A night of firsts leads Spartans to shutout victory
Cody Ballou's first scholastic hat trick, Adam Soltis' first scholastic goal and a first shutout shared by Alec Mansfield and Mike Santini were the highlights of Amity's otherwise rather ho-hum 9-0 Southern Connecticut Conference victory over Shelton-New Haven last week.
With Amity coming in with a 9-4-1 record overall and 9-1-1 against in-state opponents and Shelton holding a meager 3-9 record, most people expected a real mismatch. It was exactly what they got.
Due to Amity's very aggressive fore checking, it took the Gaels several minutes before they could even clear the puck out of their own defensive zone.
Meanwhile Ballou, who was camped in the slot, took a pass from Marcel Sheirman and slapped it by Shelton goalie Todd Aaron Batterson 2 minutes, 23 seconds into the game. It took the Spartans only 30 seconds to add their second goal. Brian Kownacki gathered in the rebound of a shot off the stick of Jeff Montini and quickly flipped it into the net.
By the time the first period was over, Amity had blasted 21 shots at Batterson and added three more goals. Montini (off a feed from Andew Gambardella scored at 7:56). Steve Cappiello added a power play goal from the high slot at 11:46 and Steirman netted an unassisted goal at 14:41.
With that big lead, Amity coach Gary Lindgren sent his first line (Kownacki, Montini, and Andrew Goldwitz) to the locker room and gave it the rest of the afternoon off.
Second period goals from Jeremy Proto (from Jesse Hint at 7:06) and Ballou (unassisted at 8:12) extended the Spartans' lead to 7-0. They closed out the scoring with Soltis tipping in Adam Sacramone's one timer from the right point at 3:45 and Ballou scraped the puck out of a crowd in front of netminder Jeff Preli and slipped home a power play goal at 13:19.
Alec Mansfield started in goal for Amity. After making three saves, he was replaced by Santini midway into the first period. He stayed in the net for the remainder of the game and recorded 12 saves. Amity outshot Shelton-New Haven 41-15.
"I didn't use my first line after the first period and didn't use my second line after the second period," Lindgren said. "That allowed me to give the third, fourth, and fifth lines a lot of ice time. I tried to spread it out and give everybody plenty of chances to play.
"I was glad to see Alex and Mike get their shutout. Everybody wanted Cody to get his hat trick. No matter who was playing, I told them to move the puck into open spots and not get into bad habits of doing things they know they shouldn't be doing. We played together, took a lot of shots, and came away with a win."
Even though Shelton-New Haven was totally outplayed from start-to-finish, Lindgren praised them for never giving up.
"Shelton kept working no matter what the score was," Lindgren said. "I know it was a frustrating game for them, but to their credit, they never got chippy when we got out to a big lead. They showed good sportsmanship and self control."
NOTES: Kownacki leads the team in scoring. He now has 19 goals, 10 assists, and 29 points. Montini has eight goals, 10 assists, and 28 points.