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The third time was the charm for the Cheshire High School ice hockey team last night at Yale University’s Ingalls Rink. After going 0-1-1 against Southern Connecticut Conference rival Guilford, the Rams finally bested them and were rewarded with a Division II title.
Cheshire (second seed; 16-6-2) scored three unanswered goals to rally past the top-seeded Indians (20-4-1), 3-1. Junior wing Tyler Violano scored twice. Guilford out-shot the Rams 20-18, but junior goalkeeper Tyler Carbone made 18 saves. He yielded a goal in each of the three tournament games.
“It feels great. This is what we worked all season for,” stated Carbone.
“There are no words. I‘m going to sleep on this state (championship),” said Matt Dupont, the senior captain with Ryan Powers. “Guilford is a really good team. We played out hearts out and took the victory.”
Guilford killed a first-period power play and converted one of their own. Guilford senior Stephen Petrick followed a shot (1-0) from sophomore Ryan Moore with 43.4 seconds remaining.
Cheshire bounced back with two goals in the second period, taking their first lead against Guilford this season. It took three minutes and 58 seconds for Violano to rebound a shot from classmate John Cunningham. Freshman Matt Muzyka, who also assisted the tying goal, netted the game-winner with 4.4 seconds left. Junior Will Devine and sophomore Owen Powers assisted on this rebound.
“We knew the goalie was weak down low, so we wanted to get the shots off there,” explained Muzyka.
“It was a matter of the kids getting confidence,” reflected Cheshire Head Coach Jim Riccitelli. “As the season progressed, they started to believe.”
The third period was highlighted by a defensive save by sophomore defenseman Tom Dupont. After accidentally pushing Carbone down, he leapt across the goal mouth to deflect a shot five minutes into the frame.
"It is awesome. There is nothing better," said Tom Dupont, of contributing to his older's brother final crown. "I wanted this for him."
After Guilford pulled sophomore goalkeeper Luc Amatruda (15 saves), Violano buried the insurance goal on an open net with 27 seconds left.
“It was amazing, especially being here,” added Violano.
Matt Dupont and Ryan Powers graduate with two D-II titles. CHS has won four state crowns overall.
“It’s always good to win a state championship. I can’t think of a better ending to my last game,” stated Ryan Powers.
Find a detailed account in Thursday’s issue of The Cheshire Herald. Tom Dupont, Muzyka, Jake Nesdale, Cunningham, Matt Dupont, and Trace Lange are pictured above celeberating with the D-II plaque. Photos taken by Allen Paul/Cheshire Herald.