WATERTOWN - In what will be remembered as a tragic week for the game of hockey in Connecticut, teams from all over the state laced up their skates, made sure their protective gear was all in order, took the ice, then paused for a moment.
First it was the #SticksOutForTeddy campaign in on Twitter led first by numerous NHL players with Connecticut roots, one which spread nationally and worldwide in honor of 14-year old Teddy Balkind of St. Luke’s School in New Canaan, who died after being cut by a skate during a game against Brunswick School on January 6.
Then, every team paused for a moment of silence, knowing that it could be any one of them at any time, which is why the CIAC (and common sense) requires all players to have neck protection againsat the sword-sharp blades on the skates.
“Just an awful thing to happen,” said W-P coach Vic Vicenzi. “The CIAC are sticklers about players wearing neck protectors, and with good reason.”
Among the teams hitting the ice and saluting Balkind were the Watertown-Pomperaug and Immaculate High School teams when they met on January 8 at the Mays Rink.
Immaculate of the SCC-SWC Division I grouping, outscored the locals, 6-4, dropping them to 2-5-0 on the season with their fourth straight loss.
Things started off well for W-P, which took a 1-0 lead on a first period goal by Troy Gouveia, a lead they lengthened to 2-0 on Shane Repetto’s tally less than two minutes in.
Served notice, the Mustangs got back into things, but fast, scoring twice in 23 seconds to even things at 2-2 less than three minutes later.
The floodgates opened in the third period, with the locals taking back the lead on a goal by Colin Leach three minutes in.
IHS went ahead 4-3 on goals 45 seconds apart by Pat Heslin and Mal Thompson before Gouveia’s second of the night with 5:44 left set things up for a wild finish of a chippy game in which 12 minor penalties were assessed.
A wild finish it turned out to be, but in Immaculate’s favor, as Jovanni Smeriglio scored the game-winner with 51 seconds left, followed by an empty-netter 30 seconds later by Heslin.
It was a great exhibition of hockey, a night to savor for those who love the game in the midst of tragedy.
1 2 3 T
Immaculate 0 2 4 6
WHS-PHS 1 1 2 4
W-P began 2022 against Farmington Valley at the Avon Old Farms Jennings Rink on January 5, coming out on the short end of a 4-1 final score.
A three-goal third period by Farmington Valley snapped a 1-1 tie forged by W-P’s Aiden Moaddel’s goal four minutes into the second period.
Eamon McLaughlin scored twice for FV.
1 2 3 T
WHS-PHS 0 1 0 1
Farmington 1 0 3 4
STILL AHEAD/SUBJECT TO CHANGE: After a seven-day game, Lyman Hall H.S. of Madison comes to the Mays Rink on Saturday, January 15 followed by North Haven High School on Monday, January 17, with both games scheduled for 7:30 p.m. faceoffs...W-P faces Masul High School at Shelton’s Twin Rinks on Wednesday, January 19 at 8 p.m.