NORTHFORD — Maybe there’s room for two Wallingford hockey teams in Connecticut’s top 10.
It sure looked that way Saturday night at Northford Ice Pavilion, and once the final horn sounded on Lyman Hall’s riveting 3-2 upset of No. 6 Sheehan, the Trojans could lay to claim to belonging, too.
A pair of goals by Kevin Stoddard, the game-winner by Tommy Ralston with 5:48 left to play and outstanding goaltending from start to finish from Brendan Reddington gave LH its first win over Sheehan since the 2019 DIvision III state championship game.
Both teams came away from Saturday’s showdown at 5-1, and it won’t be long until the rematch. The two rivals return to Northford on Monday for an 8:15 tilt.
If Monday’s game starts like Saturday’s finished, hold tight. Very tight. After Ralston back-handed home the rebound of a shot by Peyton Durant, Sheehan buzzed the LH zone, eventually pulling goalie Justin Lyon with 1:22 to play.
Reddington scrambled and dove like a mad man and succeeded in barring the door against the most potent offense in SCC/SWC Division II. The Titans, led by the No. 1 line of Joe Romano, Anthony Romano and Luke Festa, had entered Saturday’s game with 33 goals in five games.
Festa did beat Reddington on a short-handed goal earlier in the third period and Dylan Hennessey had scored in the second period, yet the Titans never led. After a scoreless first period, Stoddard put the Trojans up 1:29 into the second, following up his own shot of Lyon’s chest and poking in the rebound.
LH had immediate chances to extend the 1-0 lead. Zach Pettit made a bid on a wrap-around and the Trojans went on a power play not longer after.
Sheehan killed it, though, then tied the game with 6:35 left in the period when Hennessey put a laser over Reddington’s right shoulder. Reddington had just made a glvoe save on a Brendan Hilinski shot from the point. Hennessey cashed in on the ensuing faceoff.
Sheehan kept the pressure on, especially when the Trojans drew a penalty for cross checking with 5:24 left in the second. Joe Richo clanged a shot off the post. This was followed by a sequence in which REddington made a blocker save, glove save and consecutive diving saves on James Stratton and Joe Romano, finally covering up on a pass from behind the net.
Both the shots (16-16) and score (1-1) stood dead even going into the third. Both teams had chances early. Reddington fended off a flurry from Sheehan’s top line, triggered when Festa broke in on the left side. Lyon stymied LH after a turnover in the Sheehan end.
Stoddard put the Trojans back up 2-1 with an almost excuse-me shot from just inside the blue line with 9:23 to go.
LH went on the power play shortly thereafter looking to land a dagger. Instead, Sheehan pulled even. Freshman Landon Cantele broke in. He was stifled by Reddington, but the puck was loose in the crease and Festa swooped in and poked it home to forge a 2-2 with 8:24 left.
About 2½ minutes later, Ralston was Tommy on the spot, in perfect position to back hand home a rebound off an initial shot from the right side by Durant.
For the third time, the Trojans were up by a goal. For the first time, the lead would stand up.