EAST HAVEN >> This season’s DiLungo Rink bragging rights were up for grabs on Saturday as East Haven and Guilford, which both call the rink home, faced off in front of a packed house.
The Indians owned those bragging rights the past two seasons with a pair of one-goal victories over the Easties. One of the Easties’ objectives this season was to snap that winning streak by scoring early and often.
And the Easties did.
The Easties scored the game’s first four goals and first-line forwards Tristan Goodwin and Mike Falanga each had hat tricks to lead No. 4 East Haven to an 8-4 SCC-SWC interdivision win.
“We wanted to make a quick statement early in the game and get that quick lead,” Goodwin said. “Guilford is a good team and they kept putting pressure on us. When they cut our lead to 6-3, it was a little worrisome. But for the most part I thought we outplayed them.
“We talk about those bragging rights, and they are important to the guys on the team. Both teams share this rink and it’s important for us to own those bragging rights.”
Falanga set the tone with a goal at 5:12 of the first period. He grabbed a loose puck behind the net, spun around the right post and stuffed the puck past Guilford goalie Hunter Martins for the 1-0 lead. Goodwin made it 2-0 at 7:05, Anthony Avallone scored off a rebound for a 3-0 lead at 10:58 and Falanga scored a short-handed goal at 13:38 to make it 4-0.
Guilford’s Evan Powell cut the lead to 4-1 on a power-play goal with four seconds left in the first period. It didn’t take long for East Haven to respond as Goodwin showcased his speed off the ensuing faceoff and made it 5-1 with a second on the clock.
Nick Montesanto gave the Easties (9-1) a 6-1 lead at 5:59 of the second period. But the Indians made a comeback bid with power-play goals by Stephen Thibault at 7:41 and Jack Petrick at 8:49 to cut the lead to 6-3. The momentum swung back to the Easties when Goodwin made it 7-3 with 23 seconds left in the second period.
“That seventh goal was an important one for us because the momentum was starting to go their way,” East Haven coach Lou Pane said. “Guilford’s a good team that’s well-coached and I knew they wouldn’t give up. Going out to a 5-1 lead in the first period was good, but that seventh goal made the difference for us in regaining the DiLungo Rink bragging rights.”
The teams traded goals in the third period for the 8-4 final. East Haven goalie Tom DeLucia had 19 saves and Martins had 28 for the Indians (1-6).
“Those bragging rights mean something to both teams and our games are always exciting because of that added incentive,” Guilford coach Ralph Russo said. “We knew this year’s game would be tough because that high-scoring first line is outstanding for East Haven.
“Even though we lost, it’s great for our kids because it’s a good learning experience playing against that high level of talent. That 5-1 lead was tough to overcome, but I agree with Lou that seventh goal was a turning point. That seventh goal switched the momentum back to them.”
East Haven 8, Guilford 4
(at East Haven)
Guilford 1 2 1 — 4
East Haven 5 2 1 — 8
First period—EH: Mike Falanga (Mike Montesanto) 5:12; Tristan Goodwin (Mike Falanga, Matt Longobardi) 7:05; Anthony Avallone (Tyler Johnson) 10:58; Mike Falanga 13:38; GU: Evan Powell (Jack Petrick, Brian Donohue) 14:56; EH: Tristan Goodwin (Mike Falanga) 14:59; Second period—EH: Nick Montesanto 5:59; GU: Steve Thibault (Ryan Brand) 7:41; Jack Petrick (Kevin Gaudio, Will Dacey) 8:49; EH: Tristan Goodwin (Matt Longobardi, Jake DelGuidice) 14:37; Third period—EH: Mike Falanga 6:16; GU: Brian Donohue 14:56;
Shots—GU: 23; EH: 36;
Saves—EH: Tom DeLucia 19; frank albano 0; GU: Hunter Martins 28;
Records—East Haven 9-1; Guilford 1-6