WEST HAVEN >> Goalie Andrea Delvecchio came up with 24 saves, including six off breakaways, for the Amity/North Haven/Cheshire girls hockey team against West Haven/Sacred Heart Academy in the Southern Connecticut Conference Division II championship game.
But constant pressure by the Westies/Sharks, including forward Taylor Nowak who had 13 of their 28 shots, took its toll.
Nowak, from West Haven, had a hat trick and Tatum Courtmanche, from Sacred Heart Academy, had 24 saves to lead No. 1 West Haven/Sacred Heart Academy to a 4-1 win over No. 2 Amity/North Haven/Cheshire at Bennett Rink on Friday.
West Haven/SHA (18-2-2) scored the first two goals of the game and never trailed to win its first SCC title.
In the SCC Division I championship game, Maddy Gervais scored twice to give No. 3 East Catholic/Glastonbury/South Windsor a 2-0 win over No. 1 Hamden for its second straight SCC D-I title.
“The Blades are so good, when we took the 2-0 lead, I never thought that was a safe lead,” said West Haven/SHA coach Erin Blake, who played for West Haven in 2002. “In our league leads aren’t safe in any game with the tough competition you face each game.
“But our girls are something special. Our goalie was awesome and was backed by everyone on the ice. Taylor played a great game for us. This will definitely give us a boost going into our state tournament next week.”
In the first period, Nowak gave West Haven/SHA a 1-0 lead off a shot from the bottom of the left circle at 3:30. Nowak made it 2-0 at 6:24, scoring off her own rebound.
The Blades had four solid chances to score in the period and Kiley DeGrand broke through on one of the shots. DeGrand was camped out in front of goalie Andrea Delvecchio. Meaghan Hogan sent pass from the right circle and put the puck right on DeGrand’s stick. DeGrand wristed a shot to cut the lead to 2-1 at 7:22.
Nowak wasted no time answering in the second period. She one-timed a shot from about eight feet out for her hat track and a 3-1 West Haven/SHA lead 1:45 into the period.
“Winning our first championship is a great feeling for all of us,” said Nowak, named the tournament most outstanding player. “This was one of my best games. When we got the third goal, I thought that was the turning point for us.”
The Blades (14-7-1) had their chances in the third period with one of the best coming on a power play opportunity. Blades’ Tess Csejka had a wide open shot at the bottom of the left circle but Courtmanche came up with a stick save.
Brooke McNabola finished the scoring for West Haven/SHA with an empty-net goal for the 4-1 final.
East Catholic Co-Op downs Hamden
In the Division I game, East Catholic/Glastonbury South Windsor coach Frank Usseglio expected a close game with rival Hamden.
Gervais gave East Catholic/Glastonbury/South Windsor a 1-0 lead at 9:36 of the second period and scored an empty-net goal with 45 seconds left in the third period for the 2-0 final.
The Blades actually outshot the East Catholic co-op team 32-22. But East Catholic co-op goalie Morgan Peters stopped all the shots for the shutout.
Hamden’s Demeri Carangelo had three close-range chances to score in the second period. But Peters came up with the stick save each time.
“We played to a 1-1 tie and they beat us 1-0 in the regular season, so I expected this to be another close, one-goal game,” Usseglio said. “(Hamden coach) Mike Callan always gets his team ready to play and we knew they would be tough tonight.
“We rely on our goalie and defense and they’ve been coming through all year. Tonight they all did a great job. The goal was to deny Hamden a path to the net and that’s what they did. Winning back-to-back championships is very special.”
East Catholic-Glastonbury 2, Hamden 0
(at West Haven)
E. Cath.-Glast. 0 1 1 – 2
Hamden 0 0 0 – 0
Second period- ECGLAST: Maddy Gervais 9:36; Third period- ECLAST: Maddy Gervais 14:15; Shots?CGLAST: 22; HA: 32; Saves- HA: Gianna Spino 20; ECGLAST: Morgan Peters 32;
Records- Hamden 14-3-3; East Catholic-Glastonbury 10-4-6
West Haven/SHA 4, Amity-North Haven-Cheshire 1
(at West Haven)
Amity-NH-Chesh. 1 0 0 – 1
West Haven/SHA 2 1 1 – 4
First period- WHSHAS: Taylor Nowak (Zoe DeFalco) 3:30; Taylor Nowak 6:24; ANC: Kiley Degrand (Meaghan Hogan) 7:22; Second period- WHSHAS: Taylor Nowak 1:45; Third period- WHSHA: Brooke McNabola :31; Shots- ANC: 27; WHS: 28; Saves- ANC: Andrea Delvecchio 24; WHS: Tatum Courtmanche 26;
Records- West Haven/SHA 18-22; Amity-North Haven-Cheshire 14-7-1