Ice hockey: Guilford storms past Trumbull

The Trumbull High boys hockey team took a 2-0 lead in its Division II first-round game with Guilford High at DiLungo Rink in East Haven, but the Indians fought their way back to advance with a 7-3 victory on Tuesday night.

“One good period of hockey is never enough,” said Trumbull coach Greg Maxie, who brought his No. 14 seeded team back into the state tournament after a two-year absence.

“I thought our guys were just a little too happy (with the lead). A lot of the mistakes that we made in the second period had to do with maturity. We only have one senior. It’s a nice sign for the future, but it was a tough lesson for us tonight.”

Third-seeded Guilford (14-5-2) scored five second-period goals. It will meet No. 6 North Haven (10-9-2) in the next round.

Trumbull (7-11-3) used its speed and the quality of play out of its first line to get the advantage. After outshooting Guilford, 8-2, in the first four minutes, Trumbull’s Martin Birnbach made it 1-0 when he found Guilford goalie Kyle Dwyer out of position and flipped the puck into an open net at 6:57.

Assists on the goal went to his linemates Matt Mocker and Brady Jensen. Jensen and Bimbach are juniors; Mocker is a sophomore.

Mocker made it a 2-0 game at 14:54 when he scooped up a loose puck off of a shot from Jacob Liebowitz and fired it home. Jensen earned the other assist on the goal.

Trumbull took 17 shots in Guilford’s end in the first 15 minutes and put 14 of them on net, forcing Dwyer to make 11 saves.

“He (Dwyer) was our unsung hero in this game,” said Guilford coach Ralph Russo. “He made an unbelievable glove save (off of a Jensen shot) when the game was still scoreless. If that one went in and you had the other two, now we’re down 3-0. That’s a big number to come back from.”

The Indians reversed the flow of the game starting early in the second period with an aggressive and in-deep forecheck.

John DeLucia cut Trumbull’s lead in half when he scored at 2:12. Chris Cafiero, who finished with four goals and pushed his seasonal total to 28, got the next two; the first coming at 3:45, and the second at 11:09 on the power play.

Jake Watrous’ tip-in of a Tom Cattaneo shot from the point made it 4-2 at 11:38.

Jensen cut the lead to one, 4-3, with an unassisted goal at 13:51.

Just when it looked like the momentum would shift back to Trumbull’s side, the Indians’ Stephen Thibault beat Eagles’ keeper Will Guttman and the lead went back to two. Cafiero added a pair of third-period goals.

“I thought as our season went along we played much better team hockey,” Maxie said. “We always seemed to have some good, individual play, but once we learned how to work the puck and make good passes, it allowed us to spread the ice better.”

Dwyer and Guttman each came up with 23 saves. Guilford had a total of 41 shots to 37 for Trumbull.

“We play our best hockey when we working the puck well in the offensive zone,” Russo said. “We give ourselves far more offensive chances to score when we’re moving the puck.”

In addition to Cafiero’s 64 points, Thibault has 57 and DeLucia has 50.