Blum’s late goal lifts Amity to a tie with Cheshire

WEST HAVEN — Amity boys hockey coach Mike “Scooter” Richetelli and Cheshire coach Anthony Giusto always expect close, hard-fought games when their teams face off.

Their SCC/SWC Division II matchup on Wednesday certainly met those expectations

Jamie Blum had two goals and an assist, including the game-tying goal with 1 minute, 41 seconds left in the third period, to lift Amity to a 4-4 tie in overtime with Cheshire at Bennett Rink. Blum scored off a rebound to tie the game at 4 as the teams went scoreless in the 8-minute OT.

Liam Killea added two goals and an assist for Cheshire and Nick Maringola had 36 saves. Jason Csejka had two goals for Amity and Mike Holloway had 27 saves.

“Every time we play Cheshire it’s always a solid effort by both teams,” Richetelli said. “The games are always great battles. We play similar teams in tough schedules. As a result, an example of how closely we match up they were 7-6 coming into this game and our team was 6-5.

“The objective of both teams is to play tough schedules to be able to play tough in these kind of games. We had a solid effort from everyone tonight in all three periods.”

In the first period, the Spartans outshot the Rams 12-8 but Cheshire came away with a 1-0 lead. Kyle Letourneau wristed a shot from the bottom of the right circle that glanced off goalie Mike Holloway and into the net for the 1-0 lead at 12:12

The Spartans came back strong in the second scoring three unanswered goals to take the lead.

Jason Csejka grabbed a loose puck near the Amity blue line and bolted down the right wing. He took a shot at the bottom of the circle for a power-play goal at 1:55 to tie the game at 1. Blum gave the Spartans their first lead, scoring off a wide open shot in front of the net for a 2-1 lead at 3:43.

Csejka scored his second goal of the game off a 2-on-1 breakaway down the right wing. He let another shot fly from the bottom of the right circle for the 3-1 Amity lead at 8:18.

The Rams took advantage of an Amity penalty late in the period to make it a one-goal game heading into the third period. James Ilnicki scored a power-play goal for the Rams to cut the Amity lead to 3-2 with 17 seconds left in the period.

In the third period, Killea scored two goals, one at 3:41 and another at 5:50, to give the Rams a 4-3 lead.

With time running out in the period, Blum found himself in the right place at the right time. Blum was in front of the net for a rebound and quickly wristed a shot past Maringola to tie the game at 4.

“Our defenseman took a quick shot from the point and I was right there for the rebound,” Blum said. “As soon as it went on my stick I put it in. This was one of the most important goals I scored this season because it was great for the team.”

Giusto called the matchup a game of momentum shifts.

“The whole game was a series of momentum shifts,” Giusto said. “ We scored three straight goals in the second period to take a 3-1 lead. Then they got the momentum right back when they scored with 17 seconds left to make it a one-goal game. It seems like all the games we play in our league are tough one-goal games.”