Connecticut HS Hockey – Division 2 Semifinals: Cheshire, East Haven Co-op Grab Shutout Wins, Will Play For State Title Monday

Doug Bonjour
Doug Bonjour
Doug Bonjour joined Hockey Night in Boston in November 2022. He has covered high school and college sports in Connecticut for more than a decade, including stints as the UConn women’s basketball and UConn football beat reporter for Hearst Connecticut Media. During his time reporting on the 11-time national champion Huskies, he covered three NCAA Final Fours. He previously was a general assignment reporter for GameTimeCT and the Connecticut Post, and covered high school sports statewide, including boys hockey. Prior to that he was the managing/sports editor for the Westport News and Norwalk Citizen community weekly newspapers. He also has written for the Associated Press and New York Times. He graduated from Hofstra University in 2008 with a degree in print journalism.

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The CIAC Division II boys hockey final will be a battle of No. 1 vs No. 2. Well, sort of.

East Haven Co-op and Cheshire, the top two teams in the HNIB News Connecticut Division II Top 8 poll, punched their tickets to the championship game with shutout victories on Tuesday.

Let’s recap the action.

Miller, Cheshire Blank Amity

Cheshire is moving on to the CIAC Division II final after blanking Amity 3-0 Tuesday at Quinnipiac University’s M&T Bank Arena. Sophomore Ryan Miller stopped all 24 shots he faced, as the top-seeded Rams improved to 23-1-1.

That sets up a matchup with No. 15 East Haven Co-op, a 6-0 winner over No. 3 Woodstock Academy.

Biagio Pepe scored 52 seconds into the second period to break a scoreless tie, and with Miller in net, that was all Cheshire would need to shut the door. Evan Vasiljevs and Liam O’Dea tacked on empty-net goals in the final minutes of the third for good measure.

Jayson Gherlone finished with 32 saves for fifth-seeded Amity, which wrapped up its season at 19-5-1. Three of those losses were to Cheshire, including a 7-1 defeat in the SCC/SWC Division II final.

Cheshire — ranked second in the HNIB News Connecticut Division II Top 8 poll — is seeking its first state title since 2011, when it beat Guilford in the Division II final. The Rams also won in 2009, 2006 and 1978 and were state runner-ups in 1999, 1991, 1979 and 1977.

East Haven Co-op Rolls On

Lorenzo Defilio
East Haven Co-op

Earlier Tuesday, it was junior Lorenzo DeFilio’s hat trick that propelled East Haven Co-op to a rout of Woodstock Academy.

The Yellowjackets led 1-0 in the first on a goal by John D’Albero, then scored four more times in the second to blow it open. DeFilio had two of those goals.

Landon Cantele
East Haven Co-op

Landon Cantele (goal and three assists) and Preston Cantele (two assists) also factored prominently in the scoring.

East Haven — ranked No. 1 in the HNIB News Connecticut Division II Top 8 poll — technically improved to 22-1, though it is officially only 8-15. The Yellowjackets forfeited 14 games earlier this season after discovering they had used an ineligible player. Because of that, they nearly missed qualifying for the state playoffs despite their torrid start.

One of those wins was a 5-2 victory over Cheshire on Dec. 30 that was later wiped from the books.

East Haven last made the state finals in 2007, falling to Immaculate in Division II. It also made four straight trips in the 1990s, before finally winning Division II in 1998. At the time, its partnership with Sheehan did not exist; that began only this year.

Mike Fritz finished with 19 saves for East Haven, while Woodstock Academy’s Devin Mansolf stopped 24 shots.

Woodstock Academy, a first-year independent, concluded its season 12-11.

CIAC Division II Final

No. 1 Cheshire vs No. 15 East Haven Co-op, Monday, 7 p.m., Quinnipiac University

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