Sheehan coach Dave Festa, in his 10th season coaching the Titans, is enjoying his best start at 7-2 and one of the big reasons is team chemistry with seniors, juniors, sophomores and freshmen all contributing.
“As we were going through preseason practices, I could see the potential in this team,” Festa said. “Due to the youth on our team, we had eight freshmen join us this year, I was interested to see how they could adjust to the speed and the pressure of the high school game. We have had some games where we have had to come from behind and have seen production from across all of our classes, from seniors to freshmen.”
Festa said this is the biggest roster the team has had in years because the Titans can only draw from half a town that the team shares with Lyman Hall. There are 21 players listed on the roster submitted on the CIAC website for this season.
“With the depth brings options for different line combinations and special teams,” Festa said. “Our offense has been spread across the offensive lines, and our defense has stepped into the play and contributed very consistently.
“We also have been getting scoring from different areas of the rink with three different lines scoring and scoring from our defense.”
Three of the top five scorers for the Titans are underclassmen with freshmen Joey Romano (11 goals, nine assists) and Anthony Romano (five goals, nine assists) and sophomore Dayton Allderige (three goals, seven assists). Offensive-minded defensemen are seniors Nick Gonsalves (five goals, five assists) and Alex Ficorilli (five goals, three assists).
“We have our entire team on the positive side for our plus/minus (44 goals scored, 23 allowed),” Festa said. “We have an impressive 55 percent faceoff win-percentage and our lowest PIM hovering around 7 minutes per game, which is 4 minutes lower per game than last year.
“It is a total team effort on defense that has also contributed to our success so far.”
Sheehan goalie Tyler Robertson has also made a big impact in his third season between the pipes.
“Tyler has a .887 save-percentage,” Festa said. “His maturity and confidence in net has translated well to the team, his high hockey IQ is respected by the players. While this is a good start, we have some very strong teams on our schedule that will be a great test.
“The recent loss to Lyman Hall/HK/Coginchaug (Jan. 13) in overtime (3-2 loss) made us a stronger team. We were able to understand our weaknesses and focus on them in practice and film studies. Having 60 percent of the season remaining, we are looking to stay healthy and continue to get stronger on and off the puck.”
And then there was one
At the half-way mark of the regular season, top-ranked Fairfield Prep is the last boys hockey team in Division I, II and III combined to be unbeaten (10-0).
In an earlier interview, Fairfield Prep coach Matt Sather credits experience, depth and team chemistry for the Jesuits’ success.
The Jesuits, who have been ranked No. 1 in the Register/GameTimeCT Hockey Top 10 poll every week so far this season, have outscored opponents 46-12. They certainly served notice to Connecticut competition during the recent holiday school break that they would be a force to reckon with moving forward.
Fairfield Prep defeated some of the top teams in the Northeast region in the Mount St. Charles Holiday tournament in Rhode Island. Fairfield Prep had a 3-2 win over Bishop Hendricken (R.I.) in the first round, Prep defeated St. Joseph Collegiate (New York) 2-0 in the semifinals and defeated Franklin (Massachusetts) 3-2 in double overtime in the championship game.
The Jesuits boast balanced scoring led by eight players with eight points or more. Among the leaders are Colin Bella (seven goals, three assists), Skyler Celotto (six goals, four assists), Joe Mancini (six goals, four assists), Ryan Eckert (four goals, nine assists) and Kevin Oricoli (three goals, nine assists).
Prep has two shutouts with the defense led by goalies Jack McGee and Jake Walker. McGee is 8-0 with a 1.31 goals-against average and 0.947 save-percentage. Walker is 2-0 with a 0.50 goals-against average and 0.977 save-percentage. Cole Casl is among the talented defensemen on the team.