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Connecticut D2 First Round Recap: Conard, South Windsor upset

That Conard-South Windsor matchup sure looked like the game of the Connecticut quarterfinals, or at least the Division II quarters, didn’t it?

Major problem: Neither one got there.

Branford knocked off fourth-seeded South Windsor 3-1, while East Haven defeated fifth-seeded Conard 5-2, both on the road. The 13th and 12th seeds, respectively, Branford and East Haven will meet again Friday in the Division II quarterfinals.

Leading 3-2, East Haven got goals late in the second period from Zach Paquin and Joe Lorello to put it away. Meanwhile, Zach Withington scored twice for Branford as the Hornets built a 3-0 lead. Michael Annunziata also scored.

Mid-Atlantic-Festival-Ad-300x250East Haven won the regular-season meeting against the Hornets on Feb. 27.

The higher seed won each of the other six first-round games. Top-seeded North Branford scored a goal in each period of a 3-0 win over Newington. It’ll meet eighth-seeded E.O. Smith/Tolland, which knocked off New Milford 4-1 as Jake Lefebvre broke a tie, then added another to make it 3-1. The Bucks didn’t face North Branford in the regular season.

Fairfield got a natural hat trick from Jake Fuss to start the scoring, then got two goals from Gareth Gacetta to help put away Watertown/Pomperaug 6-2. The second-seeded Mustangs will meet seventh-seeded Cheshire, which bested the Farmington Valley Generals 5-1.

Fairfield beat Cheshire 1-0 in the regular season on a late Fuss power-play goal and Mike Grace’s shutout.

The night’s first upset appeared to be brewing, coincidentally, at the rink in East Haven, where third-seeded Guilford trailed 2-0 after one period. But Guilford roared back to defeat Trumbull 7-3 for its first state tournament win in three years. Chris Cafiero scored four goals and assisted on another. Guilford meets sixth-seeded North Haven, which beat Hand 3-2. Jason St. Peter had two goals, including the winner late in the second, and an assist for North Haven.

Both regular-season meetings between Guilford and North Haven went to overtime; Guilford won one, and the other stayed tied.

Michael Fornabaio

Michael Fornabaio

Michael writes for Hockey Night in Boston, covers the Bridgeport Sound Tigers for the Connecticut Post, and once covered the Beast of New Haven. He grew up at the New Haven Coliseum. Story, blog links @BSTSoundinOff blog.ctnews.com/fornabaio.
Michael Fornabaio
- 15 hours ago