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Sophomore Dave Amatruda netted a pair of goals to help the East Haven-Old Lyme-Old Saybrook-East Hampton-Morgan-Valley Regional ice hockey squad advance to the first round of the Division II State Tournament with a 2-1 win over Trumbull in qualifying round action on March 1. (Photo by Kelley Fryer/The Courier | Buy This Photo)
Junior goalie Logan Hamilton turned aside 47 shots to lift the Yellowjackets to a 2-1 victory versus Trumbull in the qualifying round of the Division II State Tournament at The Rinks at Shelton. (Photo by Kelley Fryer/The Courier | Buy This Photo)
Senior Chris Giglietti and the Easties advanced to first-round showdown versus No. 1 seed Watertown-Pomperaug after defeating Trumbull in their qualifying round game of states last week. (Photo by Kelley Fryer/The Courier | Buy This Photo)
Morgan sophomore Ryan Egan had an assist when the East Haven-Old Lyme-Old Saybrook-East Hampton-Morgan-Valley Regional ice hockey squad posted a 2-1 win against Trumbull in the Division II State Tournament qualifying round at The Rinks at Shelton. (Photo by Kelley Fryer/Harbor News | Buy This Photo)
Old Saybrook sophomore Cory Benni helped the East Haven-Old Lyme-Old Saybrook-East Hampton-Morgan-Valley Regional ice hockey team beat Trumbull in states by assisting on two goals scored by East Haven senior Chris Giglietti. (Photo by Kelley Fryer/Harbor News | Buy This Photo)
Valley Regional senior Ricky Persico and East Haven-Old Lyme-Old Saybrook-East Hampton-Morgan-Valley Regional ice hockey team edged out Trumbull by a 2-1 final in the qualifying round of the Division II State Tournament on March 1. (Photo by Kelley Fryer/The Courier | Buy This Photo)
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The East Haven-Old Lyme-Old Saybrook-East Hampton-Morgan-Valley Regional (EH-OL-OS-EH-M-VR) co-op ice hockey team faced off against Trumbull in the qualifying round of the Division II State Tournament last week. Despite having just 12 active players for the game, the 17th-seeded Yellowjackets upended No. 16 seed Trumbull by a 2-1 score at The Rinks at Shelton on March 1. EH-OL-OS-EH-M-VR improved to 9-10-2 and advanced to a first-round matchup versus top-seeded Watertown-Pomperaug on Tuesday, March 5.
“We had 12 players in there for the game and only played 10 guys as we played two forward lines, rotated three defensemen, and had our goalie,” Head Coach Lou Pane said. “The big key for us is we had a whole week to prepare for them. I was able to review one of their games and scout them a bit. Because of that, we went with a more conservative forecheck to take away a lot of their opportunities and keep them to the outside.”
While the Yellowjackets worked to contain Trumbull’s offense, the Eagles were still able to get 48 shots on goal. However, East Haven limited Trumbull’s odd-man rushes, and junior goalie Logan Hamilton stood tall by making 47 saves to notch the victory.
“Logan had another outstanding game. We knew with Logan in net and, if this system would work, we’d come up with a 1-0 or 2-1 final, and that’s exactly what happened,” said Pane. “The key was we didn’t give up any 3-on-2 chances, which is big for us because, when we were beat 4-1 by Lyman Hall, we gave up five of those in the first period alone.”
Both of the Yellowjackets’ goals came off the stick of East Haven sophomore Dave Amatruda. A forward, Amatruda made the most of his bump up in the lineup following an injury to leading scorer, Old Lyme junior Alec Speirs. Against Trumbull, Amatruda suited up alongside Old Saybrook sophomore Cory Benni and Valley Regional senior Ricky Persico.
“Dave was on a line with Cory and Ricky, and he had five golden opportunities to score,” Pane said. “The first one was off a rebound, and Dave put it home, while the second, he came down the right side, cut into the middle, and beat the goalie clean.”
Persico and East Haven senior Chris Giglietti had the assists on Amatruda’s first goal. Morgan sophomore Ryan Egan and Benni assisted on his second goal. Amatruda netted both goals during the second period.
In addition to Speirs, the Yellowjackets were without sophomore Chad Feola and fellow East Haven student, freshman Michael Robert, for their states game versus Trumbull. Coach Pane was impressed with what his club accomplished while taking ice minus several players.
“This is one game that will stick out in my head, because I admire what our guys did with a very limited squad. I think it’s the first time I went into a game with that little personnel,” Coach Pane said. “It’s amazing because, I told the guys at the beginning of the season that the will to win will overcome anything, and we proved that tonight. We left the building in shock.”
EH-OL-OS-EH-M-VR is playing No. 1 seed Watertown-Pomperaug (16-4-2) in the first round of the Division II State Tournament on Tuesday, March 5 at 7:30 p.m. at Mays Rinks at the Taft School in Watertown. If the Easties win that game, they will take on the winner of No. 8 seed E.O Smith and No. 9 Wethersfield-Middletown-Plainville-Rocky Hill in the quarterfinals on Friday, March 8. The semifinals are on Tuesday, March 12 at Ingalls Rink, and the Division II final will be played at that same site at 7 p.m. on Monday, March 18.
From the Sidelines
The East Haven-Old Lyme-Old Saybrook-East Hampton-Morgan-Valley Regional ice hockey team’s postseason roster consists of seniors Chris Giglietti (East Haven), Jonathan Moscato (East Haven), and Ricky Persico (Valley Regional); juniors Logan Hamilton (East Haven), Shane Hanson (East Haven), and Alec Speirs (Old Lyme); sophomores Rocco Plano (East Haven), Chad Feola (East Haven), Dave Amatruda (East Haven), Brandon Smith (East Haven), Cory Benni (Old Saybrook), Ryan Egan (Morgan), and Andrew Persico (Valley Regional); and freshmen Michael Robert (East Haven) and Ryan Sheldon (East Haven).
Yellowjackets’ Head Coach Lou Pane is assisted by Butch DiLungo, Ben Fronte, and Bill Demetriades. Jason Pierce is the team’s statistician.
During the regular season, the Yellowjackets posted victories against New Milford (3-2), Woodstock Academy (3-0), Staples (3-0), Sheehan (3-2), Westhill-Stamford (7-4), Milford (4-3), North Branford (2-0), and Hall-Southington (1-0). They also earned ties versus North Haven (2-2) and Woodstock Academy (3-3).
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