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Stars sink Blue Wave in Tier II final

The Southern Connecticut Stars Midget Minor hockey team

(Drew Krochko) The Southern Connecticut Stars Midget Minor hockey team defeated Darien, 4-1, to win the state championship on Nov. 11. Team members (front row l-r) are: John Burkinshaw, Kade McCartin, Michael Falanga, Christian LaCroix, Matthew Wikman, Brandon Ginnetti, James Davins, Ryan Corcoran, Adam Shea, Greg Ferris, Joseph O’Connor, Matthew Barnett, Justin Krochko and Chris Guitierrez; (second row) assistant coach Rick Beckwith, Dean Lockery, Matt Horton, Kenny Kochiss, head coach Erik Roos, Jack Fitzgerald and Frank Sullivan.

The Southern Connecticut Youth Hockey Association (SCYH) Midget Minor team won the Connecticut Hockey Conference Midget Tier II tournament state championship with a 4-1 victory over the Darien Blue Wave at the Northford Ice Pavilion on Nov. 11.

The Milford-based Southern Stars earned their berth in the championship game with a stunning 15-0 win over Avon in Saturday’s semifinal game.

It is a fitting finish for a stellar season, where the Stars began their ascent in September by defending their 2011 championship in the highly touted Labor Day Tier 1 Face-Off Classic tournament in Marlboro.

Southern swept the nationally-ranked field 7-0 ultimately defeating the Boston Bandits 5-1 to reclaim the prestigious 2012 North/South Division title.

The Stars went on to amass a single season record tally of 29-1-3, as they climbed to rate third nationally and earn the privilege to represent Connecticut in the U-16 National Championship tournament, to be held in Troy, Mich. from April 3-7.

The championship match-up versus Darien proved to be an ultimate test.

The Stars scored first with just over two minutes ticked off the first-period clock on Matt Falanga’s goal, assisted by Adam Shea and Matt Horton.

But outstanding goaltending by Darien’s Michael Colon and Southern’s Justin Krochko then suspended scoring for over 36 minutes.

The defensive standoff ended when Southern blinked first and Darien’s Peter Reinhardt scored unassisted at the 13:11 mark in the third.

Southern kept the pressure up and Colon just couldn’t keep them out of the net any longer. Joe O’Connor broke the tie with an unassisted, end-to-end breakaway goal at 15:39. From there, the Stars just shined, as Southern punctuated their victory with a third goal scored by Kenny Kochiss on an assist from Matt Horton with just over 45 seconds remaining.

Krochko stopped 17-of-18 shots on goal, and the final nail was hammered into the upper corner on Colon’s glove side by Jack Fitzgerald after Adam Shea won a goal-front face-off to seal the 4-1 decision.

“Most of these guys have been together for three years,” head coach Erik Roos said. “They know what they want, they worked hard to get it and they’re bound together to achieve that common goal.”

The 2012 Stars squad is a “who’s who” of Southern Connecticut high school hockey stand-outs.

Led by assistant coach Rick Beckwith, who has helmed SCYH teams for nine years, and Roos, a six-year veteran Stars coach who literally grew up in the SCYH program as grandson of Marty Roos, who retired as the winningest high school hockey coach in state history. The Stars skate out of the Milford Ice Pavilion on Bic Drive in Milford.

SCYH is a Connecticut Hockey Conference/USA Hockey member organization, comprised of more than 150 skaters comprising travel hockey squads at all CHC levels, Mite through Midget Major.

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