Boys hockey: Milford Indians look to turn corner

The early stages of January were obviously tough on anyone who had to spent time outside.

Way below freezing temperatures and near-hurricane like winds, had everyone on edge.

It wasn't that much better inside, either.

Just ask members of the Milford co-op boys hockey team and head coach Sal Follo.

Four consecutive losses, including blow-out defeats against Cheshire (9-3) and North Branford (7-1), had left the Indians winless through the first 19 days of the month.

Then, along came Saturday afternoon and Milford's non-divisional game against Wilton.

The Indians got off the snide with what senior forward Santiago Palacio described as the team’s best third period of the season and came away with a 5-3 win at the Milford Ice Pavilion.

Up 2-1 despite being outshot 23-14, entering the third period, Palacio, a senior captain, broke down the right side, creating a two-on-one situation before beating Wilton goalie Logan Motyka with a high wrist shot.

Palacio placed the puck over Motyka's left shoulder and into the far side of the net.

The goal fired up Palacio's teammates, who, after giving up a score that cut the lead to 3-2, got goals from Rich Carino and Brett Pesani (his second of the game) to put the game out of reach.

"We've been weak in the third period all season long," said Palacio. "I was hoping to create a big moment and I think I did. Right before I scored that goal (his second), they broke up a two-on-one. I was upset about that."

Follo, in the process of completing his 24th year at Milford, called it a much-needed win.

"We we're stressing to the kids all week long about how much we needed this win," Follo said. "After being blow out by both Cheshire and North Branford, we needed this. It was a good effort. I thought both the penalty kill was good and so was our power play. We controlled the puck on the power play and kept our feet moving on the penalty kill. It showed that hard work will get you places."

Palacio got his first goal at 2:10 of the first period when he took a pass out of the corner from Dylan Ouellette and drilled a shot past Moytka. Jason Lavallee also earned an assist on the play.

After the score, both teams played down a man on three occasions  due to penalties. Pisani scored just 36 seconds into the second period on a power play that carried over from the first.

Milford kept battling, playing the Warriors even in shots (10-10) for the session.

Then came the wild third period. The Warriors challenged, winding up outshooting the Indians 36-23.

Milford freshman goalie Derek Ouellette finished the game with 33 saves. Motyka had 17.

"That kid (Ouellette) did everything but stand on his head out there,"  said Wilton coach John Miserendino. "Still, this was a great game for us. We got a little beat up last night in our game with Greenwich (a 12-2 loss) which left us down a skater. We have 16 on the roster. Sometimes you play well like we did today and you don't win. Our kids know that. We're just trying to keep going forward." The loss left Wilton with a 3-3 record.

Roundup: Cheshire defeated the Milford, 9-3, at Wesleyan University. Jason Lavallee and Matt Gilebbi had goals in the first period, which ended in a 2-2 toe. Cheshire scored five unanswered goals in the second stanza. Ryan Ahearn scored a Milford goal in the third period. Brett Pisani and Derek Ouellette had assists for the Indians.