WALLINGFORD — The last time Sheehan and Hand met on the ice was in the CIAC Division III hockey semifinals a year ago with the Titans coming out 8-2 winners.
Things were much tighter Wednesday night at the Choate-Rosemary Hall Ice Rink but Sheehan again came up a winner, 6-5, on Anthony Romano’s overtime goal just 1:41 into the extra session in a battle between Division III Sheehan and Hand, which moved up to Division II this winter.
“For us, this is a huge win,” Sheehan coach Dave Festa said. “This really sends a statement by competing with a team that is so strong in Division II. It boosts a lot of our confidence.”
Romano’s goal came on a pass from his brother, Joey, who fed him into the middle from the right side. The shot went off the glove of Hand goalie Eric Dillner and into the net.
“He gave me a perfect pass and I buried it,” Romano said. “We work on it all the time.”
It was a wild game from the beginning as both teams had defensive lapses that led to a total of five goals.
Sheehan (6-1-1) took advantage of Hand’s failure to clear the puck deep in its zone in the first couple of minutes and Joey Romano turned two of those mistakes into goals.
The first one came just 47 seconds into the game after a scramble behind the net. The puck came right to Romano, who was standing all alone at the bottom of the left circle where he popped the puck past Dillner’s right shoulder.
Just 20 seconds later, the same thing happened from the other side of the ice as Romano was fed by his twin brother, Anthony, in the middle of the right circle where he one-timed a blast past Dillner.
Another Hand turnover five minutes later was converted by Anthony Romano with an unassisted goal.
“It was a tough way to start,” Hand coach Brian Gonsalves said. “We came out a little tense in our sticks and in the first six or seven minutes, we were overhyped. But we played pretty well the rest of the way.”
After being outshot, 8-0, to that point, Gonsalves called a time out and the momentum changed as Sheehan’s three-goal lead didn’t last long.
Hand (7-1) came right back with two goals before the end of the period. During a scramble for the puck in front of the net, Logan Massey was able to put the puck in the net with 7:25 to play in the period.
And with 42.4 seconds remaining in the first and Hand on a 6-on-4 advantage because of a Sheehan penalty where the Titans never got possession of the puck, Tatum Fitzmaurice converted from the middle of the ice to close it to 3-2.
The second period was even until the final couple of minutes.
A rebound off Sheehan goaltender Justin Lyon bounced out to the middle of the ice where Hand’s Teddy Licari pounced on the puck and flipped it over Lyon’s shoulders into the middle of the net to tie things with 2:23 left.
Just eight seconds later, Joey DeAngelis scored off the faceoff with a rush up ice and beat Lyon to the top left of the net to give the Tigers the lead, 4-3.
The third period was played very tight by both teams. Midway through the period, Sheehan scored twice in a 50-second span.
The first came when a rebound off Dillner kicked out to Luke Festa in the middle of the right circle. He threw the puck on net and it went in between the legs of Dillner to knot things at 4-4 with 7:53 remaining in the game.
Just 50 seconds later with a crowd of players in front of Dillner and the Tigers unable to clear the puck, Devin Napoli poked it past the sprawling goaltender to give the Titans a 5-4 lead.
Hand knotted things back up at 5-5 with 1:50 to play in regulation on a goal by Ethan Massey.
“We regrouped in overtime after we had a couple minutes to rest and relax,” Festa said. “We carried momentum over to the overtime and were hoping something would pop.”
Sheehan outshot Hand, 30-22. Dillner stopped 24 shots, while Lyon recorded 17 saves.
“It was a tale of two teams on the ice for both teams,” Festa said. “There was a sway of emotion going back and forth and we knew we’d have to play an upbeat, uptempo game and outskate them.”
SHEEHAN 6, HAND 5 OT
HAND 2 2 1 0 — 5
SHEEHAN 3 0 2 1 — 6
- [SH] Joey Romano: goal at 0:47, assist by Anthony Romano and Dylan Hennessey
- [SH] Joey Romano: goal at 1:07, assist by Anthony Romano
- [SH] Anthony Romano: goal at 6:17
- [HA] Logan Massey: goal at 7:35, assist by Ethan Massey
- [HA] Tatum Fitzmaurice: goal at 14:18
- [HA] Teddy Licari: goal at 12:37, assist by Logan Massey and Ethan Massey
- [HA] Joseph DeAngelis: goal at 12:45, assist by Tatum Fitzamaurice and Brendan Ryan
- [SH] Luke Festa: goal at 7:07, assist by Devon Napoli
- [SH] Devon Napoli: goal at 7:57, assist by Luke Festa
- [HA] Ethan Massey: goal at 13:10, assist by Logan Massey
- [SH] Anthony Romano: goal at 1:41, assist by Luke Festa and Joey Romano