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Hamlett shutout leads Connetquot-Sayville to SCHSHL title
For Connetquot-Sayville, the third time was the charm.
Having finished second in the Suffolk County High School Hockey League in each of the last two seasons, the T-Birds finally came through in the championship series and earned a league title, shutting out Smithtown-Hauppauge at the Rinx in Hauppauge, 3-0, on Wednesday to sweep the best-of-three series.
“For three years we’ve been right there. We finished second to Long Beach in my first year and last year we were second to Smithtown and we really felt we could come back and take them," Connetquot-Sayville coach Bruce Kollmar said. "The boys were ready and prime and we worked all year to get there. It felt spectacular."
After running away with a 5-2 victory in Game 1 on Monday, Connetquot-Sayville had to battle in Game 2 to clinch the championship.
The game was scoreless after the first period, then Gino Leocadi put the T-Birds on the board in the second period. Leocadi came down from the point into the slot area on a power play and fired a shot into the back of the net to make it 1-0.
Later, Brandon Gennarelli, who scored twice in Game 1, scored on a scramble in front of the Bulls' net to make it 2-0, and near the end of the game Leocadi banked in an empty-netter off the boards to seal the title.
Connetquot-Sayville netminder Christian Hamlett was named series MVP.
"Hamlett made at least four crucial saves that would have been goals and most goalies wouldn’t have touched, not to mention the rest of the saves he made," Kollmar said. "He was outstanding."
Connetquot-Sayville's championship only adds to the rivalry, as the two teams have now gone up against each other in the last two championship series, with each earning a league title.
"The Smithtown team, I know many of them from over the years also, they’re a good bunch of kids and I have nothing bad to say about them," Kollmar said. "It’s a great rivalry."