Zach White sets mark, Indians win twice
It was a record-breaking, seven-day stretch for the Zach White and the Milford Indians’ hockey team this past week.
Fresh off of a hat trick in a 7-2 romp over North Branford, White netted four goals to propel the Milford Indians to a 7-4 triumph over host Guilford High at DiLungo Rink in East Haven on Jan. 16.
It was White’s fourth hat trick of the season, as the senior center upped his individual goal tally to 14 on the year.
“Zach White played another stellar game as usual,” Milford coach Sal Follo said. “We know who our go-to guys are, they put it together.
“I don’t think it was one of our better performances but coming off of a big win against North Branford... the kids just kept coming and coming.”
Senior defenseman Ben LaVallee added a pair of markers and two assists for Milford, which improved to 3-4-1 overall with the Division II win.
Freshman center Andrew Gobany chipped in with a goal for the Indians. Goaltender John DePalma made 19 saves to record the victory.
White went on to tie the record for the most career points scored for the Milford Indians with 169, when he scored both goals in a 2-0 victory over Watertown-Pomperaug, the defending South-West Conference champions, on Saturday at Milford Ice Pavilion.
White, assisted by Gobany and LaVallee, gave Milford a 1-0 lead at 13:28 of the second period. White then added his second tally, with LaVallee getting the assist, at 3:38 of the third.
Noah Ericson had 13 saves for Milford, which leveled its season record at 4-4-1.
Facing Guilford (1-5), which was looking first is first victory over a Connecticut-based opponent, Milford took control with a four-goal outburst in the second period.
Following a scoreless first period, White kicked off the scoring barrage with a breakaway goal just 16 seconds after intermission — with LaVallee picking up the assist.
Surging through the zone, the senior center deked left and lifted a back-hander past Guilford netminder Hunter Martins.
At 4:14, LaVallee doubled Milford’s lead by rattling a rebound off of the pipe and into the back of the net for a 2-0 edge.
Guilford cut its deficit in half with 6:33 left in the period, when junior forward Jack Petrick cashed in a rebound off of Brian Donohue’s shot on a four-on-four.
Feeding off of that momentum, Guilford forged a 2-2 deadlock with 4:48 left in the period.
Armed with a man-advantage following a roughing minor on Milford’s Will Vitelli (two assists), Evan Powell’s drive from the point trickled past DePalma to pull Guilford even.
It was a short-lived tie, as White corralled a rebound in the slot and wired in his second goal, the game-winner, with 2:55 left in the period.
White then collected a pass from Jarrod Butts and snapped a shot off of Martins’ glove to make it 4-2 Milford heading into the second intermission.
After Gobany made it 5-2 at 14:04 of the third period, with Tommy Sampson providing the assist, Guilford answered with a goal from Tyler Salkins 27 seconds later.
Any chance at a Guilford comeback bid was snuffed out when LaVallee netted his second marker at 3:53. The teams went back-and-forth, with neither set of Indians scoring, until the 3:04 mark.
Guilford, on the power play, replaced Martins with an extra skater. But, White found enough room to send the puck flying across the ice for an empty-net goal.
The victory was Milford’s second in a row following consecutive one-goal losses to Division II rivals Branford (4-3) and Amity (5-4).
“The kids are resilient,” Follo said. “They come back, they work hard. We don’t dwell on it, we look toward the future.”
Milford traveled to Bennett Rink last night to face Division I frontrunner West Haven (5-3-1). On Saturday, the Indians host Lyman Hall/Haddam-Killingworth (3-5) at the Milford Ice Pavilion at 2:15 p.m.