Boys hockey: Decision reversed when rivals meet on ice

The Trumbull High boys hockey team limited its miscues and capitalized on enough opportunities when the Eagles avenged a New Year’s Eve loss to St Joseph with a hard-fought 2-1 win over the Cadets at The Rinks at Shelton on Wednesday night.

Trumbull improved to 8-10-1 and St Joe’s fell to 7-12-1.

The Division 2 Eagles beat D-1 Cadets for the first time in nine years.

“I give all the credit to coach Maxey’s guys over there. They came out flying – they outhit us,” St Joseph coach Eddy LeMaire said.

Will O’Brien one-timed a centering feed from Trevor Rochelle from behind the net snapping a 1-1 tie just 1:47 into the third period.

“We got the puck down low. Trevor gave me a perfect pass, right on my stick, and I just put it away. It was a total team effort right there,” O’Brien said.

This was Trumbull’s Senior Night, and Eagle coach Greg Maxey noted that it was nice to see seniors, including O’Brien have big contributions.

Trumbull goaltender Will Guttman, another senior, made the lead stand up thanks to some key stops, including a game-saver with just two seconds remaining and the St Joe’s net empty and an extra attacker on the ice.

“That’s a big, big win for him,” Maxey said of his goaltender, who made 31 saves.

The Cadets did cash in on a mistake and a break the ice to score first.

The Eagles had a power play, but were penalized in the offensive zone just 22 seconds into the man advantage. The penalty not only negated the man advantage, but resulted in the ensuing faceoff taking place at the other end of the ice, which proved costly to the Eagles.

Just five seconds later, defenseman Kevin Faustich’s shot from the point beat Guttman. Andrew Van Etten and Will Foldesi assisted on the goal with 8:54 remaining in the middle period.

The Eagles evened the score just 2:55 later with a power play goal of their own, also on a shot from the point when defenseman Jack Liebowitz was set up by Rochelle.

The Cadets threatened to force overtime even before pulling netminder Ryan Wilson, who made 18 saves. Van Etten had a breakaway, and centerman Sean Attanasio won some late-game draws, giving his teammates, including Foldesi some chances.

LeMaire was pleased with his team outshooting the Eagles, but added that the Cadets didn’t manufacture the high-quality shots on goal that they wanted.

“When we had our chances we didn’t bury the puck,” LeMaire said.

The loss, at best, hampered the Cadets’ playoff hopes. LeMaire, although he credited the Eagles for playing better than his team, said his lineup came out flat and looked unprepared.

Maxey said, “Brady Jensen and Rochelle were strong in the faceoff circle throughout the night.”

Both teams rushed the puck with counter-attacks, but defense prevailed for most of the evening. The St Joe’s defensive pairings of Van Etten and Faustich, and Andrew Gilbert and Kyle Parchinski limited Trumbull’s pressure in the offensive zone.

The Eagles got strong play from blue-liners Liebowitz, Eric McCabe, Marco Minopoli and Joe Polzello, the latter of whom stepped in and contributed with Trumbull down a couple of players for this contest.

“We were kind of limping in and I was worried about our depth,” Maxey said. “It’s nice to get a solid quality win going into the tournament. I think we played hard. We played good defense. These games are always tough.”

The state playoffs are just around the corner, following Trumbull’s regular-season finale, against Conard High on Tuesday.