In a rivalry battle on Wednesday, Cheshire High School ice hockey extended their late-season surge at the Northford Ice Pavilion. In the Southern Connecticut Conference/South West Conference Division II semifinals, the Rams (fifth seed, 5-5) built a 3-0 lead and then held off a comeback bid to win 4-3 over top-seeded Lyman Hall (10-3).
Since falling 5-1 to the Trojans on March 6, the Rams have reeled off five straight victories. In contrast to the first meeting when LH netted four power-play goals and took a 5-0 advantage, Cheshire never trailed in the rematch and killed off all four LH power plays.
With 3:29 remaining in the first period, the Rams jumped ahead on a goal by sophomore Will Gaudet. Junior Damon Zurolo and senior captain Niklas Vasiljevs picked up assists.
CHS extended their lead to 3-0 in the second. With 11:19 left in the frame, freshman Evan Vasiljevs scored the second goal from senior assistant captain Aidan Gaudet.
Cheshire picked up the third goal with 8:39 remaining in the second. Following passes from senior assistant captain Thor Novicelli and Evan Vasiljevs, Aidan Gaudet put the puck in the back of the net.
With their backs against the wall, the Trojans battled back in the third period. In the span of a minute and one second, junior Dylan Gay and senior tri-captain Ryan Brockett netted consecutive goals to cut the deficit to 3-2.
LH had seized momentum, but they were penalized for tripping with 8:58 left. CHS capitalized on the power play, as Novicelli scored the eventual game-winner (4-2) from Niklas Vasiljevs.
Gay stepped up to net his second goal with 2:50 remaining and pull the Trojans to within a goal again. LH pulled senior goalkeeper Brendan Reddington (18 saves) at the end, but the Rams withstood the pressure to pick up the win and earn a split of the season series.
LH outshot CHS 26-22 (12-2 in the third period), however junior goalkeeper Amaan Chaudhry made 23 saves for the Rams. For the Trojans, senior Kevin Stoddard, sophomore Peyton Durant, junior Daniel Pettit, senior tri-captain Tommy Ralston, and junior Zach Pettit had assists in the third period.
On Saturday, Cheshire will play North Haven (third seed, 6-2) for the SCC title at West Haven’s Bennett Rink. The final starts at 4 p.m.
Back on Feb. 15 at Northford, NH earned a 3-2 win over the Rams.
Thursday’s varsity schedule:
For the SCC finals, CHS will end the year with their virtual swim meet at the Cheshire Community Pool. Start time is 6 p.m.