EAST HAVEN – The East Haven/Old Lyme/Old Saybrook/East Hampton co-op hockey team entered Saturday afternoon’s contest against Guilford riding a four-game winning streak.
It took the Indians all of 4 minutes, 23 seconds of the second period to make sure that streak extended no further.
Scoring three times in the opening 5 minutes of the middle period, twice by junior John DeLucia, the Indians pulled away from the Yellowjackets in a 6-2 victory over East Haven co-op in a Division II contest at Patsy DiLungo Rink in East Haven.
“This is big for us,” DeLucia said. “This is a big win. We are at the point in the season where we have some tough games. This is a league game which is important. We need to get the points. We knew we had to come out flying (second period) because we knew they were going to push back.”
Guilford’s line of Jack Ring, Jack Dacey and DeLucia was tough for the Yellowjackets to control as the trio combined for eight points in the game. Defenseman Joe Neleber added a goal and an assist in the win.
“A big part of it is on the outside,” DeLucia said. “We are really good friends and we like playing together. We move the puck well and just try to have fun out there.”
With Guilford leading 1-0 on a goal by Dacey late in the opening period, the Indians poured it on early in the second.
DeLucia, who finished with two goals and two assists, extended Guilford’s lead to 2-0 after Ring hit the crossbar in front. Off a scramble, DeLucia snuck the puck past East Haven co-op goaltender Matt Twarowski just 36 seconds into the middle period.
The Indians (7-2) extended the margin to three goals 3:31 later. Ring sent Dacey and DeLucia on a two-on-one break, and Dacey fed a wide open DeLucia for a shot into an empty net and a 3-0 lead.
Just 16 seconds later, Greg Litvyn sent a pass to Neleber at the point, and Neleber ripped a shot past Twarowski for a 4-0 advantage.
“I thought, in the first period, both teams had good scoring chances,” Guilford coach Ralph Russo said. “No one could break through or break it open. We were able to create a little more space to get some shots off. We scored on the first shift which I thought was huge.”
After Twarowski made a great glove save off a shot by Dacey in the slot, East Haven cut the deficit to three with 6:11 to go in the second period. Joe Consiglio chipped a perfect pass to Matt Henderson down the right wing and Henderson beat Guilford goaltender Mete Yanbul to the top corner to get East Haven co-op within 4-1.
“The three goals to start the second really turned things around,” East Haven co-op coach Lou Pane said. “Give Guilford a lot of credit. They were better than we were today. I am proud of the guys. We stuck around throughout the game.”
East Haven co-op (4-3-1) pressured the remainder of the second period, but could not get a shot by Yanbul.
Yanbul denied a blast by Christopher Giglietti from the point, and made a brilliant blocker save to deny Joe Pappacoda on a breakaway with 2:45 left in the period.
Guilford put the game away with two goals in the first 3:58 of the third period. Ring scored off assists from Neleber and DeLucia 49 seconds in, and after Alec Speirs got that goal back for East Haven co-op 43 seconds later, Guilford took a 6-2 lead on an unassisted goal by Jake Watrous 3:58 into the third.
With the two teams combining for 25 shots on goal in the first period, it took nearly the entire 15 minutes to produce the first goal of the contest.
With Guilford coming up the ice in transition, DeLucia chipped a pass to Dacey, who raced in on Twarowski. Dacey deked and promptly tucked a shot past Twarowski for a 1-0 Guilford lead with 39.5 seconds to go in the opening period.
Both teams had their share of scoring opportunities in the opening period, but each goaltender was up to the challenge. Twarowski was forced to come up with the biggest saves, stopping 13 shots in the opening period alone.
The East Haven co-op goaltender denied DeLucia in front with a pad save with 5:09 remaining, then denied a two-on-one break with DeLucia and Dacey by stopping Dacey with a pad save with three minutes to go in the opening period.
Yanbul also made some big stops, with his best coming when he denied Dave Amatruda in close with a blocker save 3:24 in, then used a stick save to stop Zach Paquin from in front with 3:40 to go in the first period.
Yanbul made 35 saves in the win for Guilford, while Twarowski finished with 36 for East Haven co-op.
Guilford 6, East Haven Co-op 2
G (7-2) 1 3 2 – 6
E (4-3-1) 0 1 1 – 2
G – Jack Dacey (John DeLucia, Tom Cattaneo) 0:40
G – John DeLucia (Tom Cattaneo, Joe Neleber) 14:24
G- John DeLucia (Jack Dacey, Jack Ring) 10:53
G – Joe Neleber (Greg Litvyn) 10:37
E – Matt Henderson (Joe Consiglio) 6:11
G – Jack Ring (Joe Neleber, John DeLucia) 14:11
E – Alec Speirs (Chris Teto) 13:28
G – Jake Watrous 11:02
G – 42
E – 37
G – Mete Yanbul – 35
E – Matt Twarowski – 36