For 60 plus minutes, the Southern Connecticut Conference title game was a nail-biting affair. West Haven/Sacred Heart Academy’s Picard made sure no extra time was needed.
Flying untouched in the slot area, Picard scored the only goal of the final with 1:23 gone by in the second overtime to lift top-seeded Sharks to a 1-0 victory over third-seeded Hamden.
The SCC title was team’s second in three years, and it helped the Westie Sharks bounce back from an overtime loss to Guilford in last season’s SCC title game.
The Westie Sharks had defeated Hamden twice already during the regular season, both times by a pair of goals. Hamden was not going to go away quietly in the third meeting.
Picard made the Westie Sharks champions with a quick snap of the wrist after taking a pass from Julianna Montano in front to beat Hamden goaltender Marcia Colten, who made 41 saves in the game.
In a third period where each team had its share of scoring opportunities, both goaltenders were on top of their game.
Hamden’s Colten was sharp early in the period, denying Geena Montano off the left wing midway through, then turning aside Plunkett with 5:43 remaining off the right wing.
WH/SHA goaltender and Tournament Most Outstanding Player Isabelle Desrosiers was amazing down the stretch as she turned aside Jozie Becker in front with 4:30 remaining, and Jacqueline Maurice in close two minutes later. Desrosiers may have been at her best with 1:50 to go as she turned aside Mary-Jaine Malonis, then the rebound by Giada Broccoli.
The first period saw a combined 18 shots, but both goaltenders were up to the task with Desrosiers making eight saves and Colten making 10.
The Green Dragons had the better of the scoring opportunities in the opening 15 minutes, but Desrosiers denied Josephine Bourque in front 6:55 in, then turned aside Becker on the doorstep with Hamden on the power play with 12 seconds to go.
The Westie Sharks had their share of opportunities as well, but Colten denied Alfano’s point shot with less than five minutes remaining, and she also turned aside a sharp backhander by Olivia Twarowski with 3:48 to go in the opening period.
The second period was more of the same as neither team could crack the scoreboard. Picard and Rachel Harrison had the two best scoring opportunities for the Westie Sharks in the first five minutes, before Hamden carried the play.
Desrosiers again came up big in the second period with nine more saves, her best denying Sara Norton and the rebound by Broccoli with 4:30 remaining. Desrosiers then made another big save on Ava Martin with 1:08 to go to keep the game scoreless heading into the third period.
With only two days to recover from its dramatic overtime win over Hamden in the conference championship, WH/SHA wanted to get going quickly in the first round of the state tournament.
Scoring four of the first five goals, the Westie Sharks topped Wilton 5-3 at the Edward L. Bennett Rink Monday afternoon. The win was the seventh in a row for the Westie Sharks and helped improved their record to 16-7.
Geena Montano led the way with a goal and two assists, while Isabelle Desrosiers made 28 saves in the win.
West Haven / Sacred Heart Academy took a 1-0 lead in the first period when Plunkett scored off assists from Picard and Geena Montano. Chase Ireland extended the lead to 2-0 off an assist from Kiki Adamo 1:48 later, before Wilton scored 27 seconds later.
The Westie Sharks extended the lead to 4-1 with two goals in 3:03 of the second period. Juliana Gonzalez scored off an assist from Melissa Tsakonas at the 6:41 mark, before Geena Montano scored off an assist from Julianna Montano 3:03 later.
Wilton scored the next two goals, but the Westie Sharks put the game away with 2:15 left in the contest with a goal by Picard assisted by Geena Montano.
The season ended for the Westie Sharks with a 6-0 road loss to Darien.
The West Haven boys co-op hockey team lost its fifth straight contest with a 6-0 loss at Ridgefield. The loss dropped the Westies to 2-15 at that point.
West Haven had its chances in the contest but could not convert. Trailing 1-0, Marcus Burrows broke down the left wing, but was denied with a pad save from Ridgefield goaltender Henry Ertl with 8:25 left in the opening period.
Javed Ullah turned away a handful of shots in net for West Haven, before the Westies had another opportunity when Mike Madera raced down the left wing, but was turned aside by a glove save from Ertl with 4:30 left in the opening period.
Javed Ullah made 12 saves, while Matt Rasile made five in the loss.
West Haven has had its share of adversity this year. Losing numerous games either in overtime or by one goal has sent the Westies to a losing record.
Despite losing the lead with 16.7 seconds remaining, the Westies were not going to be denied again.
Behind a 47-save effort from Kiryl Astravukh and a game-winning overtime goal by Madera, the Westies topped Amity, 3-2, in overtime.
Madera’s heroics came to fruition due to the efforts of Astravukh, who along with West Haven’s special teams, killed off a five-minute major penalty in the final 5:25 of the game. Amity scored on its 16th shot of the third period with 16.7 seconds to go, forcing the overtime.
The Westies won the game with 2:42 remaining in the extra session as a delayed penalty saw the puck go back to the point. Haygen Axelrod’s point shot was stopped in front, where Madera knocked in the rebound.
West Haven twice had leads in regulation, both times on goals by Porto, but Amity rallied back.
Astravukh was stellar throughout, making 12 saves in the first period, 17 in the second, and four more in overtime. Madera finished the game with a goal and an assist, and Spreyer had two assists in the win.
Looking to build off the overtime thriller against Amity, West Haven was in control against Notre Dame-Fairfield for 40 minutes. The final five minutes were a different story.
Scoring four times in the final 5:29 of the game, including two empty-net tallies, the Lancers rallied to defeat West Haven, 5-2. With the loss, West Haven fell to 3-16 on the year.
Porto and Spreyer each had a goal and an assist, while Madera added two assists in the loss. Astravukh made 23 saves for the Westies.
Both teams had quality scoring chances in the opening period, but they could not convert until 2:50 remained in the opening period. Madera led Spreyer up the ice and Spreyer fed Porto in front for a quick shot and a 1-0 lead.
West Haven closed the regular season with two straight losses, including a 6-2 loss to Hand in Northford.
Burrows and Porto scored for the Westies, while Zack Fonda and Josh Rodrigue had assists.
After a scoreless first period, the Westies took the lead 2:27 into the second period as Burrows scored in front off an assist from Fonda. The lead lasted less than a minute as Hand responded 50 seconds later and added another 17 seconds after for a 2-1 advantage.
Despite numerous chances, West Haven never got the equalizer. West Haven’s best chance came in front when both Madera and Porto were denied in front on the power play with just over six minutes to go in the second period.
The Tigers took a 3-1 lead with 3:55 left in the second, but West Haven looked as if it would get that goal right back. Jason Alling’s shot from the point rang off the crossbar 15 seconds later and the Westies never got closer.
Trailing 5-1 in the third, Porto got the Westies in striking distance off an assist from Rodrigue with 5:11 left.
West Haven had the better of the scoring opportunities in the first period, but the Westies could not get on the scoreboard.
Spreyer was denied from the slot 2:33 in, Rodrigue was stopped from the point with 7:41 to go, and Brady Price was denied in front with 2:30 remaining. Yousaf Ullah had his point shot turned aside with two minutes left, and Madera was turned aside from the slot shortly after.
For three plus quarters, the West Haven girls basketball team had undefeated Hamden on the ropes, With less than two minutes to go, that all changed.
Making the most of its opportunities, Hamden outscored the Westies 9-3 in the final 1:30 to remain unblemished with a 47-43 victory over West Haven in the Southern Connecticut Conference semifinals at Jonathan Law Monday evening.
With the loss, West Haven fellto 16-6 as they awaited state tournament play.
The Westies had to battle in the second half as Amani Abuhatab was in foul trouble, before eventually fouling out in the fourth quarter. Abuhatab picked up her fourth foul with 4:50 left in the third quarter.
In Abuhatab’s absence, West Haven went from being up one point to holding a 32-23 lead with 1:58 remaining in the third quarter after a pair of free throws by Ella Morgan.
Hamden evened the game on a 9-0 run, with five of the points coming from Alana Philpotts. Noelle Lawrence gave West Haven a 37-32 lead with five consecutive points, but, with a chance to extend the lead, the Westies missed three straight at the free throw line.
Philpotts evened the game with a 3-pointer, but freshman Ciara Harp answered with a 3-pointer of her own for a 40-37 West Haven lead with 1:55 remaining in the fourth quarter.
The Westies missed a pair of free throws in less than a minute before Hamden iced the game at the free throw line. Any chance of a West Haven comeback ended when Harp’s desperation shot fell short in the final seconds.
With some time to recover from a heartbreaking loss in the conference semifinals, West Haven knew it was going to put forth its best effort in the state tournament. After one game, the Westies were fortunate to move on.
Never getting any consistency to its offense after a week off, West Haven turned to Abuhatab. The senior star responded with 36 points, including all six in the first quarter and 18 of the team’s 21 points in the first half. In the end the Westies topped Staples, 48-39 to move to the next round.
Leading 21-20 at the half, the Westies struggled to pull away. Abuhatab put the Westies up 27-20, but six straight points by Staples made it a one-point game again.
Abuhatab got the lead to four again with a bucket and free throw, and her two free throws gave West Haven a 34-31 lead after three quarters.
Abuhatab drained West Haven’s final 11 points of the quarter and scored the team’s first six points of the fourth quarter to extend the lead to 40-32.
The six points by Abuhatab sealed the win for West Haven as Staples never got closer than six points the rest of the way.
Staples took the lead three times late in the second quarter, but Abuhatab responded each time to give the Westies the lead, the final time at 21-20.
Carrano finished with seven points in the win for the Westies.
The season has ended for West Haven. Looking to keep the season going, the Westies were unable to do so in a 55-51 loss to eighth-seeded Enfield.
No. 9 West Haven finished the season 18-7.
Carrano finished with a team-high 12 points, while Abuhatab and Fiorillo each scored 11.
Carrano had three 3-pointers in the opening quarter and Dealyce Howard added another as the Westies trailed 20-12. West Haven got within 27-26 at the half as six players combined for 14 points in the second quarter.
Enfield increased the lead to 42-37 in the third despite five points from Fiorillo. Abuhatab scored six in the fourth, and Fiorillo and Harp each drained 3-pointers, but it was not enough.
For all your West Haven sporting news throughout the year, including game articles by Mike Madera, highlights, photos and more, visit www.westieblue.com.