ICE HOCKEY: Double-bill late show! Sheehan answers Guilford in D-II scrap; CHS repeatedly rallies and beats West Haven in OT

WALLINGFORD — Some ties carry more weight than others, and the 3-3 draw to which the Sheehan hockey team played against Guilford at Choate’s Remsen Arena late Wednesday night was one of those.

Paired with one of the top teams in Division II, the Titans earned the SCC/SWC tie when Landon Cantele answered a late go-ahead goal by Guilford.

Gabe Mongelli put the Grizzlies up 3-2 with 3:37 to play. All of 20 seconds later, Cantelle connected off assists from Michael Ballough and Max Festa.

The game was physical throughout and Sheehan coach Dave Festa was proud of the way his team, now 4-5-2, fought against an 8-1-1 Guilford group.

“This was a great game for us,” Coach Festa said. “This was a great moral victory against a top team in the state who had only one loss coming into this game, and we found out that we could play with them.”

At the onset, the Grizzlies showed why they were 8-1 on the season. They controlled the tempo and established a 1-0 lead 3½ minutes in when senior defensemen Mitchell Ward scored from long range.

“We were not awake at the beginning of the game,” Coach Festa said. “But only giving up one goal at the beginning was a positive for us because we were not playing our best.”

Sheehan was able to turn fortunes around midway through the period when Guilford’s Nathan Ponzio earned a trip to the penalty box for a cross-check The Titans took advantage on the power play to knot the score at 1-1. Ballough had the goal, Garrett Wilkinson and Max Festa the assists.

“We had some great puck movement on that goal,” Coach Festa said. “We knew that they were a team that would take some penalties. They are an emotional team and we knew if we got under their skin there would be some power play opportunities.”

The emotions would soon boil over going into the second period. Tempers flared after Titans freshman Preston Cantele was hit hard into the boards and remained down on the ice for several minutes.

No penalty was called and Coach Festa exchanged heated words with the officials.

“I thought it was awful and it’s kind of expected now,” Festa said of the non-call. “The reffing has been completely inconsistent across the board. Unfortunately, kids are getting hurt and Preston got hurt with a high hit and nothing was called. It is very frustrating, to be honest with you.”

The Titans were able to rally, with Max Festa scoring his 22nd goal of the season, assisted by David Fritz and Billy Totz, to give Sheehan a 2-1 lead.

“It finally came,” Max Festa said. “I had a lot of shots during the game. We knew their goalie wasn’t the strongest, so when I got that goal it felt good.”

Down 2-1 heading into the third period, Guilford responded. Brady Raffone drew the Grizzlies even with 7:55 on the clock before Mongelli made it 3-2 with 3:37 on the clock.

That set the stage for the equalizer by Landon Cantele.

“We responded really well,” Max Festa said. “That was not our first time that we’ve been down like that. We just came together as a team and ended up with the tie.”

Each team had to kill a high sticking penalty in OT. Sheehan would hold off a fierce attack by Guilford to hang on for the gritty draw.

This sends a message to all the other teams that we can play with anybody,” Max Festa said. “We might have less guys, but we are a physical and tough team.”

Cheshire 6, West Haven Co-op 5 (OT): The Sheehan-Guilford game wasn’t the only overtime thriller in the SCC/SWC on Wednesday night. The Rams and Blue Devils also engaged in one at Lou Astorino Rink.

Trailing by two goals in the third period, the host Rams rallied, drew even in the final minute of regulation, then scored the crossover victory when Drew DePodesta knocked home a feed from Rocco Ocone-Krause in OT.

The decision over the Division I Bue Devils gained the Division II Rams valuable points in the playoff standings and evened their record at 4-4.

DePodesta’s game-winner gave Cheshire its lone lead of the night. The Rams were playing catch-up throughout. They erased two-goal deficits on three occasions.

The game-tying goal came with 41.6 left. Andrew Vaill scored it, pouncing on a loose puck in the crease.

Biagio Pepe brought Cheshire within range by cutting the score to 5-4 with 5:48 remaining. He was assisted by Ocone-Krause.

Chase Hackett got Cheshire on the board in the first period. Corbin Forselius and Devin Kelly scored for the Rams in the second period. 


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