Connecticut D3 Quarterfinals: Westhill advances in 2OT

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.

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Coming from behind twice, Westhill survived the CIAC Division III quarterfinals with a 3-2 win over Tri-Town. Gunner Eriksen scored in double overtime to send the Vikings to their first CIAC semifinal since 2006, when they competed in Division II; until this year, they’d only won one state playoff game since that.

In Tuesday’s semifinals, the Vikings will face Masuk, who’ve made the state semifinal their midweek-in-mid-March home: A 6-0 win over Sheehan sent the Panthers to their third consecutive Division III semifinal and their fifth in seven years. Brian Denham had two goals and three assists, and Christian Furce needed just 12 saves to earn the shutout.   Masuk beat the Vikings 2-0 in an early-season meeting and will need a win Tuesday to reach the program’s first state final.

Matt Schoen was a little busier in his shutout, E.O. Smith/Tolland‘s 5-0 win over Staples/Weston/Shelton, but it was a shutout nonetheless for the Bucks, who grabbed a big early lead. Peter Mayer had a hat trick.

E.O. Smith/Tolland, trying to get back to the final for the second year in a row, will face Shepaug/Litchfield/Nonnewaug, which outlasted Woodstock Academy 7-5. Andrew Loya scored three goals and assisted on the other four for the Spartans, back at Ingalls Rink for the first time since the 2003 Division II final.   The Bucks won an early-season game 7-0 over Shepaug.   Staples was the only quarterfinalist that had ever won a state championship (1981 Division II), so some program will earn its first title next Saturday.

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