WEST HAVEN — Through 30 minutes of play, the West Haven hockey team didn’t resemble a unit looking like it was hoping to snap a streak of five games without a victory.
The final 15 minutes were a different story.
Propelled by the stellar goaltending of Mike Savino and third-period goals from Jake Lynch and Peter Lynn, West Haven rallied for a 2-1 victory over Amity Wednesday night at the Edward L. Bennett Rink.
“We handled the puck better in the third period and we scored two goals,” West Haven coach Joe Morrell said after his team improved to 6-6-1 and snapped an 0-4-1 streak. “We did not handle our opportunities in the first two periods. Tonight was huge. If ever we needed a win, tonight was the night.”
Adding to the win was Morrell and his staff did something they have not done in quite some time.
Looking to shut down Amity’s high-scoring forward Adam Shea, Morrell had Matt Kelly shadow the Amity sniper and Kelly’s efforts helped keep Shea off the scoreboard.
“We put Matt Kelly on (Adam) Shea,” Morrell said. “We did not want to get beat by one player. It is the first time in 16 years we put a player on another player. Matt did a great job.”
Trailing 1-0 entering the third period, the Westies stepped up their play. Just 2 minutes, 38 seconds into the final period, Lynch picked up a loose puck in front off a rebound and easily beat Amity goaltender Brian Mosher to even the game at 1.
Pete Richetelli, son of Amity assistant coach Michael Richetelli, assisted on the goal along with Donny Froehlich.
“It was pretty exciting,” Michael Richetelli said of coaching against his son. “We saw the play develop in front of us.
“I am very proud of him. How can I not be? He is a freshman playing on a Division I team and he got an assist. He has the bragging rights tonight.”
West Haven continued the pressure in the third period. After Tyler Paine was denied in front with 6:09 remaining, the Westies took the lead 44 seconds later.
Froehlich, who finished with two assists, did an excellent job keeping the puck in the zone. His pass found Jaeson Puleo along the boards and Puleo found Lynn in front.
Lynn did the rest, loading up and firing a one-timer past Mosher for the eventual winner.
“We did not give up” Lynn said. “We just kept working hard. Coach tells us keep working hard and good things will happen. This is a huge win for us.”
West Haven’s win was not preserved until the final seconds. Savino may have saved the day when he robbed Shea from in front with a dazzling pad save with 1:09 remaining.
“Shea is very good,” Savino said after making 17 saves. “It just went my way. This was a big win for us. We only played one good period. We have to do better than that. We have not won in a month and a half. This is a huge win.”
Amity (8-7) took a 1-0 lead 4:34 into the second period. John Crocker scooped up a loose puck in front and easily beat Savino for the first goal of the game. Kevin Ryan and John Pignataro assisted on the goal.
That was all the scoring on the day for Amity.
Outshot 12-6 in the middle period and 28-18 in the game, Crocker’s goal was the best scoring opportunity for the Spartans in the period.
“With the competition we play, especially the Division I schools, we have to play at a higher level,” Amity assistant coach Todd Dandelske said.
Savino denied a rocket of a shot off the stick of Shea from the point with 3:25 left in the middle period and also denied a last second Amity shot in the middle period.
Mosher also came up big in the second period. He denied Puleo in front with a pad save, denied a hard shot by Kelly1:17 later and foiled Paine’s point blank shot 2 minutes later.
Mosher finished with 26 saves.