The West Haven Bantam A travel hockey team played in its Connecticut Hockey Conference Tier 3 State Tournament this weekend at the Northford Ice Pavilion.
In their first game of the tournament on Thursday, the Blue Devils took on the CT Riverhawks and skated to a 3-2 loss. The game went back and forth, with both teams having multiple scoring opportunities.
After a scoreless first period, the Riverhawks got on the board in the first minute and a half of the second period, taking the first lead of the game. The score would stay 1-0 until the beginning of the third, when David Brown scored the first goal of the tournament for the Westies with a short- handed goal after going top shelf from the circle.
Matt Morgan scored a breakaway goal for the first Blue Devil lead of the game after Colin Deane gave Morgan a beautiful feed on the goal. After going up 2-1, the Riverhawks scored two unanswered goals, with the game winner being scored with less than a minute left.
Brendan Smith made some unbelievable saves to keep the Westies in the game, with one phenomenal save on a 2-on-1 going post to post and snagging the puck in his glove late in the third.
Dante Hardt, Joey Honcz and Carl Murgo player well in the loss.
On Friday night, the Blue Devils took on the Stamford Sharks and came away with a needed 5-2 win.
After a sluggish start, West Haven was finally able to get on the board midway thru the first period off an unassisted breakaway goal from Morgan. After getting their first goal of the night, the Blue Devils were able to keep the momentum on their side.
Morgan scored his second unassisted goal of the game with 5:32 remaining in the second. Brown then went to score two of his own goals back to back within two minutes of each other, one of them being a nice tip in in front. Murgo then scored a great goal within the last six minutes of the contest, skating end to end and shooting at his target with his head up.
The Sharks scored two quick goals in the last five minutes of the third after gaining momentum back late, but it was not enough to overcome the Westies.
Smith played spectacular in goal, making some great saves and doing a good job deflecting pucks into the corners. Honcz, Kevin Gardner and Jayden Spreyer all played well in the win.
Saturday brought two games for the Westies at the Northford Ice Pavilion.
The first game was the final contest in round-robin play and had the Blue Devils losing a tough game, 4-2 to the Southeastern Seahawks.
After going down 2-0, the Westies got on the board after an unassisted Morgan goal midway through the second period. The Seahawks would go on to score two more, but Justin Pniewski was able to get West Haven on the board for their second goal, with an assist coming from Matt Wezenski. After applying pressure the remainder of the game, West Haven was not able to get the score evened up.
Smith did everything he could to keep the Seahawks off the board in goal, giving a valiant effort. Brown, Wezenski and Cade Simone player well in the loss.
After making it into the quarterfinal round by winning a tie-breaker, the Blue Devils took on a gritty Greater New Haven Warriors team, coming out with a 4-1 victory in the Warriors home rink, with all four Westie goals coming in the first period.
Pniewski scored the game’s first goal off a rebound in front of the net, with the assist coming from Sean Bosworth off a shot from the point. Dante Hardt then scored the game’s second goal, with Spreyer getting the assist. Pniewski scored his second of the contest off an unassisted goal. Brown scored a goal off a rip from the top of the circles, with Cole getting an assist. The Warriors were able to get one in the second, but could not get back in the game.
Smith made some great saves while getting pressured in the crease. Pniewski, Morgan, Honcz and Murgo all played well in the game.
With the win against the Warriors, the Blue Devils advanced to the tournament semifinals, where they lost a nail-biter in overtime by a 3-2 score to the Yale Bulldogs.
Cole scored their first goal of the game off a shot in front, and got the Blue Devils the all important first goal lead of the game. After a back and forth second period, the Bulldogs went to score back to back goals within a minute of each other with five minutes remaining in the game.
After pulling Smith for the extra attacker, Brown scored the game-tying goal off a slap shot from the top of the circles with a minute remaining in regulation, sending the game into overtime. After the Westies pressured the Bulldogs in their end for the first four minutes of overtime, Yale was able to score the game-winning goal to end the Blue Devils CHC Season.
Smith played his best game of the tournament, keeping his team in the lead for the majority of the game. Wezenski, Deane and Murgo all played well in the loss.