The East Catholic/Glastonbury/South Windsor co-op (ETB) visited Boston last Wednesday to face Matignon High School at the Warrior Ice Arena, the practice facility of the Boston Bruins.
The event was about much more than ice hockey.
ETB donated its half of the proceeds to the medical fund for the College of the Holy Cross women’s crew, as six members of the team, as well as the head coach, are recovering from injuries sustained in an accident on Jan. 15 in Florida. Holy Cross sophomore Grace Rett, 20, was killed in the accident, when the team’s passenger van collided with a pickup truck while on the way to practice.
ETB coach Frank Usseglio is a graduate of Holy Cross, where he played ice hockey, and one of his former players, Maggie Hallisey, the daughter of assistant coach Larry Hallisey, is a senior on the Holy Cross women’s hockey team.
“We heard that money was being raised to help pay the significant medical costs for the survivors of the crash,” Usseglio said. “The cause seemed like a good one, and seemed close to home. The girls all thought it was a very good idea.”
ETB hosts @matignon_hockey on 1/29/20 @ 7 pm @WarriorIceArena. All ETB's proceeds will be donated to the Medical Fund for the Holy Cross Women's Crew Accident Victims. @EastCatholicAD @GburyAthletics @SWBobcatPride @CHSGHA @HNIBonline pic.twitter.com/AEYhGdiX7g
— ETB Girls Ice Hockey (@ETBgirlshockey) January 22, 2020
Despite the game being played in Boston, ETB was designated as the host, as the Massachusetts teams rarely come to Connecticut and the contests are played at neutral sites.
When ETB and Matignon were unable to find ice in central Mass., they looked to Boston.
“We figured if we have to host around the Boston Area, we might as well look for a different experience,” Usseglio said. “As a life-long Bruins fan, anything Bruins is special to me, We took a coach bus up, arrived about two hours early, and so we got some time to soak in the experience.”
Usseglio said the Warrior Ice staff, the Matignon team, which wore throw-back jerseys, and the fact that many Connecticut fans, including East Catholic athletic director Jon Dahlquist, were in attendance, made the trip a great experience.
On the ice, ETB’s Mary McKiernan scored top-shelf in the first period, before Matignon tied it on a power play in the second. Turnovers resulted in two rebound goals for Matignon in the third period, as ETB fell, 3-1.
ETB makes it a point to schedule several MIAA teams as part of a challenging schedule every year, and on Wednesday, traveled to Rhode Island to take on the elite La Salle Academy squad.
Despite its loss against Matignon, ETB created a lasting memory.
“Even though we lost, the team’s mood was very positive because of the experience,” Usseglio said. “These trips build life-long memories as well as help bond the team. In addition I think they separate us a little bit from other high school teams in our area. We like to think that, year-in and year-out, we play the toughest girls’ high school schedule around and we have to be road warriors to do it.”
WAVE’S WONDERFUL WEEK
Playing four hockey games in a span of seven days is challenging enough. When all four are against top teams, and from three states, it takes it to an even higher level.
Darien can look back on such a week with a smile, as the Wave came out with a sparkling 3-0-1 record, which included 3-1 wins over state contenders Simsbury and New Canaan. Darien also tied Barrington (RI) 3-3 at home, and shut out Morristown-Beard (NJ) 6-0 in a road game.
— Dave Stewart (@DStewartSports) February 2, 2020
“It was a long week,” Darien coach Jamie Tropsa said after beating New Canaan on Saturday night. “I was worried about tonight (against New Canaan) because we played a hard game Sunday (Barrington, RI), then we had Simsbury and then (Morristown-Beard) yesterday. But the girls really rose to the occasion and dug down deep for this one.”
The Wave also impressed New Canaan coach Rich Bulan.
“They were fantastic,” Bulan said. “They played great defense, their forwards were great, and every time we got the puck, there were three people on us. We just didn’t have that energy we had the first time (a 1-0 New Canaan win).”
The next champion of the Central Connecticut Conference will be its first, as the league will hold its inaugural tournament later this month. The CCC teams previously played under the SCC umbrella, with an SCC North champion being crowned.
The CCC tournament will begin with semifinals at the rinks of the top two seeds on Feb. 24-25, and the final is scheduled for Friday, Feb. 28, at Trinity College. The game is set for 8:40 p.m., but could be moved earlier depending on the practice schedule of Trinity’s men’s and women’s teams, which are vying for berths in the NCAA Div. III tournaments.
The four qualifiers for the CCC tournament are set.
Simsbury, which also leads the state rankings, is 7-0 in league play, followed by the Avon co-op (5-2-1), Suffield co-op (4-2-1) and ETB (4-3).