Everything Clicking For Glastonbury Hockey
A high-flying offense might have been their strength all season, but when Glastonbury head coach Ken Barse noted his team was playing its best hockey of the year, it was the defense he mentioned first.
“We’re playing together as one cohesive core,” he said. “The gap between the defenders and forwards has closed. ... We held Simsbury to 13 shots [in the state playoff opener, a 7-0 win]. That’s impressive.”
While Glastonbury is playing better in its own zone lately, the offense has been there all season for the Tomahawks, who won their second straight CCC North title with a 6-0 win over Simsbury on March 3.
Ethan Holdaway and Drew Mozzer skate on Glastonbury’s top line and have more than 20 goals each this season.
“They’ve brought it up a level, especially the last part of this season,” Barse said. “It’s fun to watch them play.”
But when Simsbury blanketed the duo in the first round of the Division I tournament on March 7, other scorers stepped up, led by Avery Clair and Aaron Mandell.
“We really need a balanced attack,” Barse said. “We can’t be one dimensional in the playoffs.”
South Windsor Stumbles Into Playoffs
An unfamiliar stretch had a familiar ending for the South Windsor ice hockey team.
An injury-riddled Bobcats team finished the regular season with just three wins in their last 10 games, but still made the state playoffs for the eighth straight year.
South Windsor (11-9) lost five one-goal games over that stretch. The Bobcats picked it up toward the end of the regular season, winning two of their last three games despite a rash of injuries over the season’s final weeks.
“We didn’t have a full roster for nine of the last 10 games,” Bobcats head coach Neil Rodman said.
All-State forward Joey Bonazelli was out for three weeks with a serious injury, while several key players were sidelined with mononucleosis. Throw in matchups against some of the state’s top teams, and its easy to explain the Bobcats' struggles.
“It was a difficult stretch but we’re seeing the results of going through it now,” Rodman said. The 10th-seeded Bobcats defeated No. 7 Xavier on March 7 in the opening round of the Division I playoffs.
Bonazelli (seven goals, 17 assists) isn’t putting up the goal-scoring numbers he did last year, but he’s become adept at finding others on the ice, including linemate David Ouellette (14 goals). Chris Gionfriddo (10 goals) and Nolan O’Connor (nine goals, 10 assists) give South Windsor balance throughout the lineup.
“We’ve seen a lot of guys become playmakers,” Rodman said. “Joey is the ultimate setup man.”
Tri-Town finished 6-13-1 and did not make it past the qualifying round the first time since 2004-05, when it lost to Rockville. The Terrocats were 4-2-1 before a six-game losing streak put a damper on their playoff hopes. The Tolland-E.O. Smith-Windham co-op finished 6-13 and missed the state tournament for the second year in a row.
Fermi-Enfield Reaches State Tournament
Fermi-Enfield head coach Frank Genovese met his goal of getting to the postseason. Now he’d just like a longer stay.
“We wanted to give the seniors the experience of playing in a state tournament game,” he said. “Obviously it didn’t turn out the way we wanted but it way a very good game.”
The No. 18 Falcons (9-12) lost to 15th-seeded Cheshire in the qualifying round on March 5. Fermi-Enfield was down 2-0, but goals by Avery Boissy and Adam Macsata drew them even and sent the game to overtime, where Cheshire won, 3-2.
Still, it’s step forward for the first year co-op, as Fermi and Enfield both finished 6-13-1 and missed the playoffs last year.
“It definitely helps the guys coming back,” Genovese said of the state tournament experience.
The Falcons are losing nine seniors from this year’s team: Macsata, Cam Korona, Brendan Lemire, Evan Boissy, Nick Varner, Brenton Buchholz, Ryan Sayers, Jim Sayers and Jake Burnham.
Fermi-Enfield may look different on the ice next year, but the returning players will know what to expect entering the second year of the co-op.
“I was impressed with the way the kids really responded to each other,” Genovese said. “They were two bitter rivals and it could have gone the other way but I think the kids really started to get comfortable with each other and once they did that things definitely started to look up.”
United Hockey building towards future
It’s only Stafford’s second year as a part of the Manchester/Rockville co-op, but expect it to be an integral part of the team down the road. Stafford has six incoming freshman for this fall, and there’s likely to be more to follow them, said Michelle Sellew, who helped set up the co-op while looking for a team for her oldest son John, to play on.
The team finished 8-11 after a 3-7 start and was the No. 8 seed in the Division III state tournament, the second year in a row it has made the playoffs. It beat No. 9 Southington-Hall before falling to top-seeded Newington-Berlin 5-4 in overtime Thursday.
"The coaching staff could not be more proud of how hard this small group of kids worked just to be able to compete against the larger programs," head coach Christian Stevenson said. "Just taking the No. 1 team to overtime was quite an accomplishment for our team."