Wethersfield hockey captain Adrian Budas
Dennis Tulimieri is in the midst of his 28th season coaching Wethersfield hockey and is hoping his current Eagles’ squad has a surge during the second half of the season, which would allow his seniors to play in the state tournament.
The season hadn’t started as planned for Tulimieri’s Eagles, who had lost their first eight games. However, a 5-1 victory over Rocky Hill-RHAM on Saturday may provide the momentum swing that the team desperately needed. Tulimieri has been coaching long enough to know that a team is only as good as their last game, and the Eagles last game was a convincing win over a crosstown conference rival.
Before Saturday’s win, the veteran coach said that the team’s mindset for this season hasn’t changed and their goal was still to qualify for the state tournament in March. In order to accomplish their goal, the young Eagles will most likely have to finish the regular season winning nine of their final eleven games. Last season the team struggled early as well, but finished the season with only one loss in their final three games.
Despite the slow start, the team has received great leadership and production from their limited senior class. Senior defenseman Kyler Vonick and forward Billy Connor lead the charge and have both been productive offensively, each tallying 5 points.
Between the pipes, the team is young, but improving with every game. Juniors Domingo Rodriguez and Tyler Godlewski have each taken turns protecting the net, along with freshman Joe Sitarz. Sitarz has excelled for a freshman and has the makings to be a stud-goaltender for the foreseeable future.
The young Eagles have shown marked improvements as the season has progressed, which culminated with Saturday’s win. In their first three games this season, they were limited to three total goals, but over their last three contests they have more than doubled that output, scoring eight goals.
The increase in production could be traced back to the team’s philosophy of “sacrificing for your team”, which Tulimieri said the players on the team came up with. The philosophy means that the players are sacrificing individual accomplishments in return for potential team accomplishments.
Tulimieri, who has been on the Wethersfield bench since 1986, knows that the team must continue to compete with their preseason philosophy in mind, in order to achieve their goal. It is said that the first win is always the toughest and now the team has that elusive victory.
They have a golden opportunity to keep the momentum going with a rematch against Rocky Hill-RHAM, followed by back-to-back home games against Newington-Berlin-Manchester and Guilford. The contest with Rocky Hill-RHAM will take place on Wednesday, Jan 29th at Champions Rink in Cromwell. Face-off for the conference clash is 8:10 p.m.
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Sports Editor for the Rare Reminder, Glastonbury Citizen, and Rivereast News Bulletin