Joseph D'Errico banked a shot off the right goalpost and into the net 6:54 into overtime, leading Cheshire High School to a 3-2 victory over Fermi-Enfield in a qualifying game for the Division 1 hockey tournament Monday at Wesleyan University in Middletown.
D'Errico's game-winner negated a Fermi-Enfield comeback, which saw the visitors emerge from an early 2-0 deficit to tie the game near the end of regulation time.
"Hats off to Cheshire," Fermi-Enfield head coach Frank Genovese said. "I think both teams showed a lot of resilience; us coming from behind, and them getting the game-winning goal when they were back on their heels. A lot of character was built from this game for both teams. We have nothing to be ashamed of. Everybody played tremendous for us, especially my seniors. They fought and battled all year, did everything we asked and more to get us here."
Cheshire jumped onto the scoreboard just 1:06 into the contest on a goal by Luke Vendetto. Later in the first period, Spencer Hackett snapped home a wrister from the right point to give the Rams a 2-0 lead.
Fermi-Enfield came out flying after the first intermission, cutting Cheshire's lead in half on a goal by Avery Boissy just 42 seconds into the period. The defense came up big as well, with goaltender Aaron Lickwar providing a highlight by stopping Vendetto on a breakaway.
The equalizer came nine minutes into the third period, as Adam Macsata tipped home a shot by Evan Boissy after great work in the corner by Avery Boissy on a power play.
Both teams had scoring chances in the final three minutes of regulation time. Fermi-Enfield's Sam Kelly just missed an open shot in front, while Lickwar stopped Cheshire's Alex Vendetto in close with 30 seconds left.
"We were just looking to find a way for these kids to dig deep and find it within themselves to keep pushing," Cheshire head coach Karl Sundquist said. "Fermi-Enfield definitely had the quicker feet in the second and third periods and really took it to us."
The Rams had the advantage for most of overtime, outshooting the visitors 7-3 in the extra session, and clinched it on D'Errico's ricochet shot.
Cheshire advances to play second-seeded Notre Dame-West Haven Wednesday.
Goals: Avery Boissy, Adam Macsata.
Assists: Logan Beck, Evan Boissy, Avery Boissy.
Goals: Luke Vendetto, Spencer Hackett, Joseph D'Errico.
Assists: Hackett, Jake Nesdale, Tom Dupont.
Score By Periods
Fermi-Enfield 0 1 1 0 - 2
Cheshire 2 0 0 1 - 3
Fermi-Enfield: Aaron Lickwar, 29
Cheshire: Tyler Carbone, 19