East Haven Co-Op Ice Hockey Boasts Balanced Bunch in Quest for Deep Playoff Run
As the East Haven co-op ice hockey team looks to continue its illustrious streak as postseason perennials, the Yellowjackets return a great cluster of veteran pieces, along with solid newcomers to bolster their chances to be more than an invite to the playoff party.
In addition to East Haven players, the Yellowjackets’ co-op squad features athletes who attend East Hampton, Morgan, Old Lyme, Old Saybrook, and Valley Regional high schools. Last season, Head Coach Lou Pane’s club finished its season with an overall record of 10-10-1 after taking a 4-1 loss to Farmington Valley in the first round of the Division II State Tournament. East Haven qualified for states by posting a regular-season record of 10-9-1.
Pane projected a great deal of optimism heading into this campaign when speaking to any postseason prospects, as East Haven returns a well-versed and blanched bunch that looks to return to states for the 36th-straight season.
“I feel we have a good team that is balanced throughout and will be competitive,” said Coach Pane. “We had two strong preseason scrimmages; we beat Notre Dame-Fairfield and tied Hamden [2 Division I programs]. We have the possibility of making the league [SCC/SWC] tournament as a top 4 team in the conference. We want to of course keep our streak alive with states; we have one of the strongest streaks in the state.”
East Haven will be led on the ice this winter by senior co-captains of defenseman Tyler Weinzimmer of Morgan and East Haven’s Alan Schroeter at forward. Backing that tandem up will be senior assistant captains in Dylan Ingram of Valley Regional at defense plus forward Nicholas Ruggiero from East Hampton, who returns after a 6-goal, 7-assist campaign a year prior.
“All four of them bring great leadership qualities. They bring a lot of leadership, good qualities, experience, and work ethic to the team,” said Pane. “We have a good corps of captains on this team.”
Between the pipes will be senior Jon-Paul Garea of East Haven, who is in his first stint as starting netminder for the Yellowjackets. Elsewhere on defense in addition to Ingram and Weinzimmer, East Haven boasts sophomore Cameron LaCroix (East Haven), East Haven junior Robert Testa, junior transfer Cameron Green of East Haven, sophomore Salvatore Plano (East Haven), senior Matthew Penn from East Hampton, and freshman Shane Ruggiero also from East Hampton.
“I feel defensively, we have a good balance,” Coach Pane said. “Jon-Paul does a really nice job in goal. Cameron LaCroix, Testa, and Cameron Green are strong players. Salvatore and Matthew might see some time, along with Shane.”
Offensively, East Haven counters with an equally strong depth of forwards in East Haven junior John D’Albero, Griffin McGlinchey (East Haven junior; 13 goals and 13 assists a year ago), fellow East Haven junior Michael Savo (9 goals, 8 assists last season), senior Joseph Vocatura of East Haven, along with sophomore William Demetriades from East Haven, junior Josh Salvati (East Haven), and senior Evan Giovanelli hailing from East Hampton.
“We lost our freshman phenom [leading goal-scorer Gennaro Pompano] to prep school Loomis Chaffee,” Pane said. “But last year, we were a very competitive team and do have quite a bit of experience coming back this season.”
Looking at the regular-season slate, Pane points to pivotal matchups with local adversaries of West Haven, North Haven, and Branford–though he knows all too well that no one game is more important than the remaining 19.
“West Haven is a Division I team we have a big rivalry with. North Haven is probably the league favorite, so we’d like to compete with them, and Branford is a big rival as well,” said Pane. “Everyone in the SCC/SWC is tough. We are taking it one game at a time; we do not circle one particular game.”
The Yellowjackets have an added boost that they have been missing the last two seasons with a home-ice advantage in an actual rink to call home, where Pane aims to have his squad send the fans home happy on a consistent basis.
“I look at this team and see the work ethic. They work really hard and bring an exciting brand of hockey here,” Coach Pane said. “It’s great to be back at our home rink after being without it for two years due to repairs being made. We are excited about this year and to bring an exciting brand of hockey to the fans.”
Pane returns to the bench for his 36th campaign with the Yellowjackets. He is assisted by coaches Ben Fronte, Bill Demetriades, and Geoffrey Marottolo.
The roster for the Yellowjackets’ 2022-2023 squad is comprised of seniors Jon-Paul Garea (of East Haven), Evan Giovanelli (East Hampton), Aidan Grillo (Old Saybrook), Dylan Ingram (Valley Regional), Giuseppe Monaco (East Haven), Matthew Penn (East Hampton), Nicholas Ruggiero (East Hampton), Allan Schroeter (East Haven), Joseph Vocatura (East Haven), Tyler Weinzimmer (Morgan); juniors of John D’Albero (East Haven), William Fleischer (Valley Regional), Cameron Green (East Haven), Griffin McGlinchey (Old Lyme), Dominic Perillo (East Haven), Joshua Salvati (East Haven), Michael Savo (East Haven), Robert Testa (East Haven); sophomores with Christopher Anderson (Old Lyme), William Demetriades (East Haven), Benedict Frazier (Old Lyme), Cameron LaCroix (East Haven), Salvatore Plano (East Haven), Dilan Robert (East Haven), Quinn Sprankle (Old Lyme), Tanner Walsh (East Haven); and finally freshmen Shane Ruggiero (East Hampton), and Nicholas Perillo (East Haven).
East Haven Co-op Boys’ Ice Hockey 2022-’23 Schedule
Wednesday, Dec. 21: at Amity at Bennett Rink at 6 p.m.
Friday, Dec. 23: vs. Hand at 4:45 p.m.
Wednesday, Jan. 4: vs. Branford at 6 p.m.
Saturday, Jan. 7: vs. Glastonbury at 1 p.m.
Wednesday, Jan. 11: vs. West Haven at 5:45 p.m.
Saturday, Jan. 14: vs. Eastern CT Eagles at 1 p.m.
Monday, Jan. 16: at Westhill-Stamford at Terry Conners Rink
at 1:45 p.m.
Wednesday, Jan. 18: at Milford at Milford Ice Pavilion at 6 p.m.
Saturday, Jan. 21: vs. North Branford at 1 p.m.
Wednesday, Jan. 25: vs. Masuk at 5:45 p.m.
Saturday, Jan. 28: at SGWL at Simsbury at 7:20 p.m.
Wednesday, Feb. 1: vs. Sheehan at 6:15 p.m.
Saturday, Feb. 4: at Lyman Hall at Northford Ice Pavilion at 5 p.m.
Wednesday, Feb. 8: vs. Guilford at 6 p.m.
Saturday, Feb. 11: at Woodstock Academy at Pomfret School at 7 p.m.
Wednesday, Feb. 15: vs. Watertown-Pomperaug at 6:45 p.m.
Wednesday, Feb. 22: at Eastern CT Eagles at Rose Garden Arena
at 8:30 p.m.
Monday, Feb. 27: vs. North Haven at 6:45 p.m.