The West Haven High School girls swim team had a much improved and successful season competing in the dual swim meets where they improved to 2-8-2 behind the leadership of senior captains Anya Celmer and Nicole Gaston, and senior Daniela Morales.
Much of the success was attributable to a young team that is rebuilding with a strong group of hopefuls prepared to add to future personal achievements and swim team wins. The Blue Devils loses were by the slightest of margins decided by a single event in most cases. Another highlight is the addition of a new diving coach Pat Simon and divers for the first time in three years.
The Blue Devils went on to the Southern Connecticut Conference (SCC) Championship in the post-season, where they proved they were able to compete at the next level in both individual and relay events. The swimmers competing at SCSU Hutchinson Natatorium were Victoria Acuna, Anya Celmer, McKenna Driver, Kaelyn Falanga, Morgan Falanga, Madison Hobart, Alana Orecchio.
The post-season was even better for the Blue Devils competing at the state class LL division qualifying in East Hartford, and championship meet at SCSU.
The relay teams improved to finish one place above their seed placement in the 200 yard medley relay (2:01.37), 200 yard free style relay (1:45.20), and 400 yard free style relay (4:04.94), and the two individual stand outs were Anya Celmer competing in the 50 yard free-style (26.46) at the qualifying meet, and who also set new West Haven records at the championship meet in the 100 yard backstroke (1:00.97), and Kaelyn Falanga competed in the 200-yard freestyle and the 500-yard freestyle at the qualifying meet.
“I am very proud of the hard work the girls put in at the pool this year. We get stronger every year and our future looks bright,” Coach Robin Viani said.
The West Haven Squirt A travel hockey team earned a win and a tie over the weekend to push its record on the season to 17-11-3. The Blue Devils knocked off Hamden in the second annual “Winter Classic” to complete a sweep of the Dragons on the season.
On Saturday morning at Edward L. Bennett Rink, the Westies took on the Huskies of Northeast A in a back-and-forth game that eventually ended in a 5-5 tie. Cameren Lipford led the offense with a hat trick.
Northeast came out fast and took a 2-0 lead after one period. West Haven got on the board 4:02 into the second period when Sean Studley won a battle for the puck along the left boards. He sent a backhand pass to Lipford, who roofed a wrist shot to make it 2-1. The Huskies regained the two-goal advantage just 18 seconds later.
West Haven came right back when Studley found Ethan Kelly on the breakout. Kelly hit ahead to Lipford who skated in and wristed home another laser to make it 3-2.
Just over two minutes into the third period, the Westies tied it. Leo Mazuroski blocked a shot and skated the puck all the way into Huskies territory. He slid it to Rafi Treat who wristed it off the far post and in.
A minute and a half later the Blue Devils took their first lead. Ryan Pniewski fired from the blue line and Studley tried to tip it. While falling, he nudged the puck over to Lipford who slid it under the goalie to complete his hat trick.
Northeast tied it again less than a minute later. West Haven continued to battle and retook the lead at 5-4 when Ethan Kelly finished off a tremendous individual effort with 3:17 to play. Northeast forced the tie when they scored with 1:45 left in the game. Maddex LaFountain made 15 saves in net for the Westies.
West Haven traveled to Louis Astorino Arena early Sunday morning for part two of the West Haven-Hamden “Winter Classic” series. The Blue Devils jumped on the Dragons early and skated to a 5-1 win, led by Studley’s pair of first period goals.
Lipford fought to win a puck off the boards and centered to Studley for a one-timer and a 1-0 lead 1:23 into the game. Midway through the period, Ethan Kelly skated behind the net, flipped the puck out front, and Studley buried it for a 2-0 advantage. Pniewski worked the puck off the boards and scored from the high slot to give West Haven a 3-0 lead after one period.
The hustle of Zach Melchiore led to a 4-0 lead four minutes into the second. Melchiore forechecked and battled against the boards, won the puck, and centered it to Ethan Kelly who snapped it home. Hamden began to pressure the Westies, but LaFountain was up to any challenge in net, including a tough save on a breakaway.
Mazuroski fired through traffic to complete the scoring for the Blue Devils later in the third period. The Dragons converted a breakaway in the final minute to make the final score 5-1. LaFountain made 14 stops in the game.
The West Haven Peewee A travel hockey team lost a pair of contests this weekend. The Westies were blanked by second-ranked Simsbury on Saturday, then fell to Hamden, 8-3, Sunday morning in Hamden. Michael Madera and Zach Goetze each had a goal and two assists, while Mickey Dowd added a goal and an assist.
Trailing 5-0 against the Green Dragons, the Westies tried to come back with three goals in 4:18 to get within 5-3 in the second period. Goetze fed Madera, who scored from in front for the first tally. Madera and Dowd set up Goetze 3:37 later and Dowd scored off assists from Madera and Goetze 41 seconds after Goetze’s tally, but the Westies never got closer.
The West Haven Bantam A travel hockey team went 2-0 on the weekend, where it did some great things as a team playing two great games.
On Saturday, the Blue Devils welcomed the Western CT Jr. Colonials to the Bennett Rink, where they came out on top 4-0. Sean Bosworth got the scoring started on a short-handed unassisted goal from the point in the first three minutes of the game. After going the rest of the first period and the first twelve minutes of the second period scoreless, Matt Morgan then scored two unassisted goals in the final three minutes of the second period. Justin Pniewski scored the fourth and final goal of the game early in the third period, with Joey Honcz getting the assist.
Colin Deane, Carl Murgo, Bosworth and Dante Hardt all played well in the contest.
On Sunday, the Westies went and visited their rivals, the Hamden Green Dragons, where they went home with a 10-1 victory.
After going down a goal in the first thirty seconds, David Brown answered for West Haven less than a minute later and the Westies never looked back. Bosworth and Hardt got the helpers on Browns tally. Morgan then scored with six minutes left in the first, with Brown and Pniewski getting the assists. The Blue Devils would then score four goals in the second, the first coming off Hardt, with Honcz getting credit with the assist. Jayden Spreyer then scored an unassisted goal with 2:47 left in the second. Brown scored his second of the day a minute and a half after Spreyer’s goal, with Nolan Cole getting the helper. Cole then scored his own goal just 11 seconds later.
West Haven then went on to score four in the third, scoring two goals in the first four minutes, with both goals coming from Pniewski. Morgan and Cole got the assists on Pniewski’s goals. Cole then scored his second of the game with six minutes left off an unassisted goal. Cade Simone scored the final goal of the game with five minutes left, with Cole getting the assist, his fifth point of the game.
Kevin Gardner, Matt Wezenski and Brown all played well in the game.
Brendan Smith played phenomenal in net in both contests over the weekend, getting a shutout in Saturday’s game.
For the first time in the Wizards’ 48-year history, they beat the Watertown Warriors in Watertown, 410-251. This is also only the third time the Wizards have ever beaten Watertown and the first time they have ever beaten them two years in a row.
Team wins are certainly one focus for the Wizards and one measure of their success. As a swimmer, another very important measure of success is personal improvement. For a swimmer to repeatedly do better than his own personal best meet after meet is a tremendous accomplishment.
During Saturday’s meet, a coach was talking to a young swimmer. The swimmer said, of the race that she had just finished, “That was a terrible swim.”
The coach paused and told her that not only has she completed the race with strong finish, but her time was over a second faster than she had ever done before.
The Wizards are 6-0 so far on the season. Their next dual meet will be against the Bristol Splash on Saturday, Jan 19.
For more information on the West Haven Wizards Swim team, please visit our website at www.westhavenwizards.org.
After a brief hiatus, the sports scene heated up again as the weather starts to get colder with the five-team (basketball. hockey, indoor track, swimming and wrestling) winter sports season getting underway this past week.
Basketball — Connor Raines broke a tie game making two free throws with 2.9 seconds left to lift the seventh-ranked Green Knights to a 64-61 road win at 11th-ranked east Lyme to open the 2018-19 season. Raines added another free throw after East Lyme called a timeout that they didn’t have to provide the final margin. The Green Knights trailed by 10 at halftime and by as many as 13 early in the second half before outscoring the Vikings, 18-6, to pull ahead, 47-45, at the end of the third stanza. Jaedin Kimbro had a game-high 23 for the Green Knights. Raines and Zach Laput added nine points each.
Hockey — The Green Knights split a pair of games this week as the Larry Vieira era got underway. Rory and Charlie Andriole scored to give ND a 2-0 lead against New Canaan to start the season but the Rams scored five unanswered in their 5-2 win. ND flipped the script getting goals from five different players in their 5-2 win over ND Fairfield on Saturday afternoon. Connor Smith made 22 saves to record his first win in net. Tom Ashmore, John-Michael Childs, Mike Card, Thomas Hunt, and Charlie Andriole all lit the lamp for the Green Knights, who scored in every period.
Indoor Track — The sprinters ruled the roost in the meet with Notre Dame teams finishing in the top three in four of the six events at the SCSU Relay Rust Buster Meet on Saturday. Leading the way was the 4×400 relay team which won the event and posted a state qualifying mark. That team consisted of Warren Murphy, Neal Agir, Dan Range, and Christian Panagrossi. The 4×200, 4×800 and Johan Klein-Robbenhaar (shot put) also posted state qualifying marks in the first meet of the season for head coach Glenn Xavier.
Wrestling — Alex Barbour won the 182-pound division to lead the wrestling team to a 5th-place showing at the Shelton Invitational on Saturday, December 15. Khorbin Kern placed third in the 285-pound division as did Gianni Liguori in the 152-pound weight class. Chris Fillion, Sebastian Buenano, and Rob Lowe all finished fourth in their respective weight classes helping the Green Knights accumulate 105 points for their fifth place team accomplishment.
You can get all the latest athletic news, scores, and more by following @NDWHAthletics on Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, and Periscope while frieNDing the @NDWHAthletics Facebook group.
After having dropped its first contest of the season 3-2 in OT at Suffield, the West Haven/Sacred Heart Girls’ hockey team rebounded last week with a 6-0 win over the Hand Tigers on Monday evening and then a 7-0 victory over Masuk/Barlow/Newtown/Lauralton Hall at the Bennett Rink on Saturday afternoon.
On Monday, the girls struck early when Jiana Cohrs took a pass from Megan Froehlich and deposited a backhander past the Masuk goaltender just 1:57 into the game for a 1-0 lead. The Westie Sharks poured it on, scoring four, more goals over a span of 3:01. Cohrs set up Taylor Nowak, who made no mistake, ripping a wrist shot from the slot for a power play goal at 7:18, followed by a goal by Megan Froehlich 13 seconds later, assisted by Nowak.
Nowak then picked up her second goal of the game, assisted by Caitlin Welch and Mackenzie Gardner with 6:07 left in the period and then Meghan Dupre put an exclamation point on the period with a shot from the point, assisted by Francesca Criscuolo with 4:41 remaining in the period for a 5-0 lead. The girls coasted the rest of the way, adding another goal by Cohrs 2:53 into the third period for the 6-0 final. Kyleen Crowe stopped 14 shots before giving away to Grace Nowak, who made the last four saves to preserve the shutout between the pipes.
On Saturday afternoon, the Westie Sharks took care of business again with a dominating 7-0 victory over the Masuk/Barlow/Newtown/Lauralton Hall. Jenna Hunt got the girls going with a goal 3:40 into the game assisted by Welch and Gardner for a 1-0 lead and the Westie Sharks never looked back. Mia Celentano, Megan Froehlich, Mackenzie Gardner, Maya Boyhen with two and then Grace Plunkett rounded out the scoring. Kyleen Crowe and Grace Nowak again combined to make 21 saves and record their second, consecutive shutout.
This week, the girls traveled to the Rinks at Shelton on Wednesday to take on the Amity/North Haven/Cheshire Blades and the finish up the week hosting East Catholic/Glastonbury/South Windsor on Saturday at 2:30.
The girls’ basketball team opened its season when it battled with the Cheshire Rams on Tuesday evening at the WHHS gym and was within striking distance late but, could not get over the hump in a 48-42 loss. Ny’Aire Serrano had 12 points to lead the Blue Devils while Natalia Frazer had 10 points and Davina Mendez added eight points in the loss.
On Friday evening the Westies hosted the Harding Presidents and evened their record at 1-1 with a 42-28 victory. Natalia Frazer led the Blue Devils with 10 points, Ny’Aire Serrano had nine points, Brianna Sebastian and Sarah Evangelista each had five points while Keegan Riccio and Davina Mendez added four points each in the win.
This week, the girls travel to Hillhouse on Thursday at 7 and host Plainville on Saturday at noon.
The boys’ hockey team faced the Guilford Indians in its home opener at the Bennett Rink on Wednesday evening and the crowd in attendance witnessed an offensive explosion in an 8-7 loss. The Indians drew first blood with a goal 56 seconds into the contest but the Westies responded with four goals over a span of 2:24 to take a 4-1 lead. DJ Cafora, Richie Greene, Colin Hines and Niko Kyle all found the back of the net to put the Blue Devils up by three with 7:03 left in the first period. Unfortunately for the Westies, the Indians got a back-breaking goal with 9.8 seconds left in the period to give Guilford some momentum heading into the locker room.
The Indians tallied two, more times to start the second period and even the game before Robbie Forleo restored some stability with a shot from the point to put the Blue Devils back on top 5-4 with 5:23 left in the second period. Unfortunately for West Haven, the Indians evened the game again with 1:40 left in the period and got another back-breaker with eight seconds left in the period for a 6-5 lead.
Guilford increased its lead 1:18 into the third period. Richie Greene responded with a tally on the power play to get the Westies back within one at 7-6 with 8:40 remaining. The Indians scored on the power play with 2:10 left to make it 8-6 before the Blue Devils’ Kaden Morgillo netted one with five seconds left for the 8-7 final. Noah Iversen had 17 saves before being relieved by Charlie Miller, who finished with 12 saves the rest of the way. Niko Kyle finished with a goal and five assists in the loss.
The Blue Devils were looking to recover from their opening night loss when they traveled to the Wonderland of Ice in Bridgeport on Saturday night to face the Fairfield Warde/Ludlowe Mustangs. The Westies got a goal from Niko Kyle 6:03 into the game assisted by Colin Hines and Nico Bruneau to take a 1-0 lead. The boys would tally three, more times in the second period to build a 4-0 advantage. Robbie Forleo scored 1:01 into the second period unassisted to put the Blue Devils up 2-0. Kevin Moriarty then netted two goals in a span of under a minute to increase the lead to 4-0. The Mustangs got one back to change the momentum of the game with 1:05 left in the second period to cut the lead to 4-1. Fairfield got two, more goals to make it a 4-3 game with 47 seconds left before the Westies iced the game, when Forleo fired the puck down the ice 11 seconds later into an empty net for the 5-3 final. Jared Pliszka made 18 saves in goal for West Haven to pick up the win.
This week, the boys played St. Joseph on Monday and Westhill-Stamford on Wednesday.
Citing the city’s continuing fiscal problems, Mayor Nancy Rossi decided this year’s Christmas Party, hosted by her office, would be a casualty of the city’s austerity program. In a statement released last week, the mayor noted the decision follows others made by her since early this year regarding unnecessary spending.
“As announced in May, I am reminding residents and city employees that there will be no annual holiday party sponsored by my office this month. The event was canceled because of the costs associated with it. Hosting a party would be insensitive to the financial sacrifices that residents and city employees are making to help get our city’s fiscal house in order.
“Plans for next year’s party will take into consideration the city’s financial condition at that time. Thank you for understanding.
During this holiday season, I encourage you to support our local nonprofit organizations that provide services for our neighbors in need.”
Earlier this year, the mayor canceled the Savin Rock Festival due to overtime costs the event would incur. Also on the chopping block was the Savin Rock Conference Center, which was closed while looking for someone to either buy or lease the space.
The city is under the scrutiny of the Municipal Accountability Review Board, which is monitoring all expenditures, and steered the mayor into a five-year plan that would balance the books.
Christmas Eve breakfast
First Congregational Church is having a breakfast on Christmas Eve, Monday, Dec. 24, from 9-11. The menu consists of pancakes, eggs, bacon, sausage, fruit platter, coffee, tea and juice will be served. All are welcome.
New Year’s Party
The West Haven Italian-American Civic Association, Inc., will hold its annual New Year’s Eve party on Monday, Dec. 31, at the Cielo/WHIA club facility, located at 85 Chase Lane. A full-course sit-down dinner with dessert and coffee will be served at 6:30 p.m., followed with music for dancing by Sound Alternative from until 12:30. The open bar affair is $65 per person. Reservations along, with full payment required by Dec. 28, may be made by calling Frank Consorte (203) 676-6379 or Ellen Marazzi (203) 933-7740.
Center plans trips
Join the West Haven Senior Center for the following scheduled trip: All trips leave from Savin Rock Conference Center.
MGM Springfield Casino Tuesday, Jan. 15, cost is $25 per person. Bus leaves Savin Rock Conference Center at 8:30 a.m. Trip includes $10 free slot play. Payment is due by Jan. 4. Registration information for rewards card to be completed at time of registration.
Flyers with details for this trip are available at the office West Haven Senior Center 201 Noble St., or call (203) 937-3507 for more information.
F Seniors and Friends has a trip planned for the new year: A trip to Atlantic City is planned for Jan. 2-4 at Resorts Casino. It includes four meals, $20 in slot play and two shows. Price is $229 per person.
For booking, call Fred at (203) 389-5808 or (203) 927-4249.
The Agency on Aging of South Central CT is sponsoring a self-care education program for family caregivers, designed to provide you with tools and strategies to better handle the unique challenges you face. The free workshop series consists of six sessions held on Wednesday evenings, 6-8:30, May 23, 30, June 6, 13, 20 and 27 at the Agency on Aging of SCC at One Long Wharf Drive, Suite 1L, New Haven. A light dinner will be served. To register, call or e-mail Jan Simmons at (203) 785-8533 ext. 3164, email@example.com. You can also register online at www.aoascc.org/forms/ptc/.
An Al-Anon meeting group invites new members to attend its weekly meetings on Wednesdays at 7:30 p.m. in the First Lutheran Church, 52 George St. For information and details, call (203) 506-1464.
Balancing the care of a family member, a household and a job is overwhelming. Meet with a representative from VNA Community Healthcare’s Family Caregiver Support Network for a FREE consultation to discuss your personal care-giving issues, receive tips, guidance and explore solutions. Call VNA Community Healthcare’s Helpline at 1 (866) 474-5230 (toll free) to schedule a private in-person or phone session with one of our family caregiver experts. Consultations are held by appointment at several convenient locations including West Haven, Hamden and North Haven.
The Gifts of Christmas
The holly in the windy hedge
And round the Manor House the yew
Will soon be stripped to deck the ledge,
The altar, font and arch and pew,
So that the villagers can say
‘The church looks nice’ on Christmas Day.
~Christmas by John Betjeman
What is your best Christmas memory? The boy fondly recalls an evening in December 1956, when he stood on his tiptoes to look into the high, lighted window of the toy store on the corner of Campbell Avenue and Curtiss Place, just across from the telephone company building. There in the window were shiny red wagons and chromed tricycles and brightly painted toy soldiers, and an orange, black and white electric train with NH painted on the front. It would take three years of diligent pestering by The Boy before Santa brought him that train.
Christmas Eve was always the same back then: the whole family assembled, the parents and grandparents—they’re all gone now–and the children who sat patiently through dinner while doing their best to stifle their growing excitement. Holiday attire was different in those days: the women wore dresses and the men wore suits and neckties. After dinner, everyone would sing Christmas carols and read Bible passages to help them remember that Christmas wasn’t all about Santa.
A decade changes everything: by 1969, The Boy was now sharing Christmas with the Brown Eyed Girl, and they carefully divided their Christmas time between their two families.
There followed marriage and the child raising years for The Boy and the Brown Eyed Girl, as they did their best to satisfy the Christmas wishes and wants of their offspring, even while working diligently to keep the traditional message of the first Christmas alive in them. And the years flew by, like fence pickets along the highway of life.
How many Christmases have there been? We look back and we count the precious memories. And then we recall those two most important gifts which were given to us by our Creator: The Gift of Life, and the Gift of His Son, who our Merciful God sent to us to teach us, and to save us from our sins.
And is it true,
This most tremendous tale of all,
Seen in a stained-glass window’s hue,
A Baby in an ox’s stall ?
The Maker of the stars and sea
Become a Child on earth for me ?
And is it true? For if it is,
No loving fingers tying strings
Around those tissued fripperies,
The sweet and silly Christmas things,
Bath salts and inexpensive scent
And hideous tie so kindly meant,
No love that in a family dwells,
No carolling in frosty air,
Nor all the steeple-shaking bells
Can with this single Truth compare –
That God was man in Palestine
And lives today in Bread and Wine.
From The Boy and the Brown Eyed Girl