Connecticut HS Boys Hockey – Conference Tournaments: Newington Beats Wethersfield In Five-OT Thriller; Other Top Seeds Upset

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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A crazy night of conference tournament action in Connecticut boys hockey nearly spilled into the next day.

But Sam Davies scored with 3:09 remaining in the fifth eight-minute overtime to give third-seeded Newington a grueling 3-2 victory over No. 2 Wethersfield in a Central Connecticut Conference South semifinal. Blake Eastwood made the feed on the winning goal to Davies, who had been stoned by Eagles goalie Matthew Ruck on a breakaway minutes earlier in the fourth OT.

The game lasted more than three hours and ended at 11:50 p.m.

Kilian Ranger had a goal and two assists for the Indians, who twice responded to Wethersfield goals with the equalizer, including one by Evan Howard midway through the third period. Andrew Fogarty made 36 saves for Newington. Chase Millen and Will McCarter had the goals for the Eagles.

* Newington’s opponent in Saturday’s CCC South title game didn’t have to work as long to get there, but it was an eye-opening result nonetheless as No. 4 seed Tri-Town upset top-seeded Hall-Southington, 3-1. Laz Vasiliadis scored the tiebreaking goal in the second period for the Terrorcats, and Vinny Rumore iced the win with an empty netter. Reave Stafford played a strong game in net for Tri-Town.

Saturday, March 27 – Championship

  • No. 3 Newington vs. No. 4 Tri-Town (Newington, 8:30 p.m.)


Thor Novicelli

* The upset trend continued in the Southern Connecticut Conference/South West Conference semifinals, including red-hot Cheshire taking down Lyman Hall, 4-3. Thor Novicelli scored the eventually winning goal for the Rams on the power play, stemming the tide in a third period in which Lyman Hall scored all three goals as it tried valiantly to erase a 3-0 deficit.

Will Gaudet made it 1-0 Cheshire after one, and goals from Evan Vasiljevs and Aidan Gaudet pushed it to 3-0 after two. Dylan Gay scored the first of two goals to get the Trojans on the board in the third, and Ryan Brockett cut it to 3-2 just 1:01 later. Novicelli’s strike made it a 4-2 game, and Gay added his second for Lyman Hall, but the comeback fell short.

Amaan Chaudry made 23 saves for Cheshire, which has won five straight following an 0-5 start. Brendan Reddington made 18 stops for Lyman Hall.

* No. 3 seed North Haven rode the strong goaltending of Andrew Sacco to knock off No. 2 Sheehan, 3-2. Jake Hines scored on a penalty shot for the Indians after Sheehan took an early 1-0 lead, then Tommy Guidone and Mason Sullivan scored 27 seconds apart to put North Haven in command. Dylan Hennessey and Luke Festa had the goals for the Titans.

Saturday, March 27 – Championship

  • No. 3 North Haven vs. No. 5 Cheshire (Bennett, 4 p.m.)


Aksel Sather
Fairfield Prep

* Despite an early one-goal deficit, top-seeded Fairfield Prep left little drama in its 5-2 win over No. 4 Notre Dame-Fairfield. The Jesuits responded with goals from Jack Bowery, Connor Mahoney and Aksel Sather before period’s end to take a 3-1 lead, then Sather added goals in the second and third periods to cap his hat trick. Joey Bisset had a pair of assists and Tommy Martin made 14 saves. Kevin Barrett and Brian Essing scored for the Lancers and Reagin Gallagher made 37 saves.

John D’Errico
Notre Dame (WH)

* John D’Errico scored four goals and second-seeded Notre Dame-West Haven rolled past No. 3 Xavier, 6-1. D’Errico struck twice in the first period after Michael Pilato opened the scoring for the Green Knights, then added single goals in the second and third periods. Ryan Ahern also scored for ND and Connor Smith had 22 saves. For the Falcons, Dylan Rovetti scored and Ryan Solomon also stopped 22 shots.

Friday, March 26 – Championship

  • No. 1 Fairfield Prep vs. No. 2 Notre Dame-West Haven (Bennett, 6 p.m.)


* Luke Melanson scored the go-ahead goal with 1:51 to play to lift No. 3 Simsbury to a 3-2 win over No. 2 Farmington Valley. Drew Anastasio scored the tying goal as the Trojans erased a 2-1 deficit. Elijah Livingston put Simsbury on top 1-0 after one period before the Generals struck twice in the second period to take a brief lead.

* In another late game Wednesday night, top-seeded Northwest Catholic rolled to a 5-1 win over No. 4 South Windsor.

Friday, March 26 – Championship

  • No. 1 Northwest Catholic vs. No. 3 Simsbury (ISCC, 8:20 p.m.)


Kenny Granacker

* Trailing by a pair of goals midway through the third period, top-seeded BBD rattled off four unanswered goals, capped by Kenny Granacker’s hat trick, to stun No. 4 Masuk, 5-3. Granacker fed Kyle Boller for the first of two goals to start the comeback, then Granacker followed Boller’s tying strike with a breakaway goal before sealing it into an empty net.

Masuk looked to be in command when Will Brakeman made it a 3-1 game early in the third period, but the Panthers were unable to hold off the IceCats onslaught.

Thursday, March 25 – Semifinal

  • No. 3 Newtown/New Fairfield at No. 2 Milford (Milford, 8 p.m.)

Saturday, March 27 – Championship

  • No. 1 BBD vs. Newtown/NF vs. Milford winner (Bennett, 1 p.m.)


* The Division 2/3 bracket is down to three teams after Wilton had to drop out Thursday. Top-seed Westhill-Stamford gets a bye into the title game against the Staples vs. Norwalk-McMahon winner.

Thursday, March 25 – Division 1 Semifinals

  • No. 1 Darien vs. No. 4 New Canaan (Darien, 6:30 p.m.)
  • No. 2 Fairfield Warde/Ludlowe vs. No. 3 Greenwich (Wonderland, 8 p.m.)

Thursday, March 25 – Division 2 Semifinal

  • No. 2 Staples vs. No. 3 Norwalk-McMahon (Milford, 5:30 p.m.)
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