WALLINGFORD >> For 43 minutes and 30 seconds the Housatonic-Northwestern-Wamogo Mountaineers looked like they were going to lose for the second time this season against Sheehan, but a James Huften goal with 1:30 left followed by a Andy Shepherd goal with 28 seconds remaining tied the game, 2-2, and sent it to overtime where it would end in a tie.
“Assistant coach Chris Bellanca told me that this was my moment and to go get one,” said Shepherd a junior.
Shepherd did just that, receiving a pass from Huften, before beating Titans goalie Carly Femniak to tie the game.
“Andy came up big,” said Mountaineers head coach Dean Diamond, who was happy to walk away with the tie but wanted to get the win. “I’ll take the tie but I wanted the win, I wish I could be happier but I am not.”
The two teams met on Jan. 4 and the Titans skated to a 5-3 win and this game was very physical as both teams totaled 12 penalties on the ice, five on the Titans and seven on the Mountaineers.
“I’m disappointed we didn’t get the win,” said Diamond. “Five-on-five I think we’re the better team.”
When the puck dropped, until Huften’s goal, the Titans controlled the entire game.
“We got out our system. We didn’t maintain our forecheck and we weren’t able to recover,” said Sheehan head coach Dave Festa. “Credit to them to the way they kept pushing.”
Nine minutes into the game the Titans’ Sal Gozzo deflected a shot past the Mountaineers’ goalie Eric Chin. Then 10 minutes in the second period the Titans’ Christian Giacondino broke in alone on a breakaway and beat Chin to extend the lead.
After falling behind by two goals, Chin remained confident and kept the Mountaineers in the game making 32 saves, five in the third and then seven in overtime.
“We had to control the things that we can control,” said Chin, a junior, who was telling his defensemen what to do late in the game. “They were doing what I was telling them to do. I do a lot of yelling.”
Diamond was very happy with his goalies performance along with his top defensive pair.
“Chin kept us in the game, he was the star of the game,” said Diamond. “James Heuschkel and Liam Bamberry, I couldn’t have asked for a better game from them. They played their butts off.”
With the loss Sheehan falls to 4-2-1 on the season.
“You don’t like to have these games at this point of the season,” said Festa. “We’re going to build upon it.”
The Mountaineers are now 7-1-1 on the season and though Diamond wanted the win, they will take the tie.
“It feels good to get the tie after being down 2-0,” said Shepard.
Housatonic-Northwestern-Wamogo 2 Sheehan 2 (OT)
At Remsen Arena
Housatonic-Northwestern-Wamogo 0 0 2 (0) – 2
Sheehan 1 1 0 (0) – 2
Goals: H – James Huften; Andy Shepherd. S – Sal Gozzo; Christian Giacondino.
Assists: H – Andy Shepherd; Finn Bambery; Liam Bamberry. S – Dan Hennessey; Christian Giacondino; Sal Gozzo.
Saves: H – Eric Chin 32. S – Carly Femniak 24.
Shots: Sheehan 34; Housatonic-Northwestern-Wamogo 26
Records: Housatonic-Northwestern-Wamogo 7-1-1. Sheehan 4-2-1.