When head coach John Misrendino and his assistants got their first look at this season’s boys hockey schedule, they came to the same conclusion.
“We saw a lot of potential to get off to a good start,” said Misrendino. “We thought there were some winnable games before we began playing D1 (Division I) teams.”
That belief has borne out: Through its first nine games this winter, Wilton is 7-1-1 overall and unbeaten (7-0-1) against fellow Division III teams.
After suffering their first loss of the season to D1 Greenwich, 7-1, last Friday, the Warriors bounced back with a 5-3 victory over Trinity Catholic on Monday at the Winter Garden in Ridgefield.
According to Misrendino, Wilton’s success is due primarily to two factors: Off-season work and new personnel.
“When I started (in the 2016-17 season), there was only one player playing split-season hockey. Now there are 11,” Misrendino said. “Because of that we’ve seen some big-time growth in returning players
“Also, we have a small number of new players who have made a quality difference,” Misrendino added. “They are improving our skill level.”
The Warriors have shown an ability to win close games, including a 5-4 overtime victory against Staples on Jan. 12. Dean DiNanno scored the unassisted game-winner in the extra session.
“You need to be able to win those type of games,” said Misrendino. “We’ve played three overtime games already and won two of them and tied the other.”
Tyler Everitt scored two goals for the Warriors in the win over Trinity, with Luke O’Neill, David Overbeeke, and DiNanno adding one goal apiece. Brandon Jonsson, Tommy McHugh, and DiNanno had assists for Wilton.
The Warriors followed that win with a 4-2 triumph over the McMahon/Norwalk combined squad last Tuesday at the SoNo Ice House in Norwalk.
Wilton led 2-0 at the end of the first period on goals from Nico Kovaris (Nick Furst and Everitt assists) and Overbeeke (unassisted). Kovaris’s goal was the first of his varsity career.
Norwalk then scored once in the second period and again in the third to knot the score at 2-2. But that tie was short-lived, as Everitt scored on an assist from Kovaris just 11 seconds after Norwalk’s second goal.
With Wilton a man down, Overbeeke added a short-handed goal on an assist from Lucas Thelen to end the scoring.
“It was a nice comeback after they tied the game,” Misrendino said. “Logan (Motyka) was great in goal. He must have made between 25 and 30 saves.”