WEST HAVEN – There’s a repeat champion for the first time in the Southern Connecticut Conference/Southwest Conference Division III hockey ranks.
Sheehan, which beat Brookfield/Bethel/Danbury a year ago, knocked off the Joel Barlow/Weston/Abbott Tech co-op, 10-1, Friday night at Bennett Rink. It was the largest margin of victory in the SCC playoffs since East Haven beat Cheshire, 14-2, in 1997.
“We put together two really good games in this tournament,” Sheehan coach Dave Festa said. “We have a lot of momentum going into the state tournament as we’re getting better as time goes on.”
Sheehan took the lead just 3:12 into the game when Devin Napoli took a pass from Jake Festa on the left side just past the blue line. He skated to the middle of the left circle and blasted a shot into the top left of the net past JBWA goalie Kevin Brennan for a 1-0 lead.
JBWA had a chance just two minutes later to tie things when Travis Nussbaum stole the puck at center ice and skated within a few feet of Sheehan goalie Tyler Robertson, who knocked the shot aside with his left pad.
It was the first of several big saves for Robertson in the first period, while his counterpart, Brennan, was also up to the task as he stopped a couple shots in close on a Sheehan power play in the final seconds.
After just one goal going up on the board in the first 15 minutes, the scoring became fast and furious in the second period as six goals were scored between the two teams.
Sheehan took made it 2-0 at the 6:02 mark as Joe Romano skated down the right side after taking a pass from Joey Richo and beat Brennan over his glove.
JBWA didn’t help its cause as an interference penalty whistled against Nussbaum eventually ended up with the Titans scoring a power play goal at 7:28 of the period. Anthony Romano grabbed a rebound right in front of Brennan and tipped it past his left shoulder to make it 3-0.
Sheehan broke the game wide open with two goals in 15 seconds. Jake Festa scored at the 11:46 mark and Napoli followed with his second tally of the game to make it 5-0. Luke Festa added a goal for the Titans to make it 6-0 at the 13:34 mark.
On the ensuing faceoff, Daniel McKiernan needed just five seconds to finally get JBWA on the scoreboard with a shot from just over the blue line that beat Robertson. Luke Festa added his second of the period to make it 7-1 after two periods.
“Once we got the first few past him (Brennan), we gained confidence,” Festa said. “We scouted them and we knew going in we needed to go upstairs.”
Sheehan kept pouring it on in the third period. Joe Romano added his second goal of the game, this time of the shorthanded variety, just three minutes into the third period. And Napoli followed with his third of the game just five minutes later to make it 9-1.
Dayton Alleridge added a goal for Sheehan at 10:13 to complete the scoring for the Titans.
“We made a lot of mistakes,’ JBWA coach Bob Stearns. “They played extremely well and made us play bad. It was a tough night, but they capitalized on every opportunity they had.”
Robertson stopped 32 shots and was named the Outstanding Player in the SCC/SWC Division III tournament.