HAMDEN >> Whenever the game is Hamden vs. West Haven, one of the oldest rivalries in Connecticut high school hockey, it’s usually an exciting and hard-hitting affair. Saturday’s edition at Astorino Rink carried on the tradition.
After West Haven scored a pair of goals to take a 2-0 lead midway through the second period, Jeremy Routh scored two goals in the final 1:15 of the second to lift No. 3 Hamden to a 2-2 SCC-SWC Hockey League Division I tie with No. 8 West Haven.
Hamden (4-1-1) controlled the time of possession and outshot the Westies 34-18. But West Haven senior goalie Mike Savino, one of the best netminders in the state, came up with 32 saves. Hamden sophomore goalie Stephen Richetelli wasn’t too shabby either and finished with 16 saves, six of the very impressive variety.
“We did everything we could to win this game, but the MVP of this game has to be Mike Savino,” Hamden coach Bill Verneris said. “He’s good. But I couldn’t be happier with our goalie too, because he came up with some big saves.
“This was a typical West Haven-Hamden game. No matter what the records are, these teams always play great against each other. Joe’s team (West Haven coach Joe Morrell) played great today and those kids hung in there and never quit.”
The teams made up for a scoreless first period by scoring all the game’s goals in the second.
West Haven (4-2-1) scored two goals 1:01 apart for the 2-0 lead. Pete Richetelli gave the Blue Devils a 1-0 lead off a shot from the bottom of the left circle. The puck bounced off a stick and then the goalie and into the net at 5:34. E.J. Pacapelli made it 2-0 at 6:35 off a shot in front of the left post.
“I was pleased with our effort in the second period,” Morrell said. “But we went into a shell after we took the two-goal lead. Hamden is a very good team and we were fortunate to hang on in the third period. Mike made some big saves in the third period for us, but he’s been doing that game after game.”
It took a while, but the Green Dragons responded late in the second. Routh sent the Hamden fans to their feet when he tied the game with 23 seconds left off a shot from the right circle.
“Scoring the first goal was good, but that second one was huge,” Routh said. “We would have liked to win, but when you run into a hot goalie like we did today you’ll take the tie.”
Both teams had opportunities to get a goal in the third period, but one of the most exciting plays came with .9 seconds left in regulation. Jeremy Borelli took a high-rising shot from the bottom of the left circle, but Richetelli snatched the puck out of the air with his glove to send the game to overtime.
Each team had a pair of quality shots in the OT, but both goalies came up big to preserve the tie.
West Haven 2, Hamden 2
West Haven 0 2 0 0 — 2
Hamden 0 2 0 0 — 2
Second period—WH: Peter Richetelli 5:34; EJ Pacapelli 6:35; HA: Jeremy Routh (Christian Ugolik) 13:45; Jeremy Routh (Christian Ugolik, Jake Blackwell) 14:37;
Shots—WH: 18; HA: 34;
Saves—HA: Stephen Richetelli 16; WH: Mike Savino 32;
Records—Hamden 4-1-1; West Haven 4-2-1.