NORTHFORD – As the postseason nears, it comes as no surprise special teams will play key roles for those who advance and those who do not.
Looking to get in the postseason hunt, the North Haven boys hockey team proved this statement to be factual.
Scoring three times on the power play and once while short-handed, the Indians topped Milford 6-2 in a SCC Division II contest at the Northford Ice Pavilion Thursday evening.
“The maroon unit has been clicking in practice,” North Haven coach Nick Costanzo said. “Our penalty killing unit has not had many opportunities as we have not taken many penalties. We know how important they are. We did a good job with that tonight.”
Not only did the Indians excel on special teams, but they did so as far as spreading the ice and moving the puck, Eight different players were in the scoring column, led by Andrew Carmody with two goals and Jack Marotollo with one goal and three assists.
“We moved the puck very well today,” Marotollo said. “We kept it moving. We have been working hard in practice. We are playing better. Our record does not indicate what type of team we have. In some games, we have dominated, but we just did not finish. We did today.”
The Indians (4-7-1) stole all the momentum of the game with their first power play goal of the game off the stick of Carmody with just 48 seconds remaining in the opening period to even the game at one. From that point on, it was all North Haven and its special teams.
Carmody gave North Haven a 2-1 lead off assists from Marotollo and C.J. Kenny as Marotollo fed a pass from the side of the net in front to Carmody on the power play with 9:36 left in the middle period. Just 1:05 later, North Haven held a 2-0 advantage when Jake Wentworth’s shot was stopped by Milford goalie A.J. Bolduc, but a loose puck was tapped in by Jamie Montesi for a 3-1 advantage.
Bolduc kept the game from getting away from the Indians as he turned aside a handful of shots the rest of the way, denying North Haven’s Alex Cianci in front with 4:34 remaining and a wrap-around attempt by Marotollo with seconds remaining in the middle period.
The Indians put the game away early in the third, scoring twice while on special teams. Kenny spun around in front and fed a perfect pass to Cianci into an open net for a power play goal just 52 seconds into the third period.
“You can’t win a game in the penalty box,” Milford coach Sal Follo said. “You can’t win when you take as many penalties as we did. Penalties hurt us today. We gave up three power play goals to them. We have to be more disciplined than that. The season is winding down. We have to be more disciplined if we want to win these games.”
North Haven increased the lead to 5-1 while short-handed as Mason Sullivan connected with Sam Pethick and Pethick buried a shot past Bolduc with 8:18 remaining. Just 1:01 later, Marotollo scored off an assist from Kenny for a 6-1 advantage.
Milford (5-8) had taken a 1-0 lead in the opening period when Rich Carino scored off assists from Matt Gilebbi and Jared Hibler just 1:53 into the contest. The Indians capped the scoring with 4:53 remaining as Ryan Ahern scored an unassisted goal to get the Indians within 6-2.
Bolduc finished with 26 saves in the loss for Milford. Jeremy Hickcox stopped 10 of the 11 shots he faced for the Indians, before being replaced by Daniel Godlewski in the third period.
M – 1 0 1 – 2 (5-8)
N – 1 2 3 – 6 (4-7-1)
M – Rich Carino (Matt Gilebbi, Jared Hubler) 13:07
N – Andrew Carmody (Jack Marotollo) 0:48
N – Carmody (Marotollo, C.J. Kenny) 9:36
N – Jamie Montesi (Jake Wentworth) 8:31
N – Alex Cianci (Marotollo, Kenny) 14:08
N – Sam Pethick (Mason Sullivan) 8:18
N – Marotollo (Kenny) 7:17
M – Ryan Ahern 4:53
Shots: M 13; N -32
Saves: (M) A.J. Bolduc – 26; (N) Jeremy Hickcox – 10, Daniel Godlewski – 1