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East Haven sophomore Rocco Plano and the Yellowjackets’ ice hockey team are joining forces with five high schools on the shoreline to form a co-op squad this winter. The Easties are out to a 5-3 start on the season. (Photo by Kelley Fryer/The Courier | Buy This Photo)
Senior Chris Giglietti has been one of the key contributors on defense for the Easties during the early goings of the 2018-’19 winter campaign. (Photo by Kelley Fryer/The Courier | Buy This Photo)
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After forming a co-op team for the first time last year, the Yellowjackets’ ice hockey squad has added a few more schools to the mix for the 2018-’19 season. As a result, Head Coach Lou Pane’s club is hitting the ice as the East Haven-Old Lyme-Old Saybrook-East Hampton-Morgan-Valley Regional co-op team this winter. Coach Pane and company are off to a solid start with their record of 5-3, including a 7-4 win against Westhill-Stamford in last week’s action.
The Yellowjackets feature 16 athletes on their roster, two of which are goalies. Consequently, there are plenty of people who are making huge contributions by playing major minutes every game.
“We had to reach out and get a couple more schools and get some more players,” Coach Pane said. “We welcome these guys. They’re working hard, and we’re having a good year right now. Whether it’s two, three, or five schools—players are players.”
Coach Pane said that the newcomers are meshing well with his team’s returning veterans this season. Thus far, he likes the product that the Easties are putting on the ice.
“We’re jelling unreal. I’m just delighted that, after eight games, we have five wins. I never expected that, but these kids work hard for 45 minutes,” said Pane. “There may be one or two games where we shouldn’t have won, but pulled it out. Sometimes, that’s how the season goes. We’re overachieving at this point and, hopefully, we can keep that going. Nobody expected us to be as good as we are, and we’re hoping we can continue to be a good hockey team.”
East Haven started off last week by notching a 7-4 non-conference road win versus Westhill-Stamford at Terry Connors Ice Rink in Stamford. Old Lyme junior Alec Speirs scored three goals for a hat trick in the victory. Valley Regional senior Ricky Persico netted a goal, as did East Haven senior Chris Giglietti and fellow East Haven students Dave Amatruda and Rocco Plano, who are both sophomores. Amatruda also handed out two assists, while East Haven senior Jonathan Moscato and Old Saybrook sophomore Cory Benni contributed one assist apiece.
Junior Logan Hamilton got the start in goal and made 16 saves for the Yellowjackets. Fellow East Haven student Ryan Sheldon, a freshman, came in later in the game and made eight saves. After having an excellent freshman season, Hamilton didn’t play for the Easties last year. Coach Pane said he’s happy to have Hamilton back between the pipes.
“It’s great to have him back. He’s a great goaltender. We had a great goaltender last year in Matt Twarowski, so we’ve been very fortunate to have kids like that who can win games for you. He’s why we have five wins,” said Pane. “Logan has been great for us. He’s been a difference maker.”
Hamilton was out with an injury when East Haven took an 8-1 home loss against Watertown-Pomperaug in a Southern Connecticut Conference/South-West Conference matchup at DiLungo Rink on Jan. 2. Amatruda scored the Yellowjackets’ lone goal on assists from Morgan sophomore Ryan Egan and Giglietti.
Three days later, East Haven dropped a 2-1 decision to Cheshire in an SCC/SWC matchup at Wesleyan University. Hamilton made 30 saves for the Yellowjackets. Speirs scored their goal on assists from Benni and Amatruda.
Coach Pane feels that Hamilton and the Easties’ defense will be the strong point for his team this year. Now, Pane is looking for the Yellowjackets to generate enough offense to send them to the State Tournament for the 33rd consecutive season.
“Defensively, we’re strong with Ryan Egan, who is a newcomer to us; and Chris Giglietti, who has been here. He’s very steady back there, and then Rocco Plano is a very good defenseman. So, we’re tight on defense and very tight in goal with Logan,” Pane said. “Offensively, our first line moves pretty well, and they’ve been producing most of our output, and then some other guys have been chipping in. It’s truly been a team effort.”
From the Sidelines
The East Haven-Old Lyme-Old Saybrook-East Hampton-Morgan-Valley Regional ice hockey team’s roster is comprised of seniors Chris Giglietti (East Haven), Jonathan Moscato (East Haven), and Ricky Persico (Valley Regional); juniors Joseph Consiglio (East Haven), Shane Hanson (East Haven), Logan Hamilton (East Haven), and Alec Speirs (Old Lyme); sophomores Rocco Plano (East Haven), Ryan Egan (Morgan), Chad Feola (East Haven), Cory Benni (Old Saybrook), Dave Amatruda (East Haven), Brandon Smith (East Haven), and Andrew Persico (Valley Regional); and freshmen Michael Robert (East Haven) and Ryan Sheldon (East Haven).
Lou Pane is in his 33rd season as the Yellowjackets’ head coach. Pane is assisted by Butch DiLungo, Ben Fronte, and Bill Demetriades, and along with statistician Jason Pierce.
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