MILFORD – The season thus far for the Cheshire hockey team has been a streaky one. With losses coming in groups, the Rams were looking to avoid their second straight defeat.
Scoring two goals apiece in all three periods, Cheshire defeated Milford 6-1 in a Southern Connecticut Conference Division II contest at the Milford Ice Pavilion Saturday afternoon.
“Record-wise, we are not happy, but I am happy with the way we have been playing,” Cheshire coach Anthony Giusto said. “We have lost some games where we have played well. We had a 48-16 shot advantage and lost. This was a big one for us today.”
Cheshire held a 39-25 shot advantage in the contest and goaltender Tom Bishop made sure the Rams came away victors with 24 saves. The Indians had five power play opportunities, including a two-man advantage in the final five minutes of the game, but came up empty.
“We have been trying to be very aggressive with our penalty kill,” Giusto said. “We have been trying to keep the play to the outside, not in the middle.”
Cheshire had eight different players in the scoring column, with Sean Crowley adding a goal and an assist.
The Rams (6-7) set the tone of the game early, controlling play in each of the first two periods. Leading by a pair of goals after one period of play, the Rams built on that lead in the middle period.
Ammar Chaudhry gave the Rams a 3-0 lead when he poked in a loose puck in front of the Milford goal 3:33 into the middle period. Cheshire kept up the pressure, but was unable to add on another tally, before the Indians got on the board.
Doug McLenithan ripped a shot from the point which was deflected in front. Junior Jake Burwell was there to backhand in a shot for a power play goal with 7:44 left in the period.
“This was a physical game,” Milford coach Sal Follo said. “They are a good team. I thought we stayed with them. We only had one power play goal. We did not capitalize when we had the opportunities. Their goalie (Bishop) came up big.”
Any thoughts of a comeback for the Indians (2-9) quickly faded as the Rams answered back with 1:30 to go in the period. Sophomore Benjamin O’Connor took a pass from Jason McKinley in front and beat Milford goaltender A.J. Bolduc for a 4-1 Cheshire lead after two periods of play.
The Rams took an early lead in the game and never looked back, scoring twice in the opening period. Junior Liam Killea gave Cheshire a 1-0 lead when he scooped up a rebound in front and beat Bolduc to the top corner 5:20 into the contest. Drew Riccitelli and Crowley picked up assists on the tally.
“We have to tighten up in some areas,” Follo said.
After Milford’s Burwell was denied in front, the Rams took a 2-0 lead when Vinnie Solla skated in on Bolduc and took a shot which went off the pad of Bolduc and into the net with three minutes to go in the opening period.
Milford had a pair of solid scoring opportunities in the final 2:30 of the opening period, but Matt Gilebbi was stopped in front and Burwell saw his shot go off the post with 40 seconds to go.
Cheshire put the game away in a chippy third period with two more goals. Crowley scored an unassisted goal 2:44 into the period and Mateen Karimi capped the scoring with an unassisted goal with 5:19 to go.
Bolduc made 33 saves in the loss for Milford.