MILFORD — The game of hockey can bring out many different emotions. None, however, can compare to those felt when seeing a teammate suffer an injury.
The North Haven hockey team had that unfortunate feeling when Daniel Lye suffered an injury serious enough for him to be taken off the ice on a stretcher just 4 minutes, 36 seconds into Saturday afternoon’s game against Milford.
Playing flat and trailing by a goal to that point, North Haven rallied around their injured teammate and stormed back to defeat Milford 3-1 at the Milford Ice Pavilion.
According to North Haven coach Tom Roche, the extent of Lye’s head injury was not immediately known after the game.
“We rallied around him,” Roche said after his team improved to 10-2-3. “We knew coming in they had the (Zach) White kid who is very good. We wanted to shut him down. He scored the one goal, but I thought we did a good job.
“This team sticks together. They always back each other up.”
The injury seemed to spark the Indians, who were a different team after the delay. North Haven scored twice in a span of 1:38 to take a lead it never relinquished.
Phillip Gauvin helped turn the momentum in North Haven’s favor when his perfect pass found Joe D’Amico alone low in the slot area and D’Amico quickly beat Milford goaltender John DePalma with 5:17 left in the opening period to even the game at 1.
North Haven was not done.
Mike Tantorski did the same as his perfect pass in front found the tape of Mike Hribko and Hribko’s quick shot beat DePalma for a 2-1 North Haven lead.
“Breakdowns on defense hurt us,” Milford coach Sal Follo said after his team fell to 7-6-1. “We had our opportunities. We just did not capitalize.”
North Haven had the early pressure in the second period and continued to have the play in Milford’s end for most of the middle period with a 12-5 shot advantage.
Hribko needed just 3:44 of the middle period to give North Haven a 3-1 advantage. John Jensen fed Hribko to the left of the goal and Hribko’s low shot found the right corner.
DePalma kept his team in the game in the middle period when he robbed D’Amico’s rocket in front with a glove save with 8:42 remaining, then denied Tyler Luedee in front with 45 seconds remaining. DePalma also got some help when D’Amico hit the post on a breakaway with 5:30 remaining in the period.
Milford started the game in impressive fashion as the home team had all the pressure. North Haven goaltender Andrew Graziano came up big early, stopping Zach White off the left wing just 30 seconds in.
White got even just 4:12 into the contest, coming down the right wing and ripping a shot to the top corner of the net for an early 1-0 lead. Ben Lavallee assisted on Milford’s lone goal.
“We certainly had our opportunities,” Follo said. “Their goalie (Graziano) made some great saves at the end. It could have been 3-3.”
Milford tried to rally in the third period, but Graziano was too tough.
Graziano denied White in front with 4:16 gone by, stopped Lavallee on the right wing with 9:51 remaining in the game, then made a sprawling pad save to deny White on a breakaway with 4:17 left.
“The team picked it up and we started forechecking better,” Graziano said after making 24 saves. “Most of the action was down in their end. This was a big win for us. This was our 10th win of the year. This is big. They are a good team.”
DePalma made 32 saves for Milford.