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Hamden Sports

February 25, 2008

Vining Takes Championship

Hamden Fathers' Basketball Association girls' scores for Feb. 23

By Keith Hodder

9- to 11-Year-Old Girls

Thomas Vining Construction, led by Kelly Butricks with 8 points, won the Tournament Championship with 20-12 victory over Hamden Town House. Thomas Vining, up 8-5 at the half, fell behind 9-8 as Town House opened the second half with a 6-0 run. Thomas Vining then outscored Town House 12-3 the rest of the way to win.

Also scoring for Thomas Vining was Hailey Trasacco with 6 points, Emily Battipaglia with 4 and Amara Larson with 2. Town House was led by Charleese Smith with 9 points and Domini’que Burgess added 3. 

12- to 14-Year-Old Girls

Kamila Carter hit two free throws with 1:22 left in the game and the Hamden Greenies held on to beat DiAdamo & Fitch Bail Bonds 15-13 in an exciting tiebreaker. With the win, Greenies earned the No. 3 seed and will advance to the Tournament Championship game. Also scoring for the Greenies was Sarah Shields with a game-high 9 points and Ashley Taylor with 3. Scoring for Fitch Bail Bonds was Brittany Needham with 5 points, Alysia Carrero with 4 and Lanesha Porter and Ashley Girola with 2 each. 

Porter scored a game-high 9 points to lead Fitch Bail Bonds to a 29-12 win over CSR Properties. With the win, DiAdamo and Fitch Bail Bonds earned the No. 4 seed and will advance to the Tournament Championship game against Hamden Greenies. Leading the way for Bail Bonds was Ashley Girola with 8 points, Shaquana King with 6 and Brittany Needham with 4. CSR was led by Alison Canelli with 7 points and Mariah Soto and Jahnitza Lopez with 2 each.

Hamden Girls’ Varsity Hockey

Hamden Girls' In League semi-finals

After splitting games the previous week with two FCIAC rivals, the Hamden Girls' Hockey team played host to West Haven last Saturday in a first round CCGHL tournament matchup.

Sophomore Chelsea Gelman started the scoring for the Lady Dragons at 6:40 of the first period with assists from seniors Britany Sweet and Laura Morgan. Less than three minutes later, Sweet scored from Morgan and Gelman as Hamden jumped to a two-goal first-period lead.

The Lady Dragons again carried the play in period two, but could only muster a goal by Captain Jessica Morgillo with an assist from sophomore Kayhla Violano.

The home team continued to dominate in the third period picking up three more goals. Freshman Karlyn Calamita scored unassisted, freshman defenseman Emily Orser scored with help from Calamita and sophomore Chelsea Callahan. Violano netted the final goal with two minutes left in the contest. Hamden outshot the Westies 34-15 with junior goalie Kaity Smith picking up the shutout.

Earlier in the week, Hamden traveled to Darien to play FCIAC powerhouse New Canaan, which is coming off back-to-back state championships. The Lady Dragons played one of their better games, and though outshot by the home team, managed to combine a brilliant goaltending performance from Smith, some solid physical play along the boards from defensemen and forwards alike, and a few fortuitous goals for a thrilling 3-2 victory.

Orser scored from Morgillo and Gelman to grab a first-period lead. Then freshman Shannon Callan found the net with help from Carolyn Williams. New Canaan fought back to tie the score, but Calamita netted the game winner for the Dragons.

The following Thursday Hamden again traveled to Darien, this time to face a Darien team that was small in numbers but large in heart. With the home team eliminated from their league playoffs, perhaps the visitors were a bit complacent. A back-and-forth first period ended with Gelman scoring unassisted on a rink-length rush.

The teams switched ends and play continued with Hamden looking for signs of fatigue in Darien. But if anything, they got stronger scoring the tying goal midway through the second period. The third period was a dog fight, but the home team managed to sneak a puck by Smith with two minutes left and held on for the hard-earned victory, leaving Hamden with a regular season record of 14-3-1.

The Lady Dragons face nemesis Hall/Conard this Tuesday at 8:30 p.m. at Yale’s Ingalls Rink in the CCGHL semi-finals. Hamden has a loss and a tie with their West Hartford rivals, so this has the makings of quite a contest.

February 22, 2008

Magnificent Tie

Matt Hickman shoots to tie the game.

Story and photos by Edward C. "Ned" Burt Jr.

Hamden High School played Mt. St. Charles of Rhode Island this week and fought to a 2-2 tie before 800 fans at Lou Astorino Rink. It was Senior Night at the rink and the storied out-of-state opponent was set to ruin the evening for the older statesmen of the Hamden squad. Mt. St. Charles, arguably the best team in New England after beating the top-ranked team in Massachusetts last week, came into town to play Connecticut’s top-ranked team, the Green Dragons.

The battle between these two titans -- each with multiple state championships and at least one national championship to its credit -- battled hard from start to finish. Scotty Walsh got a hard-charging goal for Hamden on a fine pass from Pat McGovern at the 10:27 mark of the first period.

Hamden was flying as Dan Wheeler, Mike Sanca, Tom Roche and Mike Colson were playing touch on defense in front of goalie Anthony Avitable. Avitable had an outstanding game for Hamden standing on his head a few times to keep the home team in the game.

Mike Berezecky, CJ Carignan and PJ Vakos were flying up front as the teams kept trading blows against each other. Both goalies were playing well and the fans were treated to high school hockey at its finest.

TJ Boyle and Matt Cavanaugh were solid on the penalty kills. Ron Esposito, Jimmy Burt and Pat O’Connor were playing well up front. And Scotty Teulings was having another fine game on defense. O’Connor got injured in the second period and was lost for the remainder of the game. The team hopes the hard-hitting forward will be back soon.

Scott Walsh deflection and score.

Sean O’Sullivan made a fast recovery from his injury and played a solid game as did Dave Findley, who couldn’t find enough opponents to hit. Findley did find the post, however, early in the game just missing a goal not two minutes into the contest.

The Green Dragons led 1-0 until Pete DeAngelo scored for Mt. St. Charles with only one minute and 24 seconds left in the second period. It was a highlight goal as the crafty winger came in alone on Avitable and scored a beauty to knot the game. Assists went to Jimmy Fuoroil and Shane Dunphy.

Mt. St. Charles came out cooking in the third period. The Rhode Island boys play with a quiet confidence that never wavers. They just keep pouring one line after another of smooth skating, fine passing and a strong defense anchored by goalie Jason SanAntonio, who had an outstanding game.

“That is one of the best high school teams I have seen in a long time,” commented Ed Brachocki, a former Long Island high school hockey legend. “And the Hamden team matched them stride for stride and shift for shift. What a great high school hockey game.”

To be sure, the host team has had a remarkable run of games this year highlighted by its last-second win over Conard just two weeks ago. Wednesday night would be no different in the drama department, if not in the win column.

The visitors went up 2-1 with only a little over 10 minutes to play. Evan Hoffman, the hardworking forward, got the puck down low and beat Avitable for the lead. An assist went to Fuoroli. You could hear the air go out of the Hamden balloon a bit. Here they were on senior night battling the best team in New England at home and a late goal had the visitors pumped and flying hard towards the Hamden net.

One Hamden senior will never forget this night, playing his last regular-season home game after a sterling career. Matt Hickman, the human wrecking machine, was about to score the highlight goal of his fine career. Hickman came out high in the defensive zone to block a shot from the point shortly after the Mounties had taken the lead.

Captain Ron Esposito with mom and dad after Senior Night Game.

The shot spanked into Hickman’s shin pads and ricocheted off the opposite boards just past the red line. The race was on and the speedy, quick Hickman beat the right defenseman to the puck, carried it down through the circle to the right of the goalie with the defenseman draped on his back, and let go with a world-class clutch shot that brought the hometown fans out of their seats before the puck hit the back of the twine for the tying goal.

Only 18 seconds after the Mounties goal, Hamden got back a life that never faltered. If Hickman’s goal was out-of-this world pretty, Avitable’s saves over the final minutes of the game and into overtime were just simply out of this world. The junior net minder made a threesome of saves -- with only four minutes to play -- that defied logic.

He made a left pad save at the 10:57 mark, a glove save at 11:02 and another sliding pad save at the 11:43 mark. Hamden then found itself down a man and Avitable simply took over the show. Pad save, blocker save, blocker save, pad save. The kid made more saves than Goose Gossage had throughout his entire career. And one final pad save with only 35 seconds left in regulation followed by a Mike Pierne block with 15 seconds to go to send the game to overtime.

Hamden had several chances in overtime led by the brilliant play of Pierne and a point blank shot from the slot by MacGregor that just toppled over the crossbar and onto the back of the net that had fans out of their seats thinking the puck had dropped in the net for a game-winning goal. Avitable came up big time and time again in overtime and the two titans of high school hockey shook hands after the game each knowing the other had just participated in one of the great high school hockey games of the year.

February 20, 2008

2 Fine Wins

Pat McGovern almost scores another goal.

Story and photos by Edward C. "Ned" Burt Jr.

Hamden vs South Windsor

South Windsor High School came flying into the Lou Astorino Rink rated No. 1 in the state last Saturday. The Bobcats were 15-0 and wanted to bring their A game against mighty Hamden, ranked No. 2 at the time. The Bobcats were terribly disappointed as the Hamden team, led by Matt Hickman, Sean O’Sullivan and Ron Esposito, started hitting the upstate boys as they were getting off their bus.

The place was packed to the rafters as fans bought every ticket in sight days before the big game. The South Windsor fans -- 550 in all -- rose to their feet in unison cheering on their team. It may have been their last happy moment.

Pat MacGregor, playing the rangy defenseman, was all over the ice. Counterpart Mike Sanca started delivering heavy blows as if George Foreman was knocking Joe Frazier around the ring. It was a dominating game from start to finish for the Green Dragons.

Anthony Avitable made a nice save four minutes into the game. He made another on a shorthanded opportunity for the visitors. TJ Boyle, Pat McGovern, Matt Cavanaugh and Jimmy Burt did a great job on the penalty kills. At the 7:38 mark, smooth-skating freshman CJ Carignan put the puck in the net to give Hamden a lead it would never relinquish. Hickman and Mike Pierne had assists on the goal.

Captain Esposito then put in a backhander off a rebound on a Pat O’Connor shot that put the team up 2-0. Burt also picked up an assist on the goal. Shortly into the second period the crafty McGovern made it 3-0, the first of three power-play goals in a row for Hamden. Pierne and MacGregor had assists on this one.

Jimmy Burt is robbed by West Haven goalie.

Then Hickman scored on a fine pass from MacGregor to make it 4-0. Avitable, the goalie, was also credited with an assist on the goal. McGovern ended the period scoring another power-play goal with assists to Captain Scott Teulings and Tom Roche. It was 5-0 after the second period and Hamden was out-shooting the Bobcats 27-11.

Hamden was hit with an injury to outstanding sophomore PJ Vakos in the second. Scotty Walsh came on strong for the Hamden team as the junior provided spark to a team that was already running on all cylinders At the 6:38 mark of the third period, hard-skating Mike Berezecky scored a fine goal to put the home team up 6-0. Dave Findley and Cavanaugh had assists on the play.

Adam Devine had some strong shifts on offense as Steven Sorrentino, Dan Wheeler and John Teulings played strong on defense.

South Windsor ruined Avitable’s shutout with only seven minutes to go, but the home team played strong the entire game to earn the 6-1 victory.

Hamden vs West Haven

Hamden topped off their week with another hard-fought victory against surprising West Haven. The Blue Devils have one of the best goalies in the state in Mike Cellini. The big, agile competitor kept the game close a month ago and did the same last Saturday. Hamden’s dogged effort pulled out a 3-1 win for the home team.

It was the type of game that showed the Green Dragons grit as Cellini made one stop after another. It started early as Esposito found hard-skating freshman Burt with a fine pass and Cellini robbed the youngster of pay dirt with a fine-glove, double-stacked-pad save only minutes into the game.

Cellini was matched by his counterpart Avitable in the Hamden net who came up big time and time again for the Green Dragon squad. Avitable has been playing at a different level since the team lost to East Haven earlier in the year.

Vakos showed his grit was back, coming off an injury, to play a solid game for the Green Dragons. Cavanaugh and Boyle had fine games upfront for Hamden as did Esposito and Berezecky.

Mike Pierne shoots.

Pierne, an all-around fine player, had an outstanding game for Hamden. He pushed the puck forward several times and created opportunities for his teammates and himself. Walsh had another hardworking game for the Hamden squad as the talented junior picked up the first goal of the game on a great play by McGovern.

McGovern took the puck up the left side, cruised by three players and lifted a backhander that went off Walsh, off Cellini’s foot and into the goal for a 1-0 lead in the second period. McGovern had the lone assist. Pierne then scored for Hamden to make it 2-0. Assists went to Hickman and Scott Teulings.

Hamden made it 3-0 on a nice rebound goal by Findley. The hard-hitting junior corralled a rebound off a shot by Boyle, took his time and lifted it over Cellini’s body to make it 3-0 Hamden. Walsh also picked up an assist on the play.

Hamden found itself down two men on late penalties and the Blue Devils converted. It was the second game in a row that Avitable lost a shutout with minutes to play.

Hamden suffered a big blow as one of the finest, unheralded defensemen in the state, Sean O’Sullivan, suffered an injury in the second period. Sullivan, a smart, smooth-skating senior who always makes the right play, is day to day and the Green Dragons certainly hope to have this stalwart back liner back soon.

Hamden won 3-1 and is now heading into Wednesday’s showdown at the Lou Astorino Rink with Rhode Island Powerhouse Mt. St. Charles. Both teams are now ranked No. 1 in their respective states. It should be a battle of titans.

February 18, 2008

McDonald’s, Partyka Go to Champ Game

Hamden Fathers’ Basketball Association girls' scores for Feb. 16

By Keith Hodder

9- to 11-Year-Old Girls

NewAlliance Bank advanced to the town championship game with a 15-3 victory over Hamden Town House. NewAlliance, which has won four out of their last five games after starting the season with a 1-4 record, was led by Allie Brennan with 4 points, Danielle Wendland with 3 and Cheyanne Mittelholzer with 2. Hamden Town was led by Jessica Lassiter with 2 points.

JD Environmental survived a scare to remain undefeated and earn a spot in the town championship game with an exciting 11-10 win over Thomas Vining Construction. Janelle Cooper, who had a game-high 7 points, hit a jumper with 2:00 left in the game to put JD ahead. Amani Richardson added 4 for JD. Veneise Mendez and Kelly Butricks led Thomas Vining with 4 points each.

12- to 14-Year-Old Girls

McDonald’s, led by Morgan Rams with 10 points, Gabriella DeSisto and Zoe Fanolis each with 8, beat CSR Properties 30-17. CSR was led by Ezra Massey with 12 points, Alison Canelli 3 and Sara Winnick with 2.

Partyka Chevrolet, led by Nicole Anderson with 20 points, defeated Hamden Greenies 27-21. Kendrea Threatt added 5 points for Partyka. Sarah Shields led the way for Greenies with 6 points while Ashley Wendland added 5 and Kamila Carter 4.

McDonald’s and Partyka will meet in the town championship game.

Final Standings, 12- to 14-Year-Olds






Partyka Chevrolet








Hamden Greenies




DiAdamo & Fitch Bail Bonds




CSR Properties




JD Ends Season Perfectly

Hamden Fathers’ Basketball Association girls' scores for Feb. 9

By Keith Hodder

9- to 11-Year-Old Girls

NewAlliance Bank defeated Thomas Vining Construction 9-4 to earn the No. 2 seed in the upcoming league tournament. Leading the way for NewAlliance was Danielle Wendland with 4 points and Adriana Broderick with 1. Veneise Mendez and Kelly Butricks each scored 2 for Thomas Vining Construction.

JD Environmental completed an undefeated season with a 14-7 win over Hamden Town House. With their perfect 9-0 record, JD earned the No. 1 seed in the league tournament. JD was led by Janelle Cooper with 6 points and Amani Richardson with 4. Hamden Town was led by Charleese Smith with 5 and Abby McVerry with 2.

Final Standing 9-11 Girls






JD Environmental




NewAlliance Bank




Hamden Town House




Thomas Vining Construction



12- to 14-Year-Old Girls

Morgan Rams with 15 points and Gabriella DeSisto with12 led McDonald’s to a 37-26 victory over Hamden Greenies. The win put McDonald’s in a first-place tie with idled Partyka Chevrolet at 6-1, with a week left in the season. Scoring their first points of the year for McDonald’s was Kiara Kountze with 4 and Grace Kiley with 2. Leading the way for Greenies was Ashley Wendland with 9 points while Sarah Shields and Ashley Taylor each scored 5 and Taylor Campano had 4.

Dutch Shultz Scores

By Janet Dorr

Taxes Done the Right Way audited Ken's Car Wash (49-45) last Sunday in the "Dutch Shultz" 15- to 17-year-old Hamden Basketball League. Taxes was led by Mike Longley (14), Jon Colburn (9) and Nicholas Diagirolamo and Michael James each with 8 points.

Ken's was paced by Reggie Ulmer (20), Terrance Horton (9) and Trevor Biggs (6). 

The tide turned when Charles Abatement defeated Cherry Hill Wine & Spirits (58-57). Charles balanced scoring was led by Trent Jackson (10) and William Griffin and Douglas Mills with 9 points apiece. Cherry Hill was paced by Dell Young (10) and Ben Plotke and Ales Felix with 9 each.

McCleandon's Law Practice closed its case defeating Wings Over Hamden (46-43). McClendon's was led by Cedric Perkins (14), Myles Morrison (9), and "Yes, I can make free throws" Niko Mikolike (8). Wings was warped by the outstanding scoring of Robert Kimble (23) and Chris Haith (16).

Star Pizza outbaked Abcon Environmental (52-39). Star's balanced scoring was led by Malachi Daniels (16) and Courtney Morton, Maurice Jefferson and TJ Ford each with 8 points. Abcon Environmental was paced by Jesse Antlghia (14), Kriss Williams (6) and Anthony Pagaladay and Tyler Johns each with 4 points.

Spring Glen Paint and Power Wash splashed Willow Woods (55-32).  Spring Glen's balanced scoring was led by Jafar Mohmaded (14), Ocie Rivers (12) and James Dudley (10). Willow Woods was paced by Scotti Huckaby and Joshua Panaja each with (10) and Bill Mosher (8).

Country Wide Bank overdrafted production splurged past Ken's Car Wash (47-25). Country Wide was led by Danuel Drayton (15), Vincent Dixon (10) and Jason Somuel (8). Ken's was paced by Reggie Ulmer (12) and Terrance Horton (8). 

The law office of B, S & W poured it on in the last quarter to defeat Country Wide (53-24). B, S & W was led by the outstanding scoring of Abdar Akandar (26), Quinn Smith (9) and Jamarine Matheney (8). Country Wide was paced by Danuel Drayton (12) and Vincent Dixon and AaronPerry with 7 points apiece.

B, S & W continued their winning ways by defeating Taxes the Right Way (57-36). B, S & W was led by About Akandar (16), Quinn Smith (13) and Jamarine Matheney (8). Taxes was paced by Jon Colburn and Mike Longley each with (9) and Michael James and Dashaun Rayan each with (6).

February 12, 2008

Charles Abatement Takes Wings After Tough Struggle

By Janet Dorr

Willow Woods cut down Abcon Environmental (56-46) last Sunday in the "Dutch Shultz" 15- 17-year-old Hamden Boys’ Basketball League. Willow’s first win was led by Scotti Huckaby (21), Ismal Abraham (14) and Joshua Pantaja (7). Abcon was paced by Jesse Antgalia (14), Dave Hill and Kris Williams, each with 6 points.

Star Pizza sliced McClendon’s Law Practice (54-47). Star was led by Malachi Daniels (14), Bryan Hamilton (10) and Alton Fregurson (6). McClendon's was paced by Myles Morrison (20), Cedric Perkins (10) and Vincent Stelle (5).

Cherry Hill Wine and Spirits grounded Wings Over Hamden (56-47) in overtime. Cherry Hill balance scoring was led by Dell Young (14), Alex Felix and Rich Lonnon, each with 12 points. Wings was paced by Chris Haith (17) and Brandon Zanders (14).

Cherry Hill continued their winning ways defeating Taxes the Right Way (56-47). Cherry Hill was led by Dell Young (21), Ben Plotke and Alex Felix with 9 points apiece. Taxes was paced by Ben McClain (17), Jon Colburn (10) and Mike Longley (8).

The Law Office of B, S & W overruled Abcon Environmental (46-38). B, S & W's consistent scoring was led by Abdar Akandar (14), Quinn Smith (12) and Jamari Matheney (9). Abcon was paced by Jesse Antgahia (15) and Kris Williams (9).

Country Wide Bank foreclosed on Willow Woods (61-23). Country Wide was led by the outstanding scoring of Ed Aponte (24), Danuel Drayton (11) and Chris Steward and Jalon Samuel, each with 7 points. Willow was paced by Scotti Huckaby (8) and Ishmal Abraham (7).

Spring Glen poured it on in the fourth quarter to defeat Taxes the Right Way (58-46). Spring Glen's balanced scoring was led by Marquis Grey (15), James Dudley (14) and Brandon Jennings (11). Taxes was paced by Ben McClain (12), Jon Colburn (9) and Tyler McKay (8).

In a battle down to the wire, Charles Abatement Services defeated Wings Over Hamden (51-49). Charles Abatement was led by Jared Jenkins (16), Trent Jackson and William Griffin with 8 points apiece. Wings was paced by Chris Haith (18), Robert Kimble (15) and Tyler Wright (9).

Ken’s Car Wash cleaned Spring Glen (42-34). Ken's was led by Fathmin Hopkins (15) and Trevor Biggs (14). Spring Glen was paced by Brandon Jennings (12), Jafar Mohmaded (10) and Ocie Rivers (7).

Standings                         W     L
Cherry Hill                                    7       0
Law Firm of B, S & W                 6       1
Charles Abatement                       5       1 
Ken’s Car Wash                           5       1
Spring Glen                                   4       4
Country Wide                               4       1
Star Pizza                                      3       4
Wings Over Hamden                     3       5
McClendon's Law                         2       5
Abcon Environmental                    2       6
Willow Woods                              1       7

February 8, 2008

Hamden Girls Tie Very Tough Challenge

Girls look to score.

Story and photos by Edward C. "Ned" Burt Jr.

An incredible night was had by the spectators fortunate enough to be present at the Lou Astorino Rink Tuesday. Over 800 in attendance saw the boys’ team celebrate the greatest last-second win in Hamden history. Pat MacGregor scored with two-10ths of a second remaining to cap a three-goal, third-period comeback win over state powerhouse Conard of West Hartford. (Click here for related story.)

The boys’ game was almost matched by the girls’ varsity squad, which also played against a West Hartford squad.

Girls look frustrated after another save by the opposition.

The Hamden females battled to a 3-3 tie on goals by LeeAnn Esposito, Jessica Morgillo and Chelsea Gelman. Assists went to Esposito, Morgillo and Karlyn Calamita. The game was delayed at the start which wound up as a bonus because the crowd swelled with the boys’ game immediately after it.

By the time the horn sounded ending regulation, all knotted up there were close to 800 people filling the rink’s stands. They were in for an overtime delight.

West Hartford goalie Rosie Gluck would finish the night making 62 saves on 65 shots. The Hamden offense put together an astonishing 21 shots alone in overtime. The girls peppered the net time and time again only to have Gluck turn away one potential game winner after another.

Girls come this close to victory in OT.

After watching the eight minutes of overtime, spectator Jim MacGregor said: “I had my hand raised in triumph at least 10 times on shots that I thought would go in. That girl [Gluck] was unbelievable.”

It was a spoiler for the home team but a game to remember by all the players and fans. The team just kept pounding away and the effort will pay dividends as the season enters its last month for the girls’ powerful squad.

Hamden Boys Deliver Unbelievable Comeback

 Green Dragons celebrate their last-second win.

Story and photos by Edward C. "Ned" Burt Jr.

An event occurred at Lou Astorino Rink Tuesday evening that only those in attendance could truly appreciate. It wasn’t hockey. It was a fine production of drama, the likes of which Hamden High School athletics has never seen before in its storied history.

The Hamden High Girls’ Varsity Hockey Team’s game against West Hartford started late. By the time the game was over, more than 800 fans had packed the Mix Avenue facility to the rafters anticipating the boys’ game against interstate powerhouse Conard of West Hartford. As Hamden spectator Paul Scott said, “We should do this more often.”

The girls’ game was an incredible display put on by the Hamden offense getting 21 shots in the eight-minute overtime alone. The girls had an unheard of 65 shots in total in this thrilling 3-3 tie. West Hartford goalie Rosie Gluck made 62 saves on the evening. (Click here for related story.)

No one who caught the end of this game -- with one magical save after another by Gluck -- realized it would be a prelude to the most incredible finish in Hamden High boys’ hockey history.

The appetizer game was stupendous. The main course game is almost indescribable.

Pat Macgregor's game winner at 1.5 seconds.

Conard started the game with a defensive trap strategy that had the Hamden kids searching for a way to break out offensively. The game seesawed back and forth with Hamden forwards Matt Hickman, CJ Carignan and Michael Pierne supplying pressure up front. Tom Roche, Dan Wheeler, Mike Sanca, Mike Colson and Sean O’Sullivan were holding up the defensive side of the ice.

Matt Cavanaugh, Mike Berezecky and Pat McGovern were applying a solid fore-check as were Ron Esposito, Pat O’Connor and Jimmy Burt. Still, with nine minutes to play in the first period, the game was knotted 0-0.

This was all about to change as Esposito made a fine play down low to bump a defender off the puck. The senior captain hit forward Pat “Gramps” O’Connor, who rifled a shot on net that freshman Burt batted out of the air for his first varsity goal. Esposito and O’Connor had assists on the play and Hamden was up 1-0 with 8:51 remaining in the period.

TJ Boyle, Dave Findley and PJ Vakos were flying all over the ice. Captain Scott Teulings was playing his typical fine, smart game on defense and O’Sullivan and Roche were having particularly fine games on the blue line as were Wheeler, Colson and Sanca.

Hamden goalie Anthony Avitable made three successive saves with five minutes to go to keep Hamden on top 1-0 as the period ended. The Conard team came out firing in the second and scored two quick goals on fine shots by Sam Holt and Lukas Autenried. Assists went to Will Collins and John Stanton, and the visitors took a 2-1 lead going into the third period.

O’Sullivan then blocked a breakaway pass in center ice. Roche made a huge hit in the corner and Avitable made a few saves, which that kept Hamden in the game. West Hartford converted on a power play to make it 3-1, right after Pat McGovern just missed on two great shorthanded attempts. West Hartford’s goal was scored by Brett Ehnot with assists going to Holt and Autenried.

A Jimmy Burt goal.

The hometown crowd grew quiet. The Green Dragons were down in their home building. The game clock was against them. Conard was playing well. The team needed to find some magic. And find it they did.

There were just over eight minutes to play and the Hamden squad needed something special to happen. A power play goal by hard-hitting senior Hickman gave the team life with assists to Pat MacGregor and McGovern. Hamden was down 3-2 and the Irish eyes were about to shine on the “never say die” Green Dragons.

O’Connor’s line came storming out after the Hickman goal. Burt followed with a dump deep in the offensive zone and banged a defender off the puck. He got the puck to McGovern with the home team scrambling to tie the game as only 90 ticks remained on the clock. The crafty McGovern maneuvered his way to the front of the net and let go with a wrist shot that dropped in the crease.

O’Connor and Burt were camped out front looking for a rebound. Gramps O’Connor came through using his long stretch to knock the puck into the net while being knocked to the ice by two defensemen. Hamden had tied the game at three apiece. McGovern and Burt had assists on the play.

The crowd was brought to frenzy by O’Connor’s goal. The team erupted. The fans were screaming and rocking. The best was yet to come.

Hamden stormed the net over the last minute of the period. Carignan, Pierne and Hickman all had chances. Then with five seemingly harmless seconds left, MacGregor carried the puck into center ice. The fine-skating junior let go with a wrist shot with only three seconds left in the game from outside the blue line. The puck hit a defenseman’s leg and deflected past the Conard goalie with two-10ths of a second left on the game clock.

MacGregor’s goal ignited a bench-clearing celebration as all the Hamden players stormed the ice. The fans looked at one another in disbelief. The Conard squad, which fought bravely all game long, stood stunned at the last-second heroics of MacGregor and the Hamden Green Dragon squad. This comeback win, coupled with the stirring comeback win against Simsbury last week, bodes well for this team as they march towards the end of the season and the state playoffs.

“I have seen many games in this building. Did I really see what I just saw?” mused Scott, in a sentiment heard throughout the building after those two terrific finishes. The teams made Hamden proud; fans were treated to a special night; and the Lou Astorino Rink served as the venue for more wonderful memories.

February 5, 2008

3 Up, 1 Down

Matt Hickman's goal versus Simsbury.

Story and photos by Edward C. "Ned" Burt Jr.

Hamden had a hectic two weeks of games going 3-1 over that stretch. The games included a thumping of North Haven 4-0, a hard-fought win over Notre Dame West Haven 4-3, a loss to Fairfield Prep 4-1 and a 4-2 win against Simsbury.

Against North Haven

The Green Dragons jumped on North Haven early. Scotty Walsh scored on a fine hustle play early in the first period to put Hamden up 1-2. His goal was followed by a slap-shot goal by Scott Teulings from the blue line, and two power play goals by Pat MacGregor and Mike Pierne.

The game was delayed in the second period while the entire North Haven stands were cleared by police after a couple of knuckleheads ruined it for the home team by throwing coins on the ice. Mike Henrici, North Haven’s captain, had a solid game in defeat.

MacGregor, TJ Boyle and Dave Findley had assists in the North Haven game while Teulings and Matt Hickman had two each. Adam Devine and John Teulings also had a solid game for Hamden.

Against NDWH

Hamden then played arch rival NDWH at the Lou Astorino Rink. The teams played hard and the fans were rocking. Coach Bill Gerosa’s squad looked strong and Hamden coach Bill Veneris’ boys were equally as rugged.

Hamden's Mike Berezecky shoots in the NDWH game.

Both Anthony Avitable in the Hamden net and the NDWH goalie were turning shots away when hard-skating Mike Berezecky took a fine pass from Matt Cavanaugh to put Hamden up 1-0 with a little more than five minutes left in the opening stanza. Boyle had freed up the puck with a huge hit in, getting it to Cavanaugh just before his pass to Berezecky.

Berezecky’s goal got the crowd pumped and his teammates jacked as Hickman scored with only 1:34 left in the first to put Hamden up 2-0. Twenty seconds later, Pat McGovern made it 3-0 Hamden on a one-timer on a fine pass from Walsh.

Notre Dame would not go away. The Green Knights fought back but with Hamden holding off the Knights, Hamden escaped with a 4-3 victory. Avitable made a great save late in the third period on a breakaway. Mike Pierne scored the game winner for Hamden.

Assists were also garnered by MacGregor, Teulings, PJ Vakos, Ron Esposito and Hickman.

Anthony Avitable makes a save.

The Hamden defense -- led by Tom Roche, Dan Wheeler, Mike Colson, Mike Sanca and Sean O’Sullivan -- had a solid game for the Green Dragons.

Against Fairfield Prep

Hamden then traveled to Bridgeport to play Fairfield Prep and came away with a disappointing 4-1 loss. It was only the third loss for the Hamden squad this year. Hickman scored the team’s lone goal with Teulings and MacGregor picking up assists.

Against Simsbury

Hamden rebounded mightily against Simsbury showing a resolve that should serve the team as it gets closer to the state tournament.

The team jumped out quickly as one line after the other was dumping the puck in deep and banging the Simsbury defense. Teulings once again got Hamden on the board as the fine-skating defenseman rifled one in from the point. Cavanaugh and Hickman picked up assists on the play.

Pierne then scored on a hardworking goal to put Hamden up 2-0. The fleet-footed junior hooked up with CJ Carignan and Findley to keep the puck low and finally bat one home for the Green Dragons. Simsbury, though, would not go away and after being outplayed in the first period, visitors poured it on in the second period but were unable to score.

The third period found the home team lose their footing momentarily and the score was tied 2-2 with less than 11 minutes to play. Hickman then scored a beauty assisted by Findley and MacGregor on the power play. The hard-hitting forward got the puck low, came out by the right circle and lifted a wrist shot over the visitor’s goalie for a 3-2 lead.

McGovern and Pat O’Connor kept Simsbury bottled up deep in their zone for over a minute, keeping them from getting their goalie off the ice until only 40 seconds remained in the game. Captain Ron Esposito sealed it for Hamden with an empty net goal for a 4-2 win.

Steven Sorrentino and Jimmy Burt also played well for Hamden.

Hamden plays Conard tomorrow and powerful South Windsor on Saturday. Both games are at home. Tickets will not be sold at the door for Saturday’s game. The public can obtain them at Hamden High School after noon this Wednesday.

Ercolano, Splash Clean up Season With All Wins

Hamden Fathers' Basketball Results for Jan. 19

By Benny Mikula

In 11- to 12-year old basketball action, Partyka Chevrolet got 4 points from Romell Lanier in double overtime, and advanced to the town championship game with a 36-31 victory over Axman Chiropractic. Christian Wingate scored 10 second-half points and Joe Tommaselli added 7. Lanier finished with 6 points for the game. Nate Bailey led Axman with 18 points and Drew Catalano added 5 in the tough loss.

Ercolano Cleaning defeated Sorrento's Pizza 35-18 to finish the regular season undefeated. Robert Grisset poured in 19 points and Robert Brown added 10 for the cleaners. Zach Morgillo and Ahmed Hasaan scored 6 each for Sorrento's.

Ercolano will face Partyka for the town championship.

WW Tolson topped Mr. Trophy 23-11 to end the regular season. Robert Brock scored 14 points and Bryce Barnes added 9 for Tolson. Mr. Trophy was led by Keishawn McFarlane with 6 and Kyrell Dennison with 3.

In the 9- to 10-year-old league, Splash Car Wash held off RWA 22-20 in overtime, to finish the regular season undefeated and secure a spot in the town championship game. T.J. Walters had a big day with 16 points, Jaden Rodriguez with 4 and Luis Alston with 2 helped Splash to victory. RWA was led by Brad Wetmore with 8, Chis Guidone with 6 and Tyler Brown Ortiz with 2 .

Disorbo's Bakery pasted Batter's Box to earn a spot in the town championship game versus Splash. Will Jackson with 21 points and Lonnie Newman with 5 led the way for the bakers. Xavier Ward tallied 8 points and Matthew Spence 4 for the Batter's.

And PBA defeated Eli's Pizza for their second win of the season, led by Dillon Bailey with 6 points and Lenar Young with 4. Tyquest Ploughman added 2 for PBA. D.J. Foulin scored 4 points and Abdul Gebril 1 for Eli's Pizza.

Charles Abatement Wins 2 in a Day

By Janet Dorr

Ken's Car Wash suds Wings Over Hamen in overtime (38-37) this past Sunday in the "Dutch Shultz" 15- to 17-year-old Hamden boys' league.  Ken's was led by Fathmin Hopkins (12), Daniel Shultz (9) and Trevor Biggs and Reggie Ulmer, both with (6). Wings  was paced by Tyrone Boykin (11), Robert Kimble (9) and Richard Shultz Jr (6).

Cherry Hill Wine and Spirits closed their case defeating the Law Firm of B, S & W (47-43) in overtime. Cherry Hill was led by Dell Young (16), Alex Felis (8), Rich Lonnon and Anthony Carrington both with (7). B, S & W's balanced scoring was paced by Chaz Elbes (10), Quinn Smith (10) and Abdar Akandar (8).

In Cherry Hills' second game of the day, they continued their winning ways against Spring Glen Paint & Power Wash (47-47). Cherry Hill was powered by Alex Felix (24) and Anthony Carrington (10). Spring Glen was paced by James Dudley (17), Brandon Jennings (12) and Marquis Grey and Jafar Mohmaded with (8) each.

B, S & W overruled McClendon's Law Practice (59-36). Both Naryan Lockett and Isiah DeRose added (6) to seal the deal for B, S & W. McClendon's was paced by Myles Morrison (16) and Cedrick "Gunner" Perkins (12).

Country Wide Bank adjusted their tactics to outlast Abcon Environmental (58-50). Country Wide's balanced scoring was led by Danuel Drayton (16), Ed "Madden" Aponte (14) and Vincent Dixon (9). Abcon was paced by the balanced scoring of Joe Rodriguez, Aaron Hebron, Dave Hill and Jeramaine, each with (8).

Spring Glen pressured thought the last quarter, defeating McClendon's Law Practice (56-36). Spring Glen was paced by Brandon Jennings (11), Jafar Mohmeded (11) and James Dudley (9). McClendon's was paced by Niko Mikolike (7), Danny Kovner (4) and Larry Young (3).

Charles Abatement Services outlasted Star Pizza (49-46). Charles Abatement was powered by Jared Jenkins (20) and Trent Atkinson (11).   Star's balanced scoring was led by Maurice Jefferson (14), Malachi Daniels (12) and Alvin Fergunson (11).

Charles Abatement won their second game of the day against Taxes the Right Way (58-36). Charles was led by Mario Ferendaez (11), William Griffin (13) and Tyrel Atkinson (7). Taxes was paced by Michael James (15), Tyler McKay (9) and Jon Colburn (6).   

Star Pizza hung in there, defeating Willow Woods (39-29). Star was led by Bryan Hamilton (11) and Anthony Carrintion (10). Willow was powered by Joshuai Pantaja (11) and Scotti Hukaby (9).

February 4, 2008

JD Untouchable

Hamden Fathers’ Basketball Association girls' scores for Feb. 2

By Keith Hodder

9- to 11-Year-Old Girls

NewAlliance Bank was victorious over Hamden Town House in a close back-and-forth game to win 11-10. Leading the way for NewAlliance was Breana Parker and Danielle Wendland with 4 points each and Ryeene Carpenter with 2. Abby Maverry led the way for Town House with 4 points while Domini’que Burgess, Charleese Smith and Yumna Elsankary each added 2.

Amani Richardson scored a game-high 18 points to lead undefeated JD Environmental over Thomas Vining Construction 22-13. Janelle Cooper added 4 points for JD. Vining Construction was led by Veneise Mendez with 7 points while Kelly Butricks scored 3 and Emily Battipaglia added 2.

12- to 14-Year-Old Girls

Morgan Rams scored 14 points to lead McDonald’s to a 26-22 victory over DiAdamo & Fitch Bail Bonds. Alivia Wilson chipped in 6 points for McDonald’s and Avery Owers added 4. Fitch Bail was led by Brittany Needham with 8 points while Lanesha Porter scored 6 and Shaquana King 4.

Partyka Chevrolet got scoring contributions from five players and defeated CSR Properties 39-14. Scoring for Partyka was Nicole Anderson 11 points, Kendrea Threatt 9, Shayna Mills 8, Camilla Garcia Millan 7, and Kara Waznis with 4. CSR was led by Ezra Massey with 7 points and Mariah Soto with 5.


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