The Amity/North Haven/Cheshire girls hockey team got off to a fast start this season before skating into the toughest portion of its schedule.
Team spokesman Tom Handler credits hard work, solid play, a strong freshman class and the leadership of captains Kristen Whyte, Abbie Lange and Sara Weiderecht.
The Blades started out 3-1, highlighted by a 4-2 win over state power and Southern Connecticut Conference rival West Hartford, but then went 1-3 over their next four games to even their record at 4-4.
Among the top freshmen are Meaghan Francis and Hannah Cremo, who have made an immediate impact for coach Scott Whyte. Francis has emerged as one of the top scorers and Cremo has excelled in net, including posting a 3-0 shutout over Fairfield Ludlowe in the season opener.
The Blades’ defense is led by Lange and Caitlin Early, Elle Handler, Jenna Casman and Alyssa Stevens. Key contributors on offense have been forwards Emily Gotowala, Catherine Babbidge, Emma Farrell, Alexa Carbone, Peri Sosensky, Rachel Kozak and Bailey McNamara.
Other key contributors to the Blades this season have included Taylor Bond, Emily Simon, Allison Johnston, Stephanie Satanick and Carly Hunter.
“Doc Whyte and his assistant coaches, Anthony Carbone and John Peschell, have been very pleased with the efforts and hard work put forth by the girls both in practice and in games,” Handler said. “It should lead them to a great season, and the future looks bright with a lot of strong-skating underclassmen.”
Hamden-West Haven Rivalry Really Is Old
Longtime West Haven resident Russ McCreven has some updated information on the Hamden/West Haven boys hockey rivalry, which is generally recognized as the longest high school hockey rivalry in the state.
No one seems to know when the rivalry started, but McCreven seems to have a handle on the history.
No. 5 West Haven came away with a 6-3 SCC-SWC win over No. 6 Hamden on Saturday.
“West Haven hockey began in the 1925-26 season, so that makes the current season the 88th in the history of the program,” McCreven said. “Hamden High did not start playing hockey until Hamden opened in the 1935-1936 scholastic year. Hamden beat West Haven 11-0 and 5-0 that year and the two schools continued the rivalry, playing at least two games each year.
“There is not any year in which they did not meet at least twice. I think there is no doubt that this is the longest-running hockey rivalry in Connecticut.”
Hamden and West Haven also met in the first CIAC-sanctioned Division I state championship game in 1948. Hamden won 3-2.