MIDDLETOWN – The Cheshire ice hockey team was heading into Saturday night’s game against Glastonbury with Christmas on their minds and a whole week off of games to follow.
The Rams enter the Christmas break with a win after taking down the Tomahawks at Wesleyan University.
“It’s a good week to get off and recharge your batteries,” Cheshire coach Anthony Giusto. “It’s always nice going into the break with a 3-0 record.”
Cheshire’s Jared Purslow, Liam Killea, and Ben O’Connor scored the goals the Rams needed to take a 4-1 win on the back of another excellent performance by sophomore Nicholas Maringola in net.
“Still getting guys playing important minutes. Young guys getting time and playing tough games like this,” said Giusto on if this season is still a developmental season after the 3-0 start. “If you asked me at the beginning of the season if we’d be 3-0 I'd say that is a stretch.”
Cheshire clearly had momentum out of the gate on Saturday.
At 11:37 in the first, a Cheshire goal was disallowed, deflating the momentum the Rams had mustered up over the first three and half minutes.
Purslow eventually cracked the scoreboard with a shot through a screen set up by a beautiful pass from behind the net from Kyle Letourneau. Purslow didn’t even know the puck went in until a celebration from the crowd let him know. Killea was also awarded an assist on the goal.
Maringola defended off a Glastonbury barrage at the seven-minute mark when a rebound kicked off back side to a Glastonbury attacker, leaving a wide open net for a goal. But, Maringola showed off his flexibility by sticking out his leg and making two consecutive saves, shutting the door on the perfect scoring opportunity.
Glastonbury’s Matt Andriola scored his team’s first at 3:38 off a shot from the point that Maringola had no chance of finding through traffic.
Cheshire retaliated just 33 seconds later with a goal of their own. Killea came off the half board towards the goal mouth and roofed a shot short side over O’Connor’s right shoulder and giving the Rams the 2-1 lead heading into the second frame.
O’Connor got the ball rolling again for the Rams at 10:15 when he scored the third Rams goal off of an assist from Niklas Visiljevs. The goal set the tempo for the rest of the period.
The second period was less of a back and forth affair with the Rams scoring chances outnumbering Glastonbury’s.
Cheshire’s physicality of the period also set the tone for the remainder of the game.
“It's been a message, especially to the younger guys, that we've got to become a more physical team,” Giusto said. “The way to be successful is to wear teams down; especially a team like that.”
The third period was played with speed and physicality. Both teams traded chances but the only goal of the period came from Purslow in the dying minutes of the game on the Glastonbury empty net.
The win was the first-ever for Cheshire over Glastonbury.
“It’s nice. We haven't beat Conard in awhile and we haven't beat them,” Giusto said.
“We’re doing a lot of good things right now and I'm looking forward to that next stretch of games.”