The Shelton High boys soccer team exploded for three goals in the span of 3:33 midway through the second half on Saturday night and then cruised to a 5-1 Southern Connecticut Conference intra-divisional win over Branford at Finn Stadium.
It was the third time this season that the Gaels, who have now won seven of their last eight matches, have scored five goals or more in a contest.
“We tried to keep it simple against them,” said Shelton coach Joe D’Auria, who was celebrating his 17th wedding anniversary. “Unfortunately, we couldn’t seem to get our defensive alignment set early on. And we appeared a little complacent. Once we settled down and began moving the ball, we were able to pick up the pace.”
Shelton, which swept the seasonal series with the Hornets (the Gaels defeated Branford, 2-0, back in September), gave up a goal at the 20:39 mark when Marzio Mastroianni’s’s high-rising shot was headed in by Ben DeMaio.
The Gaels then countered, also off a header, as Liam Keary knocked it home after a throw-in by Connor Kristiansen. The goal came at 11:23.
Goals by Danny Castro, his first of two; Connor Prindle, and Castro again, made it a 4-1 game. Castro scored at 24:17; Prindle at 22:20 and Castro added his second score at 20:44.
Alex Demoura closed out the scoring, netting his goal with 6:33 remaining.
Shelton outshot Branford, 15-5, with Shelton senior keeper Casey Cisero picking up four saves.
The Gaels improved their record to 9-5-1 and will close out regular-season play on Monday at Lyman Hall of Wallingford. Branford dropped to 3-9-3 and, with the loss, was eliminated from post-season competition.