Connetquot-Sayville knocked off previously unbeaten Smithtown, 5-3, Monday night at The Rinx, creating a tie for first place in the Suffolk High School Hockey League. Both teams are 15-1.
"This is huge for us," Connetquot-Sayville forward Bryan Arroyo said. "This ties us for first and breaks up their winning streak, so it's big."
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Connetquot-Sayville extended its winning streak to 12.
Each team held a lead in the first period, and the score was tied at 2 early in the second before Connetquot-Sayville went ahead for good.
With 9:55 left in the period, defenseman Gino Leocadi controlled the puck at center ice and carried it deep, circling behind the Smithtown net. After leaving the puck for his teammates to set up the attack, Leocadi was the beneficiary of a long rebound that he buried in the back of the net, giving Connetquot-Sayville a 3-2 lead.
"We had guys going hard to the net and I was just there right place right time for the rebound," Leocadi said. "I just wanted to get the puck deep and look to get some traffic in front of the net."
The T-Birds then relied on their league-best defense, which gives up an average of only 1.53 goals a game, to seal the win.
Forward Brian Fenster had two goals for the T-Birds, opening the scoring less than three minutes into the game and scoring the eventual winner that put Connetquot-Sayville ahead 4-2. PJ Dimartino and Corey Valada also scored for the T-Birds.
For Smithtown, Dominic Iandoli and Michael Gioia had first-period goals. Daniel Nelson added a late third-period goal with Smithtown trailing 5-2.
Connetquot-Sayville coach Bruce Kollmar has kept his team alert this season by frequently mixing up the lines and asking players to play different roles. Because of early-season injuries, Kollmar said the team skates only five defensemen, making the forwards' play on the back end and the defensemen's ability to stay fresh and active in the offensive zone crucial.