Branford, Lyman Hall Capture Connecticut State Titles

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Written by John McGuirk / Hockey Night in Boston


NEW HAVEN, CT — For the first time since 1988, Branford won the CIAC Division 2 state championship. The fourth-seeded Hornets squeaked past sixth-seeded Glastonbury, 2-0, inside Yale University’s Ingalls Rink on March 14.

“This team set a goal for themselves after our first round loss last year and were determined to make a run at both the conference and state championships,” said Branford coach Jim DiNapoli. “They are a special group that made going to the rink everyday a lot of fun! From the five seniors to our one freshman, they all give 100 percent. Whether an individual plays 45 minutes or 45 seconds a game they are all equally as committed and equally as important to the club. I think the success of this season is a reflection of that commitment.”

(Photo provided by Matt Dewkett @MDewkettPhoto)

The Hornets (18-3-3) overcame a big blow in the first period when star defenseman Chris Donadio went down with an injury and could not return. But, the Hornets were able to overcome that.

“The first period was crazy, especially losing Chris to a knee injury,” said DiNapoli.  “Chris is a main cog on this club and instead of getting down the boys picked themselves up and played the game with great resiliency and commitment.”

Following a tight-fisted, penalty filled first two periods, in which neither club could find the back of the net, Branford broke the 0-0 deadlock in the third. Spencer Engstrom put the Hornets ahead to stay after crossing into the offensive zone before beating Tomahawks goaltender Brendon O’Connor top-right shelf with 11:24 remaining.

Photo provided by Matt Dewkett @MDewkettPhoto

Staying tight inside the defensive zone, Branford kept Glastonbury (14-9-2) at bay for the remainder of the contest. The Hornets then sealed the deal thanks to Jack Manware’s empty-net score with 0:31 to go.

The Hornets had lost to Glastonbury (4-0) in its season opener back on December 12th.

Branford sophomore goalie Jared Yakimoff posted the shutout, making 20 stops. O’Connor finished with 21 saves for Glastonbury.

“The goaltending for both clubs was outstanding, DiNapoli said. “Brendan shut us out the first game of the season and the first two periods last night so it was a big lift when Spencer was able to get us on the board early in the third.”

Connecticut Division 3 Final:

Lyman Hall/H-K-Coginchaug Wins First Title

NEW HAVEN, CT — In the battle between two Wallingford schools, Lyman Hall/Haddam Killingworth/Coginchaug netted three goals in the second period and never looked back as the Trojans went on to down Sheehan, 6-2, in the CIAC Division 3 state final held at Yale’s Ingalls Rink.

The championship was the first for Lyman Hall.

The teams split two games during the regular season. The Trojans took the first meeting 3-0 in late January, and Sheehan responded with a 5-1 win on February 16.

With the score tied 1-1 heading into the second period, the second-ranked Trojans took control of the game with a three-goal output in just over a two-minute span. An unassisted goal from Matt Pettit put Lyman Hall/H-K/Coginchaug in front, and that goal was followed with strikes from Aidan Weir and Kyle Roberts to make it a 4-1 game before the second period was halfway over.

Weir and Roberts both added their second goal of the game in the third period for the Trojans.

Fourth-ranked Sheehan controlled play in the early going, but it was the Trojans’ Pettit who would open the scoring to give LH a 1-0 lead. The Titans evened the count later in the frame on a goal by senior Devin Napoli.

Anthony Romano added a late goal for the Titans, who end up at 17-6-1 overall.

The Trojans finished at 18-6-0.




Published with permission from Hockey Night in Boston






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