MILFORD — Three games into the season, the Milford hockey team had yet to pick up a victory. To make matters worse, the Indians were winless in their first two games at home.
With a strong opening period Saturday afternoon, the Indians erased all this.
Behind the play of Zach White and his three goals in the first period, the Indians defeated Trumbull 6-1 at the Milford Ice Pavilion to improve to 1-2-1.
White was the offensive star of the game, finishing with three goals and three assists.
“This is a great win for us,” White said. “We have not scored a whole bunch. We have hit some posts. Today, we had our opportunities and we were able to score. A lot of guys had opportunities today.
“This is huge coming off a tie. They are a good team. We had more opportunities today.”
The Indians struck first in the game with a power-play goal. With 57 seconds remaining in the man advantage, White ripped a shot from in front to the right corner with 2 minutes, 12 seconds gone by in the game for a 1-0 lead.
Trumbull (1-2) answered with a power-play goal of its own with 7:09 remaining in the first period. Sam Watson took a feed from Robert Fantarella and beat Milford goaltender Noah Ericson with a wrist shot to even the game at 1.
White then took over the game. Taking a perfect feed from Brandon Argyros, White broke in alone on Trumbull goaltender Grant Vagnone and used a backhander up top to give Milford a 2-1 lead.
“I thought he controlled the ice today,” Milford coach Sal Follo said of White.
White’s next goal proved to be the backbreaker.
Sent in alone by Ben Lavallee, White again beat Vagnone up top with 9.4 seconds left in the opening period for a 3-1 lead.
“We kept coming at them,” Follo said. “We have played three good goalies the past three games. We just continued to work hard. We made some adjustments and opened it up. I thought Zach’s (late) goal was huge.”
Trumbull controlled play in the second period, but Ericson was up to the challenge, keeping Milford on top by a pair of goals.
Ericson denied Owen Polzello in front 3 minutes in, stopped Alex Pierne from in close 2:15 later and made a glove save off a shot by Watson from close range with 4:47 left in the middle period.
“He was outstanding today,” Follo said of Ericson. “He made several big saves today.”
Ericson’s best save came with 2:20 remaining in the middle period when Trumbull held a 12-4 shot advantage. He denied Brady Jensen on a two-on-one break with a beautiful pad save as Trumbull had a two-man advantage but could not capitalize.
“That was big,” Follo said of killing the two-man advantage. “It was huge. We played well right there. It was a big part of the game.”
The Indians ended any thoughts of a Trumbull comeback 3:04 into the final period. White and Will Vitelli set up Lavallee’s first goal of the game from in front to take the steam out of the Eagles.
White and Lavallee put the Indians on top 5-1 with a beautiful two-on-one as Lavallee tipped White’s pass by Vagnone for a 5-1 lead with 3:50 remaining.
Just 18 seconds later, Milford had a 6-1 lead. White set up Vitelli, who quickly beat Vagnone for the final goal of the game.
“This is a huge win for us,” Follo said. “We have Branford next, then Amity and North Branford. It does not get any easier.”
Lavallee finished with two goals and an assist and Vitelli had one goal and one assist.
Ericson finished with 29 saves, while Vagnone made 22 saves for Trumbull.