Connecticut Boys Division 3 Tournament – Thursday Recap: Conard Stuns Top Seed E.O. Smith/Tolland In OT; Newington, JBWA, BBD Also Reach Semifinals

Jim Clark
Jim Clark
Jim Clark joined Hockey Night in Boston in December 2019, and has covered high school hockey in Massachusetts for more than three decades. He also covers high school hockey and is a multiplatform editor for the Boston Globe, and previously spent two decades as high school hockey reporter at the Boston Herald, where he also served as the high schools editor from 2000-06. Clark was honored by the Mass. State Hockey Coaches Association with its William Stewart Award for contributions to the sport in May 2019, and also received the Joel Perlmutter Award for media coverage in 2006. A graduate of UMass, he also spent eight years as sports editor/reporter at the Sentinel & Enterprise in Fitchburg, and has extensively covered high school hockey in Central and Western Mass. as well as Connecticut.

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Entering Thursday night, Conard had dropped all three of its matchups against E.O. Smith/Tolland this season, the most recent coming just the previous week in the CCC semifinals.

But Conard was not daunting by that history, or a one-goal deficit against the top-seeded Bucks approaching the end of regulation in the CIAC Division 3 quarterfinal at Trinity’s Koeppel Center. Brian Fehl scored the tying goal with 1:03 left in regulation, setting the stage for Jack Wenz’s overtime tally as the #8 Conard stunned the top-ranked Bucks, 2-1.

On the winning play, Wenz carried the puck up the left wing through the neutral zone and then cut diagonally across the blue line to the top of the right circle, where he sent a snap shot that clanged off the far left post and in at 3:12 of overtime.

Fehl’s goal, with the goalie pulled for an extra skater, came after an initial Conard shot on net was sticked aside but then took a weird carom off the boards and back to the front of the net. Trailing the play down the slot, Fehl banged home the loose puck inside the left post.

Quentin Wry scored for the Bucks on the power play with 9:34 left in the second period, finishing off a nice give-and-go combo with Cam Sterling on a 2-on-1 break.

Newington 2, Staples 1

Tyler Leavitt and Braeden Humphrey had the goals, and the #2 Nor’easters derailed the #10 Wreckers at Northford Ice Pavilion.

After a scoreless first period, Leavitt broke the ice for Newington at the 1:55 mark when he grabbed a rebound of a Harrison Ranger shot and fired it home. Humphrey doubled the lead with a power play goal with 1:51 left in the second.

Jason Wolgast finally got Staples on the board with a shot from the point with 3:51 to go, but the Wreckers – who had upset #7 SGWL in the opening round – couldn’t get the equalizer.

BBD 2, New Milford 1

Kenny Granacker and Dan McCue had the goals and the #4 Icecats held on to beat the #5 Green Wave at Wonderland of Ice.

Louie Alfidi

Granacker put BBD ahead to stay in the first and McCue doubled the lead in the second. Louie Alfidi took care of the rest, making 33 saves and nearly finishing with a shutout until Steve Sanford scored for New Milford with six seconds to play.

JBWA 9, Enfield 2

The train continues to roll for Niko Tournas and JBWA. The dynamic freshman scored four more goals, giving him seven in two tournament games, and the #3 seed finished off the #11 Eagles at Newington Ice Arena.

Tournas already had a hat trick as well as an assist by the end of the first period as JBWA jumped out to a 5-1 lead. Kai Smith and Tommy Kane chipped in goals in that period, and Duncan Craine added another in the second.

JBWA added goals from Tournas, Spencer Thomas and Stephen Theall in the third. Tournas also finished with three assists, while Theall and Spencer Thomas had two apiece. Connor Thomas made 26 saves.

Ethan Ambrosio and Josh Tyler had the goals for the Eagles, who had stunned #6 Masuk in overtime in the opening round.

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