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Welcome to the New Haven Register high school sports blog where our talented staff of Chris Hunn, Joe Morelli, Dan Nowak and Mike Pucci will keep you up to date on everything to do with high school sports in Connecticut. Mike Pucci's Gridiron Glory blog for high school football remains. We hope you enjoy and feel free to join in the conversation.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Amity, St. Joseph advance to CIAC Division II championship

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In the CIAC Division II boys’ hockey tournament, as expected No. 1 Amity rolled over No. 13 Trumbull 9-3 at Ingallas Rink on Monday. But No. 11 Branford gave No. 2 St. Joseph a real scare as the Cadets needed OT to win 6-5
Forward Joe Bianchi had a hat trick and three assists to lead the Spartans to their one-sided win.
The Spartans took a 4-2 lead after the first period with Bianchi scoring two of his goals in the period. Bianchi scored a power-play goal 46 seconds into the second period to give the Spartans a 5-2 lead and Marcel Shteirman scored at 4:45 to pad the lead at 6-2.
"Joe really put on a show for us tonight," Amity coach Gary Lindgren said. "He’s a sophomore sensation on our first line with Corey Shea and Anthony Aprile."
Trumbull’s Cory Watson scored a power-play goal at 5:35 of the second period to cut the lead to 6-3. But that’s as close as it would get.
"I was pumped up," Bianchi said. "It was great to get six points but I just did what I always do. I just tried to score and help the team."
In the other semifinal game, behind three goals entering the third period, the Hornets rallied to send the game into overtime. But the exciting rally fell short as forward Kevin Riley scored at 7 minutes, 21 seconds of sudden death overtime to give No. 2 seed St. Joseph the 6-5 win.
With a scramble in front of Furbush, three Branford players and two St. Joseph players battled for the puck. The puck squirted loose for a second and Riley jammed it into the net for the score.
Riley scored the game-winning goal in OT in last season’s Division III championship win over Staples.
"That was awesome, one of the best goals I’ve ever scored," Riley said. "I just battled for the puck and jammed it in with my stick."
St. Joseph will face No. 1 seed Amity in the championship game on Friday at 7:30 p.m. at Ingalls Rink.
"At 3-0 it looked like a comfortable lead," St. Joseph coach Marty Crouse of West Haven said. "But their goalie was playing great and they came out flying in the third period."
Brian Kelly scored two first period goals and Christian Keator scored at 7:18 of the second period to give the Cadets (18-4-2) what appeared to be a commanding 3-0 lead heading into the third period.
But goalie Andrew Furbush’s hard work to keep the Hornets in the game paid off as they finally found some offense in the third period.
Branford’s Nick Blake scored a power-play goal 16 seconds into the period and Pat Murray scored at 1:16 to quickly cut the lead to 3-2. The Branford (10-10-3) crowd jumped to its feet when Austin Hackett tied the game at 3 at 5:25. But 14 seconds later St. Joseph answered when Pat Corcoran made it 4-3.
Branford tied it at 4 on a Blake goal at 7:03 but St. Joseph forward Connor Crouse of West Haven scored at 12:36 for a 5-4 lead.
The Hornets never quit and Bill Quinlan tied it at 5 with 1:51 left in the third period to send the game into OT.
Furbush ended up with 42 saves and St. Joseph goalie Zach Carrano made 28.
"I’m very proud of my players," Branford coach Adolph Brink said. "They proved they can play with anyone in the state."


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