WEST HAVEN – The Michael “Scooter” Richetelli era at Amity High got off to a resounding start Saturday evening. After honoring the state championship team from 10 years ago with a ceremonial puck drop by recently retired coach Gary Lindgren, the Spartans responded with an inspired effort for their new coach.
In his first game as head coach after serving as Lindgren’s assistant for 20 years, Richetelli watched his team get off to a quick start and control the game from start to finish in a 4-2 interdivision victory over Brookfield-Bethel-Danbury at the Edward L Bennett Rink in West Haven.
“It was an emotional day for me,” Richetelli said. “I lost a brother when I was younger after he was 16 days old and he was born on December 16. My first game I ever coached at Amity was a 4-2 win on December 16, and twenty years later, we win 4-2 on my first game as head coach.”
Amity received a solid scoring attack as eight different players were in the scoring column. Colin Hughes, Jason Csejka, and Connor Bath each had a goal and an assist in the win for the Spartans.
“We really started the game strong,” Csejka said. “The older guys, we have twelve seniors, really pumped us up. We got a lot of pucks to the net. That’s what we want to do.”
The Spartans wasted no time setting the tone of the game, taking an 11-4 shot advantage in the opening period and a 2-0 lead. After shots by Jordan Conn and Jamie Blum were stopped in front by Icecats goalie Stephen Fanning, the Spartans took a 1-0 lead when Hughes ripped a rocket from the slot by Fanning. Jacob Silliman and Bath assisted on the first goal of the season for the Spartans.
Amity increased the lead to 2-0 with 5:07 remaining in the opening period. Attempting to dump the puck in, Chase Kozak got a shot by Fanning with an assist going to Nick Kiwanis.
“We have been talking about being ready and being prepared,” Richetelli said. “We worked on that in scrimmages in the preseason. We were ready to go. We talked about putting the puck on net and crashing the net. We are keeping the game simple.”
The Spartans increased the lead to 3-0 just 1:31 into the second when Csejka sent a perfect cross-ice pass to Bath, who one-timed a shot past Fanning.
“We are a fairly young team,” BBD coach Rusty Granacker said. “They are senior heavy and were running three or four lines. We gave up some early goals and were back pedaling from there.”
Amity kept the pressure on, but failed to increase the lead when Csejka and Hughes could not produce a shot on a 2-on-none break.
Just a short time later, the Icecats cut the deficit to 3-1 when a shot by Spencer Abrams was turned aside by Amity goaltender Michael Holloway, but Tanner Trew was there to knock in the rebound for a power play goal with 6:52 left in the second.
“That goal seemed to energize us,” Granacker said. “The kids stepped up, but we were not able to get closer. We did not have a lot of quality scoring opportunities.”
Fanning kept his team in the game, denying Hughes in front and a jabbing attempt by Kozak a short time later. Holloway was equal to the task as he turned aside a backhander in front by Thomas Schiesser in the final 20 seconds of the period.
The Spartans put the game away with just 59 seconds gone by in the third as Csejka scored off assists from Hughes and Brian Earley. The Icecats added their second power play goal of the game by Patryk Fancher with 7:56 to go, but they could not get closer.
Holloway made 14 saves in the win for Amity, while Fanning finished with 33 in the loss for the Icecats.
Amity 4, Brookfield/Bethel/Danbury
BBD – 0 1 1 – 2 (0-1)
AMITY – 2 1 1 – 4 (1-0)
A – Colin Hughes (Jacob Silliman, Connor Bath) 7:43
A – Chase Kozak (Nick Kiwanis) 5:07
A – Connor Bath (Jason Csejka, Kenneth Page) 13:29
B – Tanner Trew (Spencer Abrams) 6:52
A – Csejka (Hughes, Brian Earley) 14:01
B – Patryk Fancher (James McCarrthy) 7:56
Saves: B – Stephen Fanning – 33; A – Michael Holloway – 14. Shots: B – 16; A – 37