ICE HOCKEY: It’s another nail-biter as Cheshire, South Windsor tangle in holiday matinee

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HAMDEN — South Windsor netted a pair of second-period goals to pick up a Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. holiday matinee victory over host Cheshire at the Louis Astorino Ice Arena on Monday afternoon.

The Bobcats got goals from Tyler Power and Zachary Morison to collect the 2-1 Division II non-conference win and improve to 5-3.

Cheshire (3-5-2) was coming off of a 5-4 overtime win on Saturday night against Branford. The Rams carried that momentum over to Monday. They did everything in the first period — except put the puck in the net. 

The squads were scoreless after the first period. Cheshire had nine shots on goal and the Bobcats just had two.

The story of the first period and the game was South Windsor goalie Jason Sigler, who made 21 saves. He turned away nine shots and only allowed one rebound attempt in the opening period.

The junior made a diving glove save late in the period off a faceoff Cheshire won in the Bobcat defensive zone. Sigler also handled a breakaway attempt by calmly snaring a Evan Vasiljevs rocket right out of the air.

The bulk of the period was played with Cheshire on the offensive.

In the second period, South Windsor broke into the scoring column with a goal with 12:15 showing the clock. Power, fittingly enough, blasted in a power play tally from the point to give the Bobcats a 1-0 lead.

South Windsor coach Neil Rodman said Power is one of the better defenseman he has coached in a while and has been a leader all season.

Chase Mawhinney and Kyle Dunn were credited with assists on the goal. It was only South Windsor’s third shot on net and its initial shot of the second period.

The Bobcats made it 2-0 with 5:59 left in the second period. Morison scored from the doorstep with a shot that cleanly went by Cheshire goalie Amaan Chaudhry (10 saves). Power picked up the assist.

Despite being outscored in the period, Cheshire outshot the Bobcats 8-4.

“We knew going into the game that South Windsor is a good team with a good defensive structure and I thought both teams played pretty well,” Cheshire coach Anthony Giusto said. “We both had chances and they capitalized one more time than we did. I thought all in all we did a lot of good things, but we coudn’t crack their defense at the end.”

Cheshire got on the scoreboard with a slapshot goal from Ryan Fraser with 11:49 left in the third period. Rocco Ocone-Krause collected the assist. 

“We were just trying to get pucks on net that whole third period,” Giusto said. “We had two or three really good chances, but they made good plays.”

Cheshire’s Lukas Sargolini had a rebound attempt for the Rams that was stopped by Sigler.

“Sigler is a great kid and he bided his time and always worked on his game, and he deserves everything he gets right now,” Rodman said. “He’s a great teammate and a great competitor.”

Cheshire’s comeback hopes were sidetracked by two straight penalties. The Rams killed them off, but lost four minutes off the clock.

With just over a minute to go, still trailing 2-1, Cheshire pulled its goalie. Zach Olson had a shot turned away with 40 seconds to go.

The Rams called a timeout with 17 seconds left to set up a final play. South Windsor countered with a timeout of its own.

South Windsor won the faceoff. Ocone-Krause got to the puck and tried to center it Damon Zurolo, but Cheshire couldn't score the equalizer.

“Any time we play Cheshire, which is always well coached, it’s this way,” Rodman said. “We have a history that It’s either going to be an overtime game or a one-goal game. Cheshire plays with a ton of energy and we are lucky to get away with a win.”

Giusto said his young team is moving in the right direction after a slow start.

“We are improving after giving up nine goals in the first game and six goals in the second,” Giusto said. “We are playing a lot better and keeping the score down. We had a couple wins and a tie in the last four games.

“These next five games are going to be very tough and will likely decide where we end up, but we are right where I thought we would be this season.”


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