WALLINGFORD — Propelled by Andry Guy’s three-point performance, the Sheehan Titans took down the Westhill-Stamford Co-op in 5-2 fashion Wednesday night in a Division II non-conference hockey game at Choate’s Remsen Arena.
The senior left winger had a hand on the first goal of the game before scoring two of his own in the second period. Guy’s first score tied the game at 2-all before he gave the Titans the lead for good.
At 9-1, the Titans now sit at No. 1 in the CIAC Division II playoff points.
“It was amazing,” Guy said before crediting his teammates for an all-around effort.
“He just had one of the best games of his career,” Sheehan coach Dave Festa said. “He was moving his feet the whole day, just getting shots on net. His hard work was paying off.”
While the Titans try to find their true team identity, Coach Festa continues to mix his lines in search of the right mesh of players. On Wednesday night, Guy got the start alongside Lorenzo DeFilio and Landon Cantele.
It was a slow and, at times, sloppy opening 14 minutes and 17 seconds. Then, on Sheehan’s second power play, Guy found freshman Max Festa with 43 seconds left in the period. The high-scoring rookie lifted the puck over the netminder’s right shoulder for the ice-breaking goal.
The 1-0 advantage would last just 13 seconds, however. Westhill-Stamford stormed down the ice and before Festa’s score could even be announced and Jordan Grabine evened the game at one.
The Westhill-Stamford burst wasn’t over. Just 11 seconds later, the Titans were down 2-1 heading into the locker room via a score off the stick of Owen Van Dusen.
“We needed to reset,” Coach Festa said. “We didn’t play our best game in the first period and going down two goals was kind of a wakeup call for us.”
Festa implored his players to get back to basics and play their style of hockey, and Guy took charge coming out of the first intermission. Two minutes and 45 seconds into the period, Guy tied the game with some help from Cantele.
Two minutes later, Guy was skating alone with just the goalie in his way. In a flash, the puck hit the net and the Titans reclaimed their original lead.
What was Guy thinking in that one-on-one moment?
“I’m just hoping I hit the net,” the senior said.
After that point, the offense ebbed while the defense flowed. Westhill/Stamford racked up eight total penalties and was on the wrong side of 5-on-3 play on two occasions.
The first ran for 1:19, yet the visitors stood strong without yielding a score.
It happened again at the end of the second period, when a pair of simultaneous penalties left Westhill-Stamford down two men for a full two minutes. The co-op survived the final 52 seconds of the second period, but things changed after the intermission.
“They were closing the gaps a lot,” Coach Festa said of the Co-op’s penalty kill. “They just disrupted the play. We just couldn’t get a clean shot on net. Once we got inside and were able to get the goalie moving, we were able to capitalize on the power play.”
With seven seconds remaining on the two-man advantage, Sheehan senior captain Anthony Defilio found the back of the net from up close.
Four minutes later, on another power play, this one just a 5-on-4, defenseman Billy Totz slid one in from the blue line to seal the 5-2 victory.
“We battled through,” Guy said.
Though their 9-1 record and No. 1 ranking in Division II might indicate otherwise, the Titans are still “piecing it together a bit,” in the words of Coach Festa.
The Titans are going to have to do so fairly quickly. They face a gauntlet of SCC/SWC Division II games now through mid-February: Guilford on Saturday, then Amity, North Haven and Hand.
The rematch with Lyman Hall looms on Feb. 19. The rival Trojans are the lone team to beat Sheehan so far.
“We’re halfway through the season now,” Coach Festa said. “There are some things that are working and we want to build on those successes and then really kind of focus on where we need to.”