- Front Porch
WALLINGFORD — Shee-han controlled the puck for most of the game against Shepaug Valley/Litchfield/Nonnewaug Monday night.
The No. 3 seed Titans scored three goals in the first 7 minutes, 15 seconds of the game, then held off a third-period rally to take a 6-4 victory in a CIAC Division III boys hockey first-round game at Remsen Arena.
Still, Sheehan coach Dave Festa wasn’t completely happy with his team’s play.
“We really couldn’t get into a good flow tonight,” Festa said. “Our second line of Collin (Beaudoin), Dylan (Beaudoin) and Sal (Gozzo) really set the tone for us tonight, having all the goals. And really keeping the pressure on them. But we didn’t get the balanced attack we were looking for.”
Sheehan will play No. 11 Tri-Town (8-11-1) on Thursday at a time and site to be announced.
The Titans (15-6-1) got things rolling on a goal by Gozzo from the left circle with an assist from Bruce Rutkowski at 2:49 of the first. Gozzo struck again unassisted on a breakaway at 4:45.
Colin Beaudoin completed Sheehan’s first-period scoring with a shot from the right circle following some congested play in front of the net.
Paul Gozzo and Mike Cerrotti assisted on the goal at 7:15.
Shepaug (5-16) got one back late as Christian Stuart connected on a long slap shot from above the right circle with an assist from Andrew Loya at 14:39.
“It was good to get that (three-goal) cushion, getting up on this team,” Festa said.
Kevin Boylan scored a long slap shot from the right side on a somewhat disputed goal for Shepaug to cut it to 3-2 early in the second.
Shepaug stepped up its defense in the second but it didn’t translate into more time with the puck.
“We kind of stepped back on our heels a little bit and let them get back in the game,” Festa said. “The ice kind of tilted in their favor. We had to reset and refocus and start to play with confidence. We were kind of second-guessing ourselves a little bit.”
Sheehan got a two-goal cushion back when Dylan Beaudoin scored on a breakaway from the right side at 14:46 of the second for a 4-2 advantage.
Sal Gozzo completed a hat trick with a breakaway score from the left side at 2:09, which was assisted by Jimmy McNamee and Paul Gozzo, who led his brother with a long pass from the mid-ice faceoff circle.
Sheehan finished its scoring at 5:16 of the third when Colin Beaudoin knocked in a rebound after Dylan Beaudoin’s shot hit the left pipe. Dylan and Cerrotti earned assists on the play.
But things weren’t quite over as Loya struck on a steal and shot high over the shoulder of Sheehan goalie Carly Femniak (10 saves) at 10:17 and then again on a breakaway 1:29 later to cut it to 6-4.
“Shepaug wasn’t controlling the puck but they were getting the chances, and they were capitalizing on the chances,” Festa said. “And we were making some mental mistakes tonight.
“What we need to work on is our transition game. Our defense needs to move the puck up a little bit quicker and our forwards need to get ready for the puck. We need to work on our speed through neutral ice. That’s going to be one of the keys on Thursday.”
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