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Senior captain goalie Logan Hamilton and the East Haven co-op boys’ ice hockey squad defeated Cheshire by a 1-0 score in a home game on Jan. 29. Hamilton logged his second-consecutive shutout with a 32-save performance against the Rams. Also pictured are junior Cormac Kline (left) and junior assistant captain Rocco Plano (right). (File photo by Susan Lambert/The Courier | Buy This Photo)
Senior Joe Consiglio became a defensemen for the East Haven co-op ice hockey team five games into the season. Since then, the Yellowjackets have a record of 4-1. (File photo by Kelley Fryer/The Courier | Buy This Photo)
Junior center Cory Benni and the Yellowjackets improved their overall record to 5-5 with a win over Cheshire on Jan. 29. (File photo by Susan Lambert/The Courier | Buy This Photo)
Junior Cormac Kline and the East Haven co-op ice hockey team boosted their conference record to 2-1 by netting a victory versus the Cheshire Rams on Jan. 29. (File photo by Kelley Fryer/The Courier | Buy This Photo)
Freshman Dylan Ingram and the Yellowjackets stand at 5-5 on the campaign after skating to a 1-0 win against Cheshire at Patsy DiLungo Ice Rink last week. (File photo by Kelley Fryer/The Courier | Buy This Photo)
Sophomore Duncan Rider scored the go-ahead goal in the third period to help the East Haven co-op ice hockey squad earn a victory against Cheshire in recent action. (File photo by Kelley Fryer/The Courier | Buy This Photo)
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The East Haven co-op boys’ ice hockey team is beginning to hit its stride at the midway point of the season, and that was definitely evident when the Yellowjackets claimed 1-0 win over Cheshire last week. East Haven hosted Cheshire for an SCC/SWC Division II matchup on Jan. 29 and notched a 1-0 victory against the Rams at Patsy DiLungo Ice Rink. Head Coach Lou Pane’s squad is now 5-5 overall with a record of 2-1 in the division. As the Yellowjackets enter the second half of their campaign, they are building up steam toward earning berths in the SCC/SWC and Division II State tournaments.
Coach Pane feels pretty good about where his team is at coming off the victory over Cheshire. The Yellowjackets are finding their footing on the ice and starting to climb the standings.
“It was a big win for us because Cheshire was ranked, and it brought us to 500. Being at 500 now is something that we desired prior to that game. It’s a big accomplishment to get there, especially when we got off to the start that we did this year,” Pane said. “Beating Cheshire 1-0 and Milford 3-0 last week shows the boys have been working hard at practice and at games.”
Many of the Yellowjackets’ games this season have been close contests, and the win over Cheshire was another to put on the pile. East Haven and the Rams were locked in a scoreless tie through two periods. With 11:45 remaining in the game, sophomore Duncan Rider scored a goal on assists from junior Rocco Plano and sophomore Josh Berg to give the Yellowjackets a 1-0 lead. East Haven held Cheshire off the board the rest of the way and went on to get the victory.
Senior captain goalie Logan Hamilton made 32 saves between the pipes to get his second consecutive shutout for East Haven. Hamilton has come up big in the net for the Yellowjackets all year, according to Pane.
“Logan’s been consistent all season. He is one of the premier goalies in the state of Connecticut. We’ve played in plenty of one goal games, which could have gone either way,” said Pane. “There’s good chemistry there between Logan and the defense. The defensemen haven’t been giving the opponents second and third opportunities to get rebounds. We are confident that Logan can stop that first shot, but the defense has to limit those rebounds.”
Rider scored the all-important go ahead goal for the Yellowjackets in the third period, and he has been an effective scorer for East Haven this year. Rider uses his strength and savvy to get to the right spots to affect the game on the offensive end, and he did just that in the goal against the Rams.
“Duncan’s a forward who works really, really hard on both ends of the ice. He got his way to the front of the net and battled. He out-muscled the defensemen to redirect the puck and get the goal,” said Pane.
“I hear he’s a great lacrosse player also. He’s so motivated at practice, as well as at games to be the best. He has the desire, and that will always elevate him n matter what sport he chooses.”
Junior assistant captain Rocco Plano got the puck on net, which resulted in his assist to Rider. Plano has a solid shot, and that was what Rider was able to redirect in front of the net to score.
“Rocco’s a hard-working defenseman. He’s more of a defensive defensemen, but he has a decent shot from up top with a quick release,” said Pane “He has a knack for keeping the puck low so we can redirect it in the front or be able to play it for a rebound.”
Rider got the go ahead goal against the Rams, but more often than not this season, the goals have been coming from senior captain Alec Speirs, or junior assistant captain Dave Amatruda. Speirs leads the team in scoring and Amatruda is right behind him.
“Alec is our leading scorer this season, and he was also our leading scorer last year. I think he has God-given talent and has proven his offensive game with his scoring knack” Pane said. “Dave is just a pure scorer. They both shoot the puck well, and are tough guys to contain in the offensive zone.”
In addition to their solid play on the ice, Pane has been impressed with the leadership he’s seen from all of his captains.
“All four captains have a similarity in that they lead by example. They aren’t the most rah-rah guys so to speak,” said Pane. “Their hard work and dedication, leads and inspires the other players to work just as hard.”
With the Yellowjackets slowly climbing back up the standings, Pane believes that their recent success has some part in moving senior Joe Consiglio from forward to defenseman.
“In our first five games. Joe was a forward, and our record was 1-4. Then we transformed Joe into a defenseman, and he’s truly doing an outstanding job. We’ve been pairing him with Rocco, and our record is 4-1 with less than two goals against in those five games. We’ve become a much better team since he’s been there.”
Another quality defender for the Yellowjackets has been Michael Robert.
“Mike is logging a lot of ice time, and the credit goes out to him,” said Pane. “He’s been very physical on the defensive end and he breaks up a lot of plays.”
Pane has also seen success from two of his lines specifically in the team’s recent surge. One of those lines is Berg, junior center Cory Benni, and Rider, while the other consists of Speirs, Amatruda, and sophomore Parker Sprankle. Benni has contributed quite a bit for the Yellowjackets, especially recently.
“In the last two games, Cory has really elevated himself as a player. He’s been working harder, and it really shows,”Pane said. “He does a good job in the defensive and offensive zone. He’s a complete player.”
In the end, Coach Pane wants the Yellowjackets to achieve their objective of making the postseason tournaments, but regardless of what happens, Pane knows his team will keep grinding.
“We’re 2-1 in the conference. Only time will tell where we end up at the end of the year. One of our goals will be to make the SCC Tournament, and another is to qualify for the State Tournament,” said Coach Pane. “We’ll see where we go from there. We’re just going to keep on working hard every game during our practice and our games and hope for the best.”
From the Sidelines
The East Haven co-op boys’ ice hockey squad’s roster features senior captains Logan Hamilton (East Haven) and Alec Speirs (East Haven); seniors Joe Consiglio (East Haven) and Shane Hanson (East Haven); junior assistant captains Dave Amatruda (East Haven) and Rocco Plano (East Haven); juniors Cory Benni (Old Saybrook), Chad Feola (East Haven), Cormac Kline (Valley Regional), and Brandon Smith (East Haven); sophomores Josh Berg (East Hampton), Austin Halsey (Old Lyme), Matt Hynek (Morgan), Ethan Roach (East Haven), Duncan Rider (Valley Regional), Michael Robert (East Haven), Ryan Sheldon (East Haven), Parker Sprankle (Old Lyme), and Ryan Wyrebek-Brasky (Valley Regional); and freshmen JP Garea (East Haven), Dylan Ingram (Valley Regional), Guiseppe Monaco (East Haven), Matt Penn (East Hampton), Nicholas Ruggiero (East Hampton), AJ Schroeter (East Haven), Joey Vocatura (East Haven), and Tyler Weinzimmer (Morgan).
Lou Pane is in his 33rd season as head coach of the Yellowjackets. Assistant coach Butch DiLungo has been alongside Pane for 31 years. Pane’s other assistant coaches include former East Haven players Bill Demetriades and George Durso, as well as Ben Fronte.
For the remainder of the season, the Yellowjackets will play home games versus Woodstock Academy, Hall-Southington, Hand, Lyman Hall/Haddam-Killingworth/Coginchaug, and Guilford. East Haven also plays road contests against North Branford, Woodstock Academy, Branford, and Sheehan.
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