WEST HAVEN — Amity’s best start since its two state championship teams took a test on Saturday. Staples grabbed a two-goal lead early in the third at Bennett Rink.
Spartans coach Mike Richetelli said the staff’s message after two periods, down a goal, was that the Spartans were not losing that game. They didn’t, coming back to win 3-2 in overtime.
“Our job is to make sure we reinstill that, the belief that they can be here,” Richetelli said. “We kept pushing ‘STICK to the game plan, keep the game simple, do what we have to do, stay solid and we’ll be fine.’ ”
And even though the Wreckers tacked on another power-play goal to start the third, “(Jason) Csejka gets a beautiful goal, and the guys are suddenly pumped.”
Nelson Bordeleau tied it in the last minute. Defenseman Caleb Marcin won it on the rush in overtime. The Spartans are 4-0 headed into Wednesday’s home game with Newtown. That’s four Division III games in a row, but the Spartans did open with a 4-1 win over Division I NFI.
Saturday was the Spartans’ first game without standout junior forward Ed Martino, a departure first reported by CT HS Hockey‘s Luke Devoe.
“He got a great opportunity at South Kent. We wish him the best,” Richetelli said.
The coach is fine with the depth he’s got.
“Absolutely. We got our blue (third) line in there a lot tonight, too,” Richetelli said. “You have an opportunity to, at that level, to get your third line in, get some playing time, some minutes, it’s always good. And it’s important.”
Junior goalie Mal Zurolo, who had to wait his turn behind a couple of other goalies in past years, has performed well.
“He stuck it out. He’s got his year in front of him,” Richetelli said. “He’s working hard. It’s what it’s all about, hard work. You’ve got to be willing to push.”
Amity started 2009-10 4-0 and 7-0-1; it won each of its first six games against in-state competition. In 2007-08, Amity went from 3-0 to 3-3 with three losses in Maine, but it began the year 7-0 and 8-0-1 against teams from Connecticut. The Spartans won the Division II title both years.
Its last 5-0 start was 2006-07.
STAPLES COMING ON, WORKING WITH GAYLORD
First-year Staples coach Charles Halloran said the Wreckers (1-3-1, hosting 2-2 New Milford on Wednesday) hadn’t had many power-play chances until Brian Krawiec, working at the front of the net, potted a couple against Amity.
“They’ve been working really hard,” Halloran said of his team. “We’ve got to find a way to score a few more goals, but the energy’s there. Everybody’s buying into what the coaching staff is teaching. It’ll all come together.”
The team has put together a season-long fundraiser benefiting the Gaylord Wolfpack, Gaylord Hospital’s Sports Association sled hockey team for players with physical disabilities. Lindsey Runkel, a 2009 Staples graduate, is a member of the team.
“Trying to do something a little different for a fundraiser, and it’s always nice to have someone from the Staples family,” Halloran said.
STAPLES PLAYING EXTRA
Two of Staples’ losses have come in overtime, so half the Wreckers’ games so far have gone beyond regulation. But that’s no match for one of the two teams to beat them in OT: Enfield has needed extra time four times already in six games.
The Eagles are 1-4-1 overall, but they’re 1-2-1 beyond regulation. The two regulation-time losses were both by only two goals.
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