SHELTON — When Division III Staples took to the ice against Division I St. Joseph on Tuesday night, it didn’t take long for the Wreckers to make their presence felt.
Staples came out of the gate and outmatched the Cadets from the opening faceoff en route to an 8-1 victory.
“I think we’ve been laser-focused,” Staples coach Chris Avena said. “Our set of seniors played in the state finals their sophomore year, then we missed the tournament last year, And I think they came back this year really focused.”
The Wreckers were led by senior Sam New, who finished with four goals and an assist. But it was keeping St. Joseph out of the net for the majority of the game that was a big success for Staples, New said.
“Defensively I think we worked a lot this week on moving our feet,” he said. “Our defensemen are very quick with the puck and just moving their feet, getting strives up the ice. We’ve worked on that a lot lately and that definitely benefits us,”
That swarming defense made things difficult for the Cadets to get anything going in their own zone, St. Joseph coach Eddy LeMaire said.
“We’re very young this year,” he said. “And the inexperience against a team’s pressure like Staples, we really coughed up the puck. You can’t win hockey games like that.”
The Cadets had several turnovers in the first period that dug them into a deep hole as many of those turnovers led to breakaway opportunities for the Wreckers.
Since losing its only game of the season two weeks ago to the E.Haven/O.Lyme/O.Saybrook/E.Hampton co-op, Staples has won four straight games and the team is focused on getting back to the top of Division III, New said.
“We went to the Division III state championship two years ago,” he said, “and we’re ready to go back. We can’t look back and we can’t dwell on any missed opportunities any more. This is our year and we’re going to try and take it.”
PLAYER OF THE GAME
New. The senior dominated the Cadets, finishing with five goals — including three in the first period — and an assist en route to the Wreckers’ fourth straight win.
Staples has scored 20 goals during its current four-game winning streak — including 14 goals in the last two games.
“I think everything is just moving in the right direction and everyone’s positive towards games. We came into this game thinking we weren’t going to lose and knowing that we have our team to back us up. We played great.” — Staples senior Sam New on the team’s confidence after 8-1 win over St. Joseph’s Tuesday night.
STAPLES 8, ST. JOSEPH 1
STAPLES 4 3 1—8
SAINT JOSEPH 0 0 1—1
Records: St. Joseph’s 2-7; Stamford-Westhill-Staples 7-1-1. Goals: STJ—Sam Bracchi; S—Sam New 4, Matt Bidgood 2, Ryan Purgay, Jake Glickman. Assists: STJ—Liam Gelston, Wyatt Chrisman. S—New, Zach Bloom, Brian Gray, Cameron Day, Sam Whittle and Jacob Stanford Goalies: STJ—Chris Higgins (9 saves); S—Zack Bloom (12 saves).