The Sheehan boys hockey team had a tough start to the season, going 1-4 in its first four games.
The fourth loss, a 5-0 set back to SCC/SWC rival Masuk, became a turning point for the Titans. After the loss to Masuk the Titans went on a four-game win streak and have gone 5-3 in their last eight games for a 6-7 record overall.
“The tough 5-0 loss to Masuk really reset the team,” Sheehan coach Dave Festa said. “We had a great meeting after that game which reaffirmed the commitment the players made to the team and to each other. From there, the team came to practice and games with a new sense of energy.”
After the loss to Masuk on Jan. 4, Sheehan defeated Barlow 4-1.
“I knew coming out of the gate we had a tough schedule,” Festa said. “So getting through the first five games would be a tough test. It would really test our resolve, but I knew that we would come out as a stronger team.”
Jake Festa, the coach’s son, Tyler Jackson and Ben Naser have been among the top scorers for the Titans. Goalie Tyler Robertson, with the help of goalie coach Jerry Maust, has also made an impact in the team’s recent turnaround.
“The team’s strength really comes from the players’ cohesiveness and pushing each other while holding each other accountable,” Dave Festa said.
“The scoring has come from many different lines. The support from the bench has been fantastic, along with a strong senior contingent (Nick Gonsalves, Pat Budds, Jimmy Notarfrancesco, Ryan Colburn, Ben and Matt Naser).”
Festa said the team’s top players are also the players who have stepped up their play in recent games.
“Among the players stepping up for us are our leading scorers Jake Festa (scored the OT winner in a recent win against rival Lyman Hall), Ben Naser, and Tyler Jackson,” Dave Festa said. “Nick Spina is another top player who is constantly creating opportunities.
“Tyler Robertson has worked extremely hard in the offseason and in practice with our goalie coach Jerry Maust and has continually improved. This turn around has instilled a quiet confidence that has permeated through the team and it has given us all optimism for the second half.”
Amity honors DaSilva in Coaches vs Cancer
On Feb. 15, the Amity boys will be playing in the second Amity Hockey Coaches vs. Cancer benefit game at the Bennett Rink in West Haven against North Branford at 6:30 p.m.
The game will honor Justin DaSilva.
Amity coach Gary Lindgren, who organizes the event, said DaSilva is a 15-year-old who has Ewing’s Sarcoma, a very rare and aggressive bone cancer. He was first diagnosed in October 2009. He went through several rounds of chemotherapy and radiation, responded well and was in remission until January 2012 when the cancer returned in the same area.
At that point he underwent a radical surgery in Philadelphia in April 2013, and his entire left hip was removed, leaving him permanently disabled.
He went through more chemo and radiation, but in January 2014, cancer returned, this time in his spinal cord and his right hip. In August of 2015, the cancer showed up in his knee and has progressed and he now has it in several locations.
Ever since Lindgren won his battle with cancer in 2014, cancer awareness has been a part of his life.
“This is certainly worthwhile and meaningful,” Lindgren said. “After everything that I went through, I’ve become more understanding and compassionate to others with cancer and also the loved ones affected.”
Admission to the game is $5 and most of the proceeds from the game will go to the DaSilva family towards their medical expenses.