EAST HAVEN >> There haven’t been many boys hockey opponents that have been able to keep up with East Haven’s front line of Tristan Goodwin, Matt Longobardi and Mike Falanga.
It’s rare for many Division II teams to be competitive with elite Division I teams ranked in the Register/GameTimeCT.com Top 10 Hockey Poll.
On Wednesday, Amity, which competes in Division II, gave No. 4 East Haven one of its toughest games of the season as the Spartans combined speed and physical play to keep up with the Easties.
But in the end, the Easties felt fortunate as Goodwin went on to score his fifth game-winning goal of the season with 4 minutes, 16 seconds left in the third period to lead the Easties to a 4-3 interdivision SCC-SWC Hockey League win over Amity at DiLungo Rink.
Goodwin was between the blue line and the left circle with the puck with three players between him and Amity goalie Brian Mosher. Goodwin wound up for a shot and a rising slap shot flew into the right corner of the net past a screened Mosher for the game-winning goal.
“We knew Amity had a hard-working, well-coached team that never gives up,” Goodwin said. “They always play us tough. We owned the first period, they had the second period but I thought we controlled the third.
“When I had the puck just inside the blue line, I saw the defenders between me and the goalie. I knew if I took the shot the goalie would be screened and as soon as I took the shot I knew the puck was going to go in.”
Longobardi contributed with two goals as the Easties improve to 10-1. Amity falls to 5-5.
“It’s always a one or two goal game when we play Amity,” East Haven coach Lou Pane said. “Their forward Adam Shea and their entire first line played great and they were physical, too. When they scored to take a 2-1 lead, that gave them some momentum. It was a controversial goal because some people thought the puck bounced between the pipes but the officials said it went in.”
Longobardi got the scoring started with a power-play goal at 7:59 of the first period. Amity’s Keating Seymour tied the game at 1 at 2:08 of the second period and Shea gave the Spartans a 2-1 lead at 4:05. Longobardi scored off a scramble in front of Mosher to tie the game at 2 at 4:51.
Tyler Moss, moved from the fourth line to the third line to replace Dylan Butler, who was recovering from a concussion, gave the Easties a 3-2 lead at 11:57 of the second period.
But the Spartans kept pressuring Eastie goalie Tom DeLucia and Kevin Ryan got the equalizer. He scored off a tip-in with exactly two minutes left in the second period to tie the game at 3 and set up the game’s exciting finish.
“We knew we had to match their strong first line, so when we had the opportunity, we changed our lines to keep up with them and stay fresh,” Amity co-coach Scooter Richetelli said. “Kevin Ryan, John Pignataro and John Crocker did a great job when they were out there and that line actually scored our third goal (Ryan).
“In our last two games we lost 4-3 to Glastonbury (Monday) and now 4-3 to East Haven. But these were great learning experiences. We learned more and developed more playing against the caliber of talent in those two games than we did in our first eight games.”
Mosher ended up with 29 saves and DeLucia had 22.
East Haven 4, Amity 3
(at East Haven)
Amity 0 3 0 — 3
East Haven 1 2 1 — 4
First period—EH: Matt Longobardi (Tyler Johnson, Mike Falanga) 7:59; Second period—AM: Keating Seymour (Adam Shea) 2:03; Adam Shea (Kevin Ryan) 4:05; EH: Matt Longobardi (Joe DAlbero, Jake DelGuidice) 4:51; tyler moss (pete capone, vinny paolilio) 11:57; AM: Kevin Ryan (John Crocker) 13:00; Third period—EH: Tristan Goodwin (Joe DAlbero) 10:44;
Shots—AM: 25; EH: 33;
Saves—AM: Brian Mosher 29; EH: Tom DeLucia 22;
Records—East Haven 10-1; Amity 5-5