ICE HOCKEY: Sheehan’s 12-goal explosion was a picture of depth and balance

ICE HOCKEY: Sheehan’s 12-goal explosion was a picture of depth and balance

WALLINGFORD — Sheehan’s hockey team went on the road late Wednesday night and put on an absolute show at the Danbury Ice Arena against the Joel Barlow-Weston-Abbott Tech Co-op.

The Titans routed JBWA 12-5, setting a new school record for goals scored in a single game to notch their fourth straight win and improve to 7-2.

“We played a 200-foot game,” said Sheehan coach Dave Festa. “We

played all 45 minutes, which was great. We were rolling our lines and everyone was getting a lot of time on the ice. We were really playing our systems well and we were able to dictate the play the entire game.”

Sheehan’s offense was the story of this game by far. The Titans scored five goals in the first period, five more in the second and tacked on another two in the third.

James Stratton led the way with a hat trick. Anthony Romano, Joe Romano and Jake Festa had two goals apiece. Luke Festa, Anthony DeFilio and Joey Richo had one each.

The Titans were constantly on the attack, taking advantage of almost every opportunity JBWA afforded them.

Speed was a key component. After any defensive stop, the Titans were off to the races toward the other end of the ice. Sheehan’s speed created several miscommunications on defense for JBWA and allowed for several open shots on the net.

What may have been most impressive about Sheehan’s offense was how deep it was. Not one single line dominated. Seven different players scored.

“One of the key things for us tonight was we got scoring from all of the lines,” said Coach Festa. “We got a couple of new scorers tonight who got their first career goal (Anthony DeFilio). We had others who got their first career hat trick in James Stratton.”

The Titans now stand No. 5 in the CIAC Division III playoff rankings behind No. 1 Bethel-Brookfield Danbury (3-4-1), No. 2 Daniel Hand (6-1-1), No. 3 Newington Co-op (6-1) and No. 4 Lyman Hall Co-op (5-2).

Sheehan’s victory on Wednesday came at the hands of another very solid Division III team. JBWA, No. 6 in Division III at 4-3, had won four straight before running into the Titans. JBWA had scored 10 goals in two of those wins and eight in the two others.

Sheehan’s defense frustrated JBWA throughout the night, fighting for every possession. The frustration became evident by the end of the night, as JBWA incurred several penalties late in the third period.

“Our defense really played a fantastic game and I think that helped the confidence of our forwards,” said Coach Festa. “We were able to transition the puck very well tonight and move into that pocket, keeping them out of the slot area. I think that really helped dictate the play tonight.”

Sheehan’s schedule is much tougher during the second half of the season. That said, through nine games, the Titans have outscored opponents 44-14. Their two losses were to Division II opponents, and on each occasion by one goal — 2-1 to Cheshire in overtime and 3-2 to the East Haven Co-op.

They’ll hit the road west again Friday night to take on New Milford at Canterbury School.

“We’re finally starting to click a little bit and we’re starting to catch our groove,” Festa said. “We’re going into a tough part of our schedule and this is a tough travel week for us, too. This is certainly something that I’d like to see midway through the season.”

Lyman Hall Co-op 5, New Milford 4 (OT): Also late Wednesday night, the Trojans earned their fourth straight win with the SCC/SWC Division III victory in extra time at Canterbury School.

Matt Pettit’s second goal of the night was the game-winner. The junior now has 11 goals on the season.

T.J. Arduini also scored twice for LH, which improved to 5-2. New Milford stands at 3-4 as Sheehan comes to town Friday night looking to make it a Wallingford sweep for the week.

Newington Co-op 5, Hall-Southington 4: A shootout with wild swings through the first two periods went scoreless in the third, and that left the Newington Co-op with the one-goal win over the host Warrior-Knights at Veterans Memorial Rink in West Hartford.

The Indians struck for a quick 2-0 lead. Bobby Allan answered with a pure hat trick that, by the early stages of the second period, had Hall-Southington up 3-2.

Newington regained the upper hand via the power play — four of the visiting team’s five goals came with a man advantage — to shoot ahead 5-3.

Sean Roach scored with 0:06 left in the period to pull the Warrior-Knights to within 5-4.

This was a divisional game in the CCC South, but a crossover on the state grid. The Division II Warrior-Knights slipped to 2-5. Division III Newington, which co-ops with Cromwell, Manchester and Berlin, improved to 6-1.


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