The East Haven boys’ ice hockey team defeated Hamden 5-4 in overtime on Feb. 10 in what Head Coach Lou Pane called a great win for his program. It was the Yellowjackets’ seventh overtime game this season and the first time they prevailed by beating Hamden, an SCC Division I squad that was ranked No. 8 in the state.
“It was a huge win. I was a great effort from our guys. We played up to them, we watched a video a couple days before of some of the scouting info we had of them, and we had an idea of what they were going to throw at us,” Coach Pane said. “We responded very well that day. We got the best of them in overtime, which was really sweet. To beat a storied program like Hamden is a nice achievement for these boys who have worked hard all year.”
The Yellowjackets were down 4-3 late in the third period when senior captain Joe D’Albero scored the game-tying goal with 33 seconds remaining in regulation. East Haven took that momentum into overtime and Joe Aloi netted the winner at the 6:35 mark.
“It was amazing. Once we put that final goal in, the whole building was electric,” Pane said. “From the spectators to our bench, it seemed like everybody came into that game not expecting us to make a game of it. To pull off what we did was really nice.”
Other East Haven goal scorers in the victory were Chris Giglietti, Nick Latella, and Matt Latella. Goalie Matt Twarowski made 22 saves to earn the win.
On Feb. 13, East Haven was defeated by the top team in SCC Division II, North Branford, by a 6-3 count. With that loss, East Haven’s record now stands at 4-9-4.
The first period consisted of five penalties, including a major on North Branford. The Thunderbirds scored a pair of shorthanded goals and added another on a breakaway when a player jumped out of the penalty box.
“Two shorthanded goals really killed us in this game,” Pane said. “That took all the momentum away from us and gave them all the momentum in the world. From there, we were on our heels.”
Even though the puck was in North Branford’s zone for most of the period, the Thunderbirds took advantage of the few times they worked it into East Haven’s zone. East Haven did net one late in the first period, when Monaco sneaked past North Branford goalie John Lovelace to make it 3-1.
“I don’t know if it was tough to get into the flow of it, but we knew North Branford has an excellent offensive team. They scored 16 goals in the last two games,” Pane said. “We came in here hoping we wouldn’t want them to get behind our defense. You have to eliminate mistakes because ,if you make mistakes in your own zone against a good offensive team like North Branford, they’re going to capitalize. Sure enough, they did.”
Early in the second, Nick Latella scored from behind the net. A shot got through Lovelace and sat in the crease. Latella was the only player who located the puck and he put it past Lovelace to cut it to 3-2. North Branford owned the rest of the period, however, scoring three more times on Twarowski for a 6-2 lead.
In the third, Zach Paquin scored to make it 6-3 as East Haven doubled North Branford’s shots in the frame.
“We overcame the 3-0 deficit and made it a 3-2 game early in the second and we were hoping to build on that, but North Branford came right back and, before you know it, it’s 6-2,” Pane said. “In the third, we came out and outplayed them. We beat them 1-0 in the third period and outshot them in the game, 29-23. Unfortunately for us, we gave up six goals, but we only gave up 23 shots to a great offensive team. There are just a couple of areas that we need to tighten up on and get better.”