Anthony DiLungo’s No. 14 will hang forever in the rink that bears his father’s name. East Haven’s co-op boys hockey team retired DiLungo’s number before Monday’s game against Guilford at DiLungo Rink.
DiLungo died in 2018, just 49 years old. He’d been an assistant coach for 13 years at East Haven and a longtime youth coach from years before that.
“He dedicated his life to hockey in East Haven as a player,” Yellowjackets coach Lou Pane said, “and then he came back and coached all those years, and he loved all the players he coached. A lot of them came back yesterday.”
“It’s sad he passed away so young.”
— East Haven AD (@EHavenAthletics) February 24, 2020
DiLungo played at AIC and Quinnipiac after an all-state career at East Haven.
“It’s nice to know everyone will come to the rink will see his shirt hanging,” Pane said.
Though the Yellowjackets lost 5-2 to Guilford on Monday to fall to 8-10, their win over Lyman Hall/HK/Coginchaug on Saturday was their eighth, ensuring their season will go on past this week.
“It’s been a little up and down,” Pane said, “but we had team goals at the beginning of the year to make the state tournament and also try to make the SCCs. And we accomplished both the other day against Lyman Hall.”
Alec Speirs scored in overtime to secure the 4-3 win that clinched spots in both tournaments. Monday’s loss seals East Haven into the fourth spot in the SCC/SWC Division II tournament. In the 16-team CIAC Division II tournament, they could be as high as the 11th seed or as low as 16th. It’s the Yellowjackets’ 34th consecutive appearance in the state tournament.
“I tell you, it’s strictly through their hard work, the effort they play with,” Pane said. “We’re not one of the most talented teams, but they come to work hard.”
Senior Logan Hamilton is a standout goaltender, and junior Rocco Plano is playing 33 minutes a game in front of him on defense, Pane said. Speirs, one of only three senior skaters, and Dave Amatruda have led the offense.
Hand, Branford, North Haven and East Haven make up the SCC Division II field, and they coincidentally meet at Northford Ice Pavilion on Wednesday night: East Haven and Branford start it at 6, with North Haven and Hand to follow.
ANOTHER NUMBER RETIREMENT
Trinity Catholic will retire No. 24 for 1997 graduate Brian Bill before Monday’s game, the Crusaders’ season finale, against Wilton at Terry Conners Rink.
Bill, a Stamford native, was a decorated Navy SEAL who died in Afghanistan in 2011 when his helicopter was shot down. He was 31.
He was a co-captain of the Crusaders as a senior.
A special night for Trinity Catholic Hockey will take place on March 2nd@6:30 as we retire "97 Co-Captain Brian Bill's #24 prior to our game vs @HockeyWilton https://t.co/gcodc4SEHq@TCHSCrusaders @GameTimeCT @StamfordSports @USNavy @StamfordPolice @SFDPIO pic.twitter.com/1M09e2ul9t
— TC Ice Hockey (@TCatholicHockey) February 20, 2020
Notre Dame-West Haven’s athletics website said junior defenseman Ryan Cannon has a concussion after the hit in Monday’s game that knocked him out and sent him to the hospital on a stretcher. Cannon needed 10 stitches as well after being hit from behind in the first period of the Green Knights’ 4-2 loss to Darien.
HK: Thank you to all who helped tonight to insure proper care. From Mr Warrick to Rink personnel to first responders. Much love! Poignant moment when Coach Vieira brought team over to give update to a visibly moved bunch of hockey brothers. Continued thoughts and prayers. #cthk pic.twitter.com/NSDnO0lOy5
— NDWHAthletics (@NDWHAthletics) February 25, 2020
WHERE ARE WE
Getting close to the postseason, that’s where we are. It’ll begin Saturday with the FCIAC quarterfinals, or playdowns, if you will. The playoffs wrap up next weekend, and then the state playoffs begin a couple of days later.
The FCIAC field is nearly set, and may be by the time you read this: Fairfield could seal up the sixth seed with a win or a tie Tuesday night against Trinity Catholic. Failing that, Trumbull could get in with a win Wednesday against Darien.
That Darien game could decide the top three seeds: If the Blue Wave win, it’s a three-way tie to be determined by lot for the top three seeds. If the Blue Wave don’t win, they’ll be No. 3, New Canaan will be No. 1 and Greenwich will be third.
Fairfield or Trumbull will face the third seed on Saturday, and Ridgefield and Westhill/Stamford meet.
The SCC/SWC tournament fields are set. Fairfield Prep and Notre Dame-West Haven meet for the Division I crown on March 6 at Bennett Rink. The Division III seeds are set: Newtown faces Sheehan, and Milford meet New Milford in the semifinals on March 4 in Milford, with the final on March 6 at Bennett after the D-I game.
The CCC North field looks like Simsbury, Farmington Valley, Glastonbury and Northwest Catholic, seeds to be set. The South Division field, in order, looks like WMRP, Newington, Hall/Southington and E.O. Smith/Tolland.
The Eastern CT Eagles and Woodstock Academy are in the Nutmeg Conference playoffs. Suffield/Granby/Windsor Locks still meets both Housatonic and Tri-Town, and those two games will determine the other two playoff teams.
Tip of cap to Hand’s Tatum Fitzmaurice, who reached 100 career points with a three-goal, four-point night in a 6-0 win over Immaculate; and to Ryan Ginnett of Glastonbury, who assisted on Adam Poetto’s goal in a 6-1 loss to Simsbury to hit the same milestone.
On this goal, Ryan Ginnett recorded his 100th career point for GHS!
— Glastonbury Hockey (@GlastonburyHoc1) February 23, 2020
WRAP IT UP
The CIAC will allow regular-season games up to next Thursday, March 5, but right now the only one slated later than Monday is the Wednesday, March 4, game between Hall/Southington and JBWA in Danbury.