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Danny Godlewski held down the fort in net for the North Haven boys’ ice hockey team this year. The senior goalie recorded his first career shutout when the Indians defeated New Fairfield-Immaculate on Feb. 14. (Photo courtesy of Stan Godlewski )
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Senior goalie Danny Godlewski turned in a strong season between the pipes for the North Haven boys’ ice hockey squad this winter. The Indians saw some struggles, but they played better down the stretch, and Danny’s performance in net proved huge in their improvement. A few weeks ago, Danny earned his first career shutout when North Haven blanked New Fairfield-Immaculate by a 2-0 final.
First-year Head Coach Chris Avena appreciates how Danny stood tall and came up with some great saves for his club throughout the year.
“He seems to be able to make big saves in big moments, and he also seems to make those two or three saves per game that you don’t think he’s going to be able to make,” Avena says. “A lot of times, I think it’s through will that he makes those saves. It gives the team a chance to win, and that’s all you can ask for.”
Danny got out to a bit of a late start with high school hockey. During his first two years, Danny played for a travel team called the Wallingford Hawks in order to increase his chances of getting ice time. Danny says his experience with the Hawks paid off when he came to North Haven.
“I think it definitely benefited me to play for the travel team,” says Danny. “Especially with goalie, there is no substitute for game experience. Practice is good, but it’s not the same as being in a game.”
Danny only played two games as North Haven’s backup goalie last season. This year, he earned the starting nod in net. After playing with several of his Indians’ teammates during his youth hockey days, Danny was happy to be back out there with his friends.
“It was good to finally be back on the ice with them. It felt like I hadn’t missed a beat,” Danny says. “For the guys I hadn’t played with, it’s nice, and I’ve built a relationship with them, as well.”
As an added bonus, Danny named an assistant captain for the Indians this season.
“In my midseason interview with the coaches, they said I lead by example, because I can’t be on the bench leading verbally. I sort of agree with that,” says Danny. “I try to go out and show I care, and I’m willing to do what it takes. I hope that rubs off on the team, and they’re inspired to do the same thing.”
Danny delivered one of his best performances of the year when North Haven posted a 2-0 victory versus New Fairfield-Immaculate on Feb. 14. Getting the shutout was good enough, but the fact that it came against a Division I program made the moment even sweeter for Danny.
“That was great. The whole time I was very nervous, because we haven’t beaten a Division I team in a long time. Last year, I was on the bench when we tied them 1-1,” Danny says. “This year, I was sort of expecting to get scored on, but it was such a great feeling watching the last seconds tick off. It was a fulfilling moment and kind of made the season worth it.”
North Haven entered the final week of its season having won three of its last five games. While the Indians wanted to have a better year overall, Danny feels proud of his squad for grinding it out and putting a few victories on the board at tail end of the campaign.
“Our record this year doesn’t reflect our team. A lot of people tend to associate failure with the number of wins and losses you have,” says Danny. “I consider this season a success because, towards the end, we came together and won some games.”
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