Trumbull lights the lamp eight times in boys hockey opener

Trumbull celebrates during its victory over Staples.

Trumbull celebrates during its victory over Staples.

Trumbull Athletics / Contributed photo

Trumbull boy’s hockey coach Greg Maxey is pleased with his team’s performance the first week of the season and has encouraged the Eagles to keep up the good work.

“We did a lot of good things, the trick is to do this against some top teams on the schedule,” Maxey said after Trumbull opened its season with an imposing 8-3 victory over Staples at the Milford Ice Pavilion. “We have Division III games in the FCIAC, and we want to make sure that we execute and perform the same against St. Joe’s, Fairfield, Immaculate and Stamford.”

Jack McLean scored three goals in the lidlifter, two of them coming in a 4-goal second period. Trumbull led 1-0 on Peter Antoniou’s goal. Brennan Cutter’s unassisted goal early in the second doubled the margin.

McLean (from John Guerrera), Josh Liebowitz (from Colin Franzen), and McLean in the last minute (from Guerrera) took the score to 5-0. Grayson Chopskie, Zach Jager and Owen Finnegan scored in the third for an 8-0 advantage. Guerrera finished with two goals and two assists.

“We’ve had this first line together since their freshman year,” Maxey said of McLean, Guerrera and Finnagan. “We committed to that and we are going to ride along with them. If the first game is any indication than they should have a good year. All the goals were quality goals with puck movement. The guys were moving their feet and finding each other.”

Maxey has revamped the second line.

“We have a couple of new kids. Luke Minopoli is the center and missed 15 games with an injury. He is playing with a freshman, Nick Smagacz, and a sophomore, Giancarlo Montanaro, who did not play with us last year,” Maxey said.

“Luca is strong and smart, a great two-way player with good offensive skills and strong on defense. The two young kids have high skill sets, handle the puck well, pass well, and are good skaters. That is a fairly polished line for two kids that haven’t played high school hockey.”

Maxey didn’t have far to look to find his third-line center.

“We have three quality center and Peter Antoniou really makes that third line go. The line is physical with good speed. All the centers are smart, play it properly on both ends,” he said.

Josh Liebowitz keys a three-man defensive rotation.

Maxey said: “Josh had a very good first game with a goal and an assist, plus he had a lot of quality shots on net. He is joined on defense by Zach Jager and Tyler Hickey. Zach moves the puck extremely well, makes good outlet passes, and sees the ice very well. He could be the hardest working kid we have at practice. He wants to get better. He pushes himself and it has paid off. Tyler Hickey is our most physical player night in and night out. He is a tough little kid.”

Grayson Chopskie, a senior, and Adam Guttman, a junior, are the goalies.

“Grayson was working a shutout against Staples when he came out for the last seven minutes,” Maxey said. “We feel we have a pair of quality goalies. In the minutes they played last year their records and goals-against were good. They did a nice job whenever we used them. I’m confident using either one.”

Getting prepared for the season took work.

Maxey said: “Their legs are good now. The first week there was a little fatigue, but we are in a good place conditioning-wise and stamina-wise. They were off for two months on their own. I give kids credit, they came into practice in pretty good shape and ready to go.

“This season will be challenging, but if we elevate our play and keep doing the things we are doing we’ll be in pretty good shape.”


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