The West Haven/Sacred Heart girls hockey team, fresh off its SCC Championship win over Hamden, hosted Hall/Conard on Monday evening in the first round of the Connecticut High School Girls’ Hockey Association state tournament.
The Westie Sharks took the lead 2:21 into the second period when Brooke McNabola scored an unassisted goal to make it 1-0. Four minutes and twenty-three seconds later it was Taylor Nowak on the power play, assisted by Megan Froehlich giving the girls a 2-0 cushion.
Jianna Cohrs made it 3-0 just 2:10 after that, assisted by Froehlich to increase the lead t0 3-0. Nowak then sealed the victory with a tally with 2:37 left in the game for the 4-0 final. Kyleen Crowe made 16 saves in goal for the Westie Sharks, who with the victory moved on to face perennial powerhouse New Canaan in the quarterfinals.
On Saturday night, the Westie Sharks faced the Rams at Terry Connors Rink in Stamford. The teams battled to a scoreless first period with the Rams holding the territorial and shot advantage. In the second period, New Canaan would break through with a goal on a rebound at 5:52 to take a 1-0 lead. Just 1:22 later a Ram player streaked down the left side and sniped the top, left corner to increase the New Canaan lead to 2-0.
The Westie Sharks had two, golden opportunities in the second period. The first coming as a penalty to Veronica Lynn expired, she came out of the penalty box, received a headman pass and raced in on a breakaway but was denied by the Rams’ goaltender. The second chance would come on a scramble in front of the New Canaan net when Jianna Cohrs couldn’t reach the puck in the crease in the closing minutes of the period keeping the girls off the scoreboard. The Westie Sharks were outshot 21-7 after two periods.
The third period saw the girls continue to apply pressure but the Rams defense collapsed down around its goaltender, blocking shots and maintaining the 2-0 lead. The girls, despite their effort, were unable to penetrate the Ram goal and fell by that score. Tatum Courtmanche made 26 saves between the pipes for the Westie Sharks, who finished the season 18-5-1.
The boys hockey team traveled to Hamden on Wednesday evening for its last, regular season game against the Green Dragons. The Dragons, ranked No. 6 in a recent poll were looking to make quick work of the Blue Devils, who have struggled this year and had four wins on the year. Hamden got on the board 3:35 into the first period and then added to its lead with two, more goals 47 seconds into the second period and another 4:33 later to make it 3-0.
The Westies would not go quietly on this night though. Niko Kyle cut the lead to 3-1 assisted by Kevin Moriarty before the end of the period to give the Westies hope going into the third period. Moriarty then got the Blue Devils within one with a goal assisted by Kyle and Robbie Forleo at 4:19 of the third and then followed that up with a goal that he snapped off from the slot past the Hamden goaltender to knot things up at 3-3 just 1:19 later.
Both teams battled for the remainder of the period with the Westies killing off a penalty in the last couple of minutes to force overtime. The Blue Devils had a couple of chances in the OT but were denied. The with 1:16 left in the overtime, what appeared to be an icing was waved off and a fore-checking Green Dragon was able to send the puck into the slot, where a Hamden player shot the puck through a slew of bodies in front of the net, screening goaltender Logan Cole to score, giving the Dragons the 4-3 victory. Cole made 31 saves between the pipes for West Haven.
This week, the Blue Devils traveled to Middletown on Wednesday to face the Xavier Falcons in the first round of the CIAC playoffs. The Falcons are a familiar foe for the Westies, who have played each other in the CIAC playoffs five out of the last six years.
If victorious, the Blue Devils would play the winner of Hamden vs New Canaan on Saturday.