.

Going in, Branford had a 4-2-1 record and naturally, they didn’t want to lose and were prepared for a fight.

The first period set the pace for the rest of the game, Branford’s Blake Kustra made an unassisted goal just 1:11 into the game, that was followed by Jack Manware, sinking one in at 6:30, assisted by Max Bunton.

First Period Score: 2-0 Branford

Amity came out strong in the second period with Jay Csejka making a goal in the first 38 seconds, assisted by 10 and 20.

Second Period Score: 2-1 Branford

The Hornets dominated the third period beginning with a solo goal by Manware at 1:32. Exactly four minutes later, Rob Lionetti scored on an assist from Theo Kirby.

Amity made a lot of shots, but couldn’t seem to get anything past goaltender Greg Lucente, who used his best Jedi moves against the Spartans.

Branford continued its attack on Amity goalie Mal Zurolo and at 8:54, Chris Donadio smacked one past him, bringing the final score to 5-1.  With that, the Hornets broke the Spartans’ 7-game winning streak.

Disappointment swept through the stands as Amity fans slowly retreated to the parking lot.

The Spartans’ locker room was quiet, as they went over the game in their heads.

Records: Amity 7-1, Branford 5-2-1

Head Coach Mike “Scooter” Richetelli said a lot of things contribute to a loss, on this day, it was because Amity was outworked by Branford. “You’re not going to win if you get outworked. That’s a good lesson to learn,” he said. “They deserved to win today. It’s all about hard work, our schedule just gets tougher from here — that’s how it’s supposed to be.”

“If you want to go through this and just skate through it, you’re not going to make anything of yourself,” Richetelli said. “Our goal is to make sure we have a strong competitive schedule and do the things we’re supposed to do. On Sunday, we have practice, we’ll get to work and get ready for Wednesday. We’ll be fine. They learned a lesson today, and we’ll move on, that’s what life’s all about.

Next Up For The Spartans: HOME game vs Fairfield Warde/Ludlowe (D1) (4-1-2) on Wednesday, Jan. 16 at 8 p.m.

Jan 112015

Amity shadowed Branford's top scorer... and, it worked.

Amity shadowed Branford’s top scorer… and, it worked perfectly.

Although Amity has not exactly had a stellar Hockey season, the coaches told the boys that they were proud of them after their 6-1 loss to the undefeated Branford Hornets (7-0) at the Northford Ice Pavilion on Saturday.

Asst. Coach Mike Richetelli said, “Yes, we hit a few glitches, but they played hard and they did their jobs out there today. Branford is a good team, they play well. We’ll just keep working on getting better.”

Branford had one standout player in this game, Sophomore Zach Withington who had a hat trick (3 goals). But it was Amity’s Liam Caraciolo that everyone, including many Branford fans, talked about throughout the game.

Since the printed game program did not include Amity’s players numbers, no one knew his name, but the number “17” was heard in conversations around the rink as Caraciolo stayed on top of his man — Branford’s star player Tyler Criscuolo, (#11) who easily scores 3 goals per game — holding him down to just one goal and an assist this time out.

This was Amity’s plan: to shadow Criscuolo, who had 21 goals in the first 6 games of the season, and hold him back.

Play after play spectators could see Criscuolo’s frustration growing until the third period when he finally snapped. With just 3:12 left in the game, Criscuolo butt-ended Caraciolo (using the top of his stick shaft to jab his opponent) for which he received a game misconduct, a major 5 minute penalty and ejection from the game. — He may also be forbidden to play in Branford’s next game.

You can watch CPTV highlights of the game HERE

Play by Play

After a lot of back and forth and and a fierce barrage of unsuccessful shots at Amity’s sophomore goalie Tyler Johnston, well into the first period Criscuolo, assisted by Cooper Bunton, was first to score for the Hornets with just 6:36 remaining.

Just 1:04 later Withington scored his first goal, assisted by Bunton and Aidan Deane.

First Period score 2-0 Branford.

The Hornets came out like a ball of fire in the second period with back to back goals. Scott Klouda, assisted by Criscuolo and Deane stunned Johnston just 16 seconds in, and before the goalie could take a breath, Withington got his second game point one minute later with an assist from Matthew Dow.

Jeremy Cable made the Spartan's only goal.

Jeremy Cable made the Spartan’s only goal.

The Spartans finally got on the scoreboard with a nice play by Jeremy Cable with an assist from Zach Shelnitz 6:02 into the middle period. Hornet Goalie AJ Brink couldn’t stop that one.

Second Period score 4-1 Branford.

The third period began much like the second, with Deane getting one past Johnston in the first 59 seconds.

Withington earned his hat trick with less than 7 minutes left in the game.

Final score 6-1

Both goalies worked hard, making some amazing ninja moves to keep their opponents down.

Branford outshot Amity 36-20.

The Spartans will play Wilton in West Haven at 6 p.m. on Friday, Jan. 16.