The first time Hamden and West Haven met this season, Hamden put on an offensive display and cruised past the Westies. Knowing West Haven was not going to let that happen again, the Green Dragons used an offense which saw 12 different players gather points in a 6-4 Division I victory over the Westies at Lou Astorino Rink Monday evening.
Sophomore Conor Gethings was the only Hamden player with multiple points as he had a goal and an assist, while 11 other players recorded one point. Hamden goaltender Donald Moorcroft made 19 saves, including several key stops in the third period with the Westies looking to rally.
“It is important for us to get the secondary scoring,” Hamden’s Eddy Fracasso said after finishing with an assist. “We had several guys come up big tonight. That is good for the team. It gets the whole team rolling.”
The Green Dragons, ranked fifth in the GameTimeCT/Register Top 10 poll, were rolling from the start, outshooting West Haven 15-5 in the opening period, and using a pair of 5-on-3 advantages to build momentum, before scoring twice in 50 seconds for a 2-0 advantage.
Up two men, and after West Haven (10-10) had already killed a two-man down situation, A.J. Luedee found himself alone in front and beat West Haven goaltender Jared Pliszka where he made no mistake off assists from Fracasso and Gethings.
Just 50 seconds later, the lead was a pair of goals as Jack Shane scored off assists from Tyler Routh and Alex Hernandez.
“We got off to the quick start with the two goals,” Fracasso said. “We knew West Haven was not going to let us run away with it. We knew they were going to come back. We knew we had to pick it up.”
The Westies cut the deficit in half with 4.8 seconds left in the opening period. Richie Greene’s point shot was deflected in front by Kevin Moriarty, before Moriarty put in the loose puck to get the Westies within 2-1.
“We fell behind early,” West Haven coach Joe Morrell said. “We have shown we can come back and we will need that in the playoffs. We had some opportunities, but we didn’t cash in.”
Hamden (11-8) scored the only goal of the second period when Alan Cozzolino scored off a scramble in front with an assist going to Alex Ponzio, before the Green Dragons opened up the contest in the third period.
Craig Cesare gave Hamden a 4-1 lead 3:46 in and Michael Gethings added to the mix 38 seconds later for a 5-1 advantage, before West Haven stormed back.
“Playing teams like West Haven helps us for the postseason,” Fracasso said. “It gives us an extra boost. When we play the big teams like West Haven, we know we have to play together and be ready.”
Led by Kaden Morgillo, the Westies rallied back. Morgillo got West Haven within 5-2 off assists from Nico Bruneau and Colin Hines 1:04 later, before Niko Kyle scored off assists from Nick Boanno and Moriarty with 2:52 remaining.
Trailing by two, Morgillo again tallied off an assist from Sean Dupre with 35.5 seconds to go to get West Haven within 5-4, but the Westies could not get the equalizer.
“At 5-1, we got some life,” Morrell said. “We are going to need that. We know we can come back. It has happened a few times this year where we came back. Now, we have to rest up and get ready for the postseason.”
Conor Gethings sealed the win for Hamden as he scored into an empty net as time expired.