The score wasn’t what he or anyone on Hamden wanted, but boys hockey coach Todd Hall had some perspective on Saturday’s 7-1 loss to No. 3 Notre Dame-West Haven.
“I’m not making excuses, but we went through the flu battle like everybody else, and we’re still going through it,” Hall said.
“Our top three (defensemen) in terms of ice time were out Saturday. I was so proud of the way the team responded. Forget the score. I’m talking battle. Kids were in positions they’ve never been in, against a good Notre Dame team, and they battled, full-energy. … Unfortunately we didn’t get the result we wanted, but I’ll take that every day of the week.”
The bug is part of the reason Hamden has hit a lull. After opening the season with some eye-opening wins, the Green Dragons have lost six in a row, scoring just seven goals in the streak. They’re 7-10 with three regular-season games to go, and likely with a week to rest after that.
The good news for the Green Dragons is that everyone gets in the Division I tournament, and they’ll have a chance to see how much they’ve put together over the course of the season.
They have a good number of seniors, Hall noted, but “we weren’t the most experienced group in terms of time and certainly in terms of production; we graduated over 70 percent of our scoring,” Hall said.
Cue the jokes about needing to get offense from your goaltenders, but Hall had a bummer for fans of Weird Stuff: Though initial reports had Hamden’s Saturday goal credited to goalie Maxx Ricci, Hall said it was properly credited to forward Craig Cesare. With a Hamden penalty coming and Notre Dame goalie Connor Smith pulled for an extra attacker, the Green Knights accidentally passed it back into their own net 15 seconds into the game.
One of several interesting scores on Saturday night was one of the later ones to come across. Glastonbury ended Farmington Valley’s 11-game winning streak with a 4-3 home win. The Generals had defeated Glastonbury 6-2 on Jan. 11.
“I’d say (Glastonbury’s players) are probably starting to believe in each other, believe in the systems. They’re really moving the puck well, using their talents,” Tomahawks coach Ken Barse said. “It’s just been kind of this snowball thing. They’re practicing harder, playing harder, using each other. They’re on all cylinders.”
Last year’s Division II runner-up, Glastonbury is 9-7, winning five in a row and six out of seven since a 7-1 loss to Simsbury.
Well, gee, all that sounded kind of familiar. Last year, before the Division II final, Barse talked about how his team came together, started doing the little things after bottoming out…
“Same thing!” Barse said with a laugh. “Here’s the common thread. We play Simsbury outside … at Simsbury Farms, a great little golf course. They cleaned our clock. (Glastonbury’s players) said, ‘coach, why don’t we get off the bus, walk around the rink a couple of times and say “you guys win”?’”
But they’ve put it back together, and Barse said he has a team of great communicators. Forward Ryan Ginnett has played an excellent 200-foot game, making plays and breaking the puck out of the Tomahawks’ end. Adam Poetto is a quick, skilled and creative forward.
And junior goalie Kevin Giesow, Barse said, “is probably our most-improved player. .. He’s worked really, really hard. He made some unbelievable saves at the end (against Farmington). Our bench was jumping up for him.”
FALCONS, RAMS VS. CANCER
Cancer may affect everyone, but boy could Cheshire and Xavier use a breather, with the families of players and coaches from both teams affected in recent years. The rinkmates will use their Feb. 22 meeting at Wesleyan, a Cheshire home game, as a “Hockey Fights Cancer” night. Cheshire coach Anthony Giusto set up a GoFundMe page to raise money for the American Cancer Society before the game.
Much more brightly, the Rams honored their senior backup goalie, Nick Mongillo, on Saturday with the Schena/Whitlock Award, named for two Cheshire alumni who died a week apart in May 2010.
The award goes to “the player who best exemplifies leadership qualities and an overall commitment to excellence on and off the ice, as well as in the classroom and community.”
Congratulations to Nick Mongillo- recipient of the Annual Schena/ Whitlock memorial award pic.twitter.com/zQWAWB0x9c
— CHS Athletic Office (@CHSRamPride) February 8, 2020
Mongillo, Giusto said in an email, shows up with a smile to work hard every day. “The fact that he does this without promise of playing time is a true testament to his character and the award in honor of Greg (Schena) and Mark (Whitlock),” Giusto wrote.
Mongillo then got into action for the third time in his career, making four saves in relief of all-state goalie Nick Maringola to finish off a 4-0 shutout of Guilford.
Max Vitucci, McMahon/Norwalk’s standout senior goalie, left the co-op’s game injured Thursday against Fairfield. Freshman goalie Patrick Gummer came in against the Mustangs and kept McMahon/Norwalk in the game. Fairfield, a Division I team against the D-III Norwalk co-op, won 3-2 on a late James Pisciotta goal.
Among those notching their 100th points this weekend were Woodstock Academy’s Doug Newton, who did it with an assist in a 5-4 win over the Eastern CT Eagles, and WMRP’s Trevor Piecewicz in an 8-4 win over Hall/Southington.