The No. 1 seed E.O. Smith/Tolland hockey team brought the season to an end on Thursday night for Staples/Weston/Shelton, the No. 8 seed, by shutting out the Wreckers, 5-0, in a CIAC Division III quarter-final round contest played at West Haven’s Bennett Rink.
The Bucks, who will meet Shepaug/Litchfield/Nonnewaug in a DIII semifinal round game on Tuesday night at Yale University’s Ingalls Rink, scored two goals within a 2:11 span in the first period and senior goalie Matt Schoen blocked 22 Wreckers’ shots to earn his second consecutive tournament shutout.
First-line right wing Peter Mayer scored the first of his three unassisted goals at 6:35 and Stavros Evirpidou added a score at 7:55, followed by a goal from Nick Mayer, at 8:46.
Peter Mayer added goals in the second and third periods as the Bucks brought their over-all won-lost record to 20-2. Smith/Tolland reached last year’s final before losing to Newtown, 2-1, in overtime.
The 12-10 Wreckers got only five shots on goal in both the first and third periods, but they managed 12 in the middle period and missed on several good scoring opportunities.
“Maturity definitely played a big role in tonight’s game,” said SWS head coach Todd Sharinn. “They have nine seniors and we don’t have any. But I must say this, and I usually don’t, Lady Luck wasn’t on our side tonight. We had pucks take more crazy bounces and when their goalie left the shots out in front of the net, we couldn’t capitalize.
“But, overall, this has been a wonderful season for a young team. I also thought we were a little too anxious in getting to the puck at times when someone should have been posting themselves up in front of their net to either disrupt their defense or look for those loose pucks.”
Smith/Tolland took 27 shots on goal as Wreckers’ freshman goalie Zack Bloom made 22 saves.
SWS reached the quarter-final round by defeating No. 9 seed Barlow of Redding, 4-3, last Monday night.