Trumbull hockey succeeds against upgraded schedule

Cody Hickey is one of nine seniors that helped Trumbull get off to 9-1 start to season.

Cody Hickey is one of nine seniors that helped Trumbull get off to 9-1 start to season.

ATHINA BELLIOS / Contributed photo

Trumbull boys’ hockey coach Greg Maxey wanted to strengthen his teams schedule and made good use of his four swing games to pencil in Division I opponents.

“Because of only having 12 games, and they didn’t have us playing a lot of the D-I FCIAC teams that we normally do, I wanted to pick up good out-of-conference teams and think I did. Three of the four were D-1 with Fairfield and two with Immaculate, along with St. Joseph as the fourth,” Maxey said.

Trumbull, even with the upgrade, is 9-1 with the loss coming 5-1 to Fairfield (7-1-1).

“We were playing well against Fairfield it was a one goal game (2-1) going into third and then they ground us up a bit,” Maxey said. “We just played home-home with Immaculate Friday/Saturday and both were one-goal games went that went back and forth.”

Trumbull went on the road to tip Immaculate 4-3.

Owen Finnegan had two goals. John Guerrera and Peter Antinour had one goal each. Tyler Hickey and Colin Franzen had two assists a piece. Cody Hickey, Nikolas Smagacz and Finnegan added helpers.

Maxey said: “In that first game we had a one-goal lead throughout, and they were chasing us. In the second game (a 5-4 win), we were down 2-0 after one and scored three in the second period to tie it at 3. Jack McLean and Owen Finnegan each had two goals. One of Owen’s was shorthanded, which was the one that got us going. We were killing a penalty when he stripped the puck and made a nice move to score. It was right at the end of the second period and it was a good way to go into the break.”

Maxey knocked on wood when discussing Trumbull’s good fortune.

“We’ve been healthy. The FCIAC has been good with all the COVID stuff. We haven’t lost any games or had injuries. Knock on wood, we want to get through the next couple of weeks,” Maxey said. “We’ve been fortunate. I was in a CIAC meeting and at one point 14 hockey teams had been shut down with COVID.

“The kids have been playing very well. The schedule is different than normal, but the guys have done a nice job. All the credit goes to our nine seniors and three captains for really towing the line for us.”

Finnegan, McLean and Josh Leibowitz are captains. Guerrera joins Finnegan and McLean on the first line, a trio that has been together since freshmen year.

“All three lines are contributing,” Maxey said. “It helps to stretch things out and we get stronger as games go on. Grayson Chopskie has had the Lion’s share of games in goal and Adam Guttman has played a handful and both are capable. If we start to unravel they make the big stop. They keep us in position to win every night.”

Trumbull has games remaining with Norwalk and Wilton be fore the FCIACS begin where the likely top-seeded Eagles in Tier II will meet the 4 vs. 5 winner in the semifinals on March 25.

COACH EDDY CUP

Trumbull’s most notable win came in the Coach Eddy Cup game with St. Joseph, played in memory of the St. Joseph hockey coach who died in the offseason at the age of 53. Owen Finnegan opened the scoring for the Eagles. The Cadets came right back to tie things up. Freshman Nick Smagacz came up with the eventual game winner, a snipe that put Trumbull up 2-1 going into the third. During the final frame, Finnegan was hauled down on a breakaway and awarded a penalty shot which he scored on to ice the 3-1 victory.

SENIOR NIGHT

The 5-4 win over Immaculate came on Senior Night, when the program honored Cody Hickey, Colin Franzen, Jordan Meyer, Ben Grillo, John Guererra, Grayson Chopskie and tri-captains Josh Liebowitz, Owen Finnegan and Jack McLean. Finnegan and McLean each had two goals while Guerrera added three assists and Liebowitz had one helper of his own.

PLAYERS OF THE WEEK

Chosen by coach Greg Maxey, the first week’s POW award went to center Luca Minopoli, who scored the game-winning goal in the final minutes of the Watertown/Pomperaug game that was deadlocked at 2-2. Maxey said: “The junior is an excellent two-way player with the coveted mix of skill, smarts and toughness. He currently centers a line with newcomers Nick Smagacz and Giancarlo Montanaro.”

John Guerrera took home the second POW after the right wing scored the Eagles’ only goal in a 5-1 loss to Fairfield team. Through the first four games of the season, Guerrera had three goals, four assists. Maxey said: “John brings speed and skill to the lineup and has shown the ability to score big goals this season.”

Owen Finnegan was next to be honored. Maxey said: “When you score two goals in a 3-1 win over cross town rival, St Joe’s, you’re going to be the Player of the Week. He is a captain and is currently second in points with eight (3 goals, 5 assists) and was recognized by the FCIAC as one of their exemplary scholar athletes for his academic achievements.”

“Grayson Chopskie is our POW after helping deliver the two-game sweep of the D1 Immaculate Mustangs,” Maxey said on March 14. “He has been solid between the pipes this season, consistently putting us in a position to win. This was the case this weekend as “Chopper” came up big helping us bring home back to back wins.”

Zach Jager was the most recent Eagle feted b y his coach. “Zach has come into his own this season and is playing with the confidence of an impact player,” Maxey said. “He is an extremely smart player who sees the ice and moves the puck with the best of them. One of those occasions was this past weekend against Staples when Zach contributed two goals and two assists from the blue line.”

william.bloxsom@hearstmediact.com Twitter: @blox354