Fairfield wins state hockey title

Jake Fuss scored on a rebound 1:22 into overtime to give the Fairfield Warde/Ludlowe co-op the CIAC Division II ice hockey title 4-3 over North Branford at the Yale University Ingalls Rink in New Haven.

After spotting North Branford an early 1-0 lead, Fairfield netted three straight goals and led 3-1 at the end of the first period.

Dominic Raccio gave the Thunderbirds the lead 3:22 into the game, assisted by Nicholas Giatrelis.

Jack McCormick tied the game 1:27 later, assisted by Fuss and Gaillard.

Fairfield took the lead at the 11:22 mark of the first, with Will Von Brauchiisch finding the net. Assists went to Samuel Shepard and Tiger Armas.

McCormick, set up by Fuss, gave Fairfield a 3-1 lead with six seconds remaining in the first period.

Fuss appeared to put Fairfield two goals up 6:13 into the second, but the goal was waved off and the Mustangs instead were hit with a two-minute penalty for too many men on the ice. Another infraction just 1:14 later put Fairfield two men down, but those two were among three Fairfield penalty kills in the second period.

Through two periods, goalie Mike Grace made 29 saves, and Fairfield held its two goal lead through two periods and long into the third.

Mike Pantera pulled the Thunderbirds within one at 8:54 of the third, unassisted.

With 3:26 left in regulation, Adam Burkle pulled North Branford even, assisted by Brian McKee and Marc Daddio.

Grace finished the contest with 43 saves in the Fairfield net. John Lovelace was listed for a dozen saves between the pipes for North Haven.

Fairfield won its previous state title in overtime, edging East Catholic 4-3 on a Kevin Robinson penalty shot in 2013.

The Fairfield co-op boys ice hockey team won the state Division II title Friday, March 18, edging North Branford 4-3 in overtime. — Fairfield Sun file photo

The Fairfield co-op boys ice hockey team won the state Division II title Friday, March 18, edging North Branford 4-3 in overtime. — Fairfield Sun file photo

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