Whether they were played in the afternoon or in the evening, Opening Day games for area hockey teams weren’t decided until the 11th hour.
All three games were tied in the third period. One went to overtime. Only one went the way of the locals.
Hall-Southington fell 3-2 to Tri-Town on a third-period strike. Lyman Hall-Haddam-Kilingworth-Coginchaug lost 4-3 in overtime playing up against Division II North Haven. Cheshire salvaged Opening Day with three third-period goals that produced a 6-3 victory over Conard.
The first stop of the day was Veterans Memorial Rink in West Hartford for a CCC matchup of new additions to Division II, Hall-Southington and Tri-Town. The game, a back-and-forth affair, ended in favor of visiting Tri-Town, 3-2.
Tri-Town’s Michael Shuman opened the scoring at 11:20 cashing in on a rebound.
Hall-Southington’s Drew Booth scored the first of his two goals on the day in the second period to knot things up at 1.
Booth tied the game up again at 5:16, this time at 2-2. His second goal was again a rocket from the blue line that came off a pass from Miles Aronow.
The goal was set up by a great scoring bid by newcomer Jake Albert, a senior. Albert looked excellent with linemate Mike Dipietro. It’s a pairing that should pay dividends for the Warrior-Knights.
Tri-Town’s Andrew Gaines scored the game winner at 4:58 in the third period. A Hall-Southington push in the final minutes was no good as Tri-Town left West Hartford with the win.
“Shoulda, coulda, woulda,” said Hall-Southington Head Coach Brian Cannon. “I’m not disappointed with the way the game came out, I thought the kids played well.”
Later Saturday afternoon, the Lyman Hall-Haddam Killingworth-Coginchaug Trojans opened the season playing up against Division II favorite North Haven at the Northford Ice Pavillion.
North Haven’s Andrew Cormody got things started for the Indians 4:03 into the first period. Cormody slipped in behind the defenders and got himself a breakaway and buried it.
Lyman Hall’s Scott Bradley scored one of his own 8:44 into the period off assists from TJ Isleib and Jared Sullivan.
North Haven responded all of 30 seconds later on a goal by Al Tancreti. C.J. Kenny scored for the Indians two minutes after that.
The Trojans closed to within 3-2 with six minutes remaining in the period. Kyle Roberts scored a beautiful goal from the slot that was, in large part, due to a pair of beautiful passes from Connor Satton and Josh Martinez. Both were credited with assists on the play.
Rookie goalie Andrew Sacco of Coginchaug saw and incredible amount of action in the second period and stayed stalwart. The freshman showed off athleticism and awareness to backstop a shutout period.
Still trailing 3-2 entering the third period, the Trojans tied it when Roberts got his second of the night on a powerplay. A beautiful shot from the slot found its way over the shoulder of North Haven goalie Jeremy Hickcoy.
In overtime, both teams had chances. The Lyman Hall Co-op generated numerous opportunities that didn’t pan out. Instead, North Haven’s Dom Biendi scored the overtime game-winner.
Sacco finished with 29 saves on 33 shots. North Haven’s Hickcoy finished with 13 saves on 16 shots.
In the nightcap at Wesleyan, Jared Purslow and Evan Veivia scored two goals apiece to lead Cheshire to its 6-3 nonconference win over Conard.
Purlow’s first came at 8:20 in the first period off a rebound. Assists were credited to Liam Killea and Kyle Letoeneau.
Purslow scored again a mere five minutes later. Commotion in front of the net caused Conard goalie Shea Henderson to lose sight of the puck. He eventually found the puck. It just happened to be in the back of the net.
In the last minute, Cheshire and Conard traded a goal apeice. Conard’s Liam LaCroix scored on a two-on-one that he elected to take himself. Cheshire’s Niklas Visiljevs scored the first of his high school career just nine seconds later and with 29 seconds remaining in the period.
The lone goal of the second period came from Conard’s Colum Flaherty when the puck bounced around in the crease until Flaherty slapped into the net.
Conard tied things up less than a minute into the third on a goal by Ramsey Henderson.
At 8:45 James Illnicki took a missile of a shot that hit off Henderson’s blocker and tumbled into the net. The power-play goal was assisted by Ben O’Connor and was the eventual game winner.
Veivia potted the insurance goals, the last being an empty-netter to make the final 6-3.