HOCKEY: Cheshire rallies past Amity in third period
NORTHFORD — The Amity hockey team had its opportunities to score against Cheshire Saturday night. Unfortunately for the Spartans, they never capitalized.
Failing to score on seven power-play opportunities and numerous odd-man rushes, the Spartans saw their third period lead slip away when Cheshire scored twice to defeat Amity 3-2 at the Northford Ice Pavilion.
“We are struggling,” Amity coach Gary Lindgren said after his team fell to 2-4. “We struggled to set up on the power play in the offensive zone.”
Leading 2-1 in the third period, Amity had an opportunity to extend the lead.
That, however, did not happen as Riley Hine was stopped on a partial breakaway by Cheshire goaltender Tyler Carbone’s pad save with 10 minutes, 47 seconds remaining in the third period.
Just 45 seconds later, the Rams tied the game.
Trace Lange’s initial shot was denied by Amity goaltender Nick Nuzzolo and two rebounds later, Tyler Violano knotted the game for the Rams.
“He was able to make the first save,” Lindgren said of Nuzzolo. “We could not clear the rebound. We had poor coverage in front of the net.”
Cheshire (4-4) continued the pressure and took the lead for good with 3:44 remaining. Spencer Hackett’s shot from the point was stopped by Nuzzolo but the rebound went to Ben Klanica, who beat Nuzzolo for the game-winning goal.
“We ran around in our own zone,” Lindgren said. “I thought Nick (Nuzzolo) played a fantastic game. Outside of the first goal where he lost his concentration, he was focused and played great.”
Cheshire controlled play early in the game and had a 1-0 lead until Joe Bianchi took over. The Amity senior scored twice in 8 seconds to give the Spartans a 2-1 lead.
Bianchi’s first goal evened the contest after Cheshire’s Lange scored an unassisted goal with 6:35 remaining in the opening period. Bianchi never stopped the puck as he redirected Alex Viera’s point shot past Carbone.
With the Amity faithful still on its feet, Bianchi was at it again.
Off the ensuing faceoff, Bianchi broke through the Rams’ defense and shot past Carbone for a 2-1 Amity lead with 5:22 left in the opening period.
Nuzzolo was forced to come up big in the opening period as he denied Klanica with a blocker save, then followed with a pad save off Hackett’s point shot. Nuzzolo’s best save came with 9:16 remaining in the period when he denied Violano from the slot area.
Cheshire’s lone goal of the period came when Nuzzolo could not hang on to Lange’s shot. Nuzzolo bobbled the puck before it fell behind him into the goal.
Both goaltenders had to come up big in the second period as each team had its share of odd-man rushes. Amity started the barrage of rushes when Adam Shea tried to feed an open Brett McNeill but could not connect.
The Spartans’ Eric Dykun fed a perfect pass to Matthew Seymour with 2:40 to go in the middle period but Seymour’s deflection was wide. Carbone came up with the biggest save of the period, denying Shea on a breakaway with 35 seconds remaining.
“We do not have a lot of offense,” Lindgren said. “We rely a lot on our first line. The second line is playing a lot better. We had some good chances but there are some areas we certainly need to keep working on.”
Nuzzolo also stopped a breakaway when he moved to his right to deny Alex Vendetto with 8:05 remaining in the second period. Nuzzolo then thwarted Violano when the Cheshire senior broke in alone with 5:16 left on the clock.