Middletown can’t slow down Windsor’s Gardner-Russaw in Class L semifinal

Windsor High senior Tim Gardner-Russaw ran for a career-high 204 yards and 5 TDs to help Windsor return to the Class L championship game for the second time in three years.

Windsor High senior Tim Gardner-Russaw ran for a career-high 204 yards and 5 TDs to help Windsor return to the Class L championship game for the second time in three years.

WINDSOR, Dec. 5 – Windsor High coach Rob Fleeting has been finding ways to get 6-foot-3 senior Tim Gardner-Russaw to touch the ball for the Warriors.

Not only did Gardner-Russaw lead the Warriors in rushing this fall with 11 touchdowns and more than 800 yards but he also pulled in 27 receptions for 382 yards and three TDs.

Gardner-Russaw had a career evening in Monday night in the Class L semifinal against Central Connecticut Conference rival Middletown at Jack O’Brien Stadium. Gardner-Russaw ran for a career-high 204 yards and five TDs to lead Windsor back to the Class L championship game with a 40-14 victory.

Undefeated Windsor (12-0) will face defending Class L champion New Canaan (11-1) for the state championship on Saturday afternoon at Willow Brook Park in New Britain. A year ago, the Rams dominated Windsor in a 21-6 loss in the Class L quarterfinals.Continue Reading

Boston continues mastery of Whale, handing Connecticut third straight loss

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Rookie Dana Trivigno’s second professional goal gave Connecticut an early lead against Boston Saturday night at the Warrior Ice Arena.

BOSTON, Dec. 3 – The Connecticut Whale have completed their six-game road trip to open the National Women’s Hockey League campaign. And the Whale are still having problems with the defending NWHL champion Boston Pride.

With three goals from Brianna Decker, Boston remained undefeated in year two of the NWHL with a 5-2 win over Connecticut Saturday night at the Warrior Ice Arena. The Pride improve to 7-0 on the season while Connecticut slips to 2-4 with their third straight loss.

Decker is the first NWHL player to get a hat trick (score three goals in a single game) on home ice. She has six goals and four assists on the year.Continue Reading

Sacred Heart faces Mercyhurst in Atlantic Hockey game at AOF on Dec. 10

Sacred Heart captain Justin Danforth and the Pioneers will face Atlantic Hockey rival Mercyhurst on the AOF campus on Saturday, Dec. 10. (Photo courtesy Sacred Heart University)

Sacred Heart captain Justin Danforth and the Pioneers will face Atlantic Hockey rival Mercyhurst on the AOF campus on Saturday, Dec. 10. (Photo courtesy Sacred Heart University)

AVON – The late Jason Pagni played hockey at Avon Old Farms, graduating in 1990. He played on the first AOF team to win a New England championship in 1989.

The late Jason Pagini

The late Jason Pagni

Pagni played two years of collegiate hockey at Quinnipiac University but over the next two decades, he made his mark in the hockey world. He was a youth hockey coach, the owner of the Connecticut Yankees hockey organization and the Hamden Hockey House.

One of his friends, C.J. Marottolo, the coach at Sacred Heart University, told the Hartford Courant’s Jeff Jacobs a year ago that Pagni helped turn kids’ (hockey) dreams into reality.

His friend Chris Masters wrote, “Hockey was his passion, and, more to the point, helping kids was what he loved. Whether it was taking teams to the prestigious Quebec Pee-Wee tournament or to the Brick tournament in Edmonton or anywhere in between he loved being around the kids, having fun and making sure they have an unforgettable experience.”Continue Reading

Hauser helps Granby finish on high note and win the milk jug by beating Canton

Granby's Jack Hauser ran for a game-high 238 yards and 3 TDs in Thursday morning's 43-20 win over Canton.

Granby’s Jack Hauser ran for a game-high 238 yards and scored 3 TDs in Thursday morning’s 43-20 win over Canton.

CANTON, Nov. 24 – There were two young football teams with one victory between them.

The Canton High and Granby High football teams met on Thanksgiving morning and played with passion and enthusiasm that young teams can bring to the field. They also made plenty of mistakes, which made for an entertaining ballgame.

Granby fumbled the ball six times Thursday and lost four of them. Canton turned the ball over three times with interceptions. In the end, Granby Jacob Hauser settled this.

The senior running back ran for a career-high 238 yards and three touchdowns on 20 carries to lead the Bears to a 43-20 victory over Canton to win the old red milk jug and end the season with a victory. The Bears had lost eight straight games after winning on opening day back in September.Continue Reading

Hundreds race on Thanksgiving in Collinsville for fun and to help others

It was fun time for all at the O'Briley Turkey Trot Thursday morning in Collinsville.

It was fun time for all at the O’Briley Turkey Trot Thursday morning in Collinsville.

CANTON, Nov. 24 – It began with a handful of people five years ago. Now, there are nearly 400 people coming to Collinsville on Thanksgiving morning to run. 

The fifth annual O’Briley Turkey Trot was held Thursday morning with hundreds of local runners racing 3.1 miles along the Farmington Valley River Trail. The growth of the race can be seen in the traffic on the course. 

Race winner Marc Robacyznski of Avon collided with another runner after turning around and heading back to Collinsville. The athletes run out 1½ mile and turn around and return to Collinsville. Neither one was hurt. 

Robaczynski, who won the race with a time of 17:03.47, laughed about the incident afterward. He was pleased to come out, run and support a local event. Continue Reading

With 3 TDs, Penney helps Simsbury hold off upset-minded Avon in season finale

Simsbury High players celebrate with the Valley Gridiron Trophy after beating Avon, 26-13 on Tuesday night at Holdem Field.

Simsbury High players celebrate with the Valley Gridiron Trophy after beating Avon, 26-13 on Tuesday night at Holdem Field.

SIMSBURY, Nov. 22 – In the final game of the year, two high school football teams that have grown significantly throughout the season traded blows in Tuesday night’s Valley Gridiron Classic at Simsbury High School.

It took an inexperienced Avon squad time to learn to play at the varsity level. But they’ve been playing well in the final three weeks of the season and took a one-point lead early in the fourth quarter over a favored Simsbury High squad.

Coming off a 1-9 campaign, Simsbury lost their first four games of the season. But they refused to wilt and won five of their final six contests including a 26-13 win over Avon to capture the Valley Gridiron Classic trophy for the first time.

The difference was Simsbury senior Sean Penney. He scored three of Simsbury’s four touchdowns and each time the Trojans needed a big play, there was Penney breaking tackles downfield and running for big yards.Continue Reading

Season concludes this week for six Valley teams on Thanksgiving week

football graphicThe high school football season comes to end this week for the six teams in the Farmington Valley. When the campaign began in the heat of August, there was plenty of hope and optimism. But 10 weeks later, victories have been hard to find.

A year ago, Granby won 10 games and earned their first CIAC Class S tournament berth. This year, the Bears have won once. Avon won eight games and topped Simsbury for the first time since 1968 at the inaugural Valley Gridiron Classic. This year, a young Falcons team has struggled with just one victory last week at Plainville.

Farmington had hoped to contend in the CCC Division II but has managed just two wins. Lewis Mills had hoped to be in contention for a Class S playoff berth but they’ve won just three games. Canton is still looking for their first win in two years. Simsbury has shown growth. They won just once a year ago but this year, but coach Dave Masters’ squad has won four of nine games with a few close losses.

Here is a little primer for this year’s Turkey Day action. Avon is hosting Simsbury at Holden Field for the second Valley Gridiron Classic on Tuesday evening. Canton and Granby, Farmington and Plainville and Lewis Mills and Nonnewaug square off on Thursday morning. Continue Reading

Whale can’t score for 2nd straight game in first-ever loss to New York

The Connecticut Whale were shutout for the second straight game on Sunday in a 4-0 NWHL loss to New York.

The Connecticut Whale were shutout for the second straight game on Sunday in a 4-0 NWHL loss to New York.

NEWARK, Nov. 20 – The New York Riveters got two goals from Rebecca Russo and goalie Katie Fitzgerald made 28 saves to lead the Riveters to a 4-0 shutout victory over the Connecticut Whale Sunday in National Women’s Hockey League action. It was the second consecutive game that Connecticut (2-3) didn’t score a goal.

It was New York’s first-ever win over Connecticut in eight contests and the first shutout in franchise history.Continue Reading

Farmington booters blank Shelton for third state championship in five years

Players on the Farmington High boys soccer team and their fans celebrate after beating Shelton, 3-0, to win the Class LL state title Saturday. (Photo courtesy Farmington High via Twitter)

Players on the Farmington High boys soccer team and their fans celebrate after beating Shelton, 3-0, to win the Class LL state title Saturday. (Photo courtesy Farmington High via Twitter)

NEW BRITAIN, Nov. 19 – Farmington’s Blake Rutenberg scored twice in a three-minute span to dispel any thoughts of No. 7 Shelton upsetting the Indians as Farmington (18-2-1) captured their 12th state title in boys soccer with a dominating 3-0 victory in the CIAC Class LL championship game at Willow Brook Park. No. 4 Farmington won the title with their 20th shutout of the season, including a pair of shutout victories over Avon earlier this year. Read more about the game at GameTimeCT.Continue Reading

Canton can’t maintain lead in loss to CREC co-op

Canton freshman Carter Gavin is tackled by two CREC defenders in Saturday's game in Enfield. The Warriors fell, 50-14. (Photo courtesy Bill Brewster)

Canton freshman Carter Gavin is tackled by two CREC defenders in Saturday’s game in Enfield. The Warriors fell, 50-14. (Photo courtesy Bill Brewster)

ENFIELD, Nov. 19 – The Canton High football continues to take steps forward.

The Warriors took a 14-point lead in the first quarter, recovered two fumbles in the game and saw running back Braedon Bean rush for 100 years for the second time this season. Quarterback Alex Higley returned to the starting lineup after missing five games due to ankle injury suffered against Lewis Mills in late September.

But it wasn’t enough as the CREC co-op football team scored 50 unanswered points to win their second game of the season with a 50-14 decision at Public Safety Academy in Enfield. CREC junior Manny Sanchez ran for 194 yards and five touchdowns on 20 carries to lead the Eagles.Continue Reading

Canton P&Z approves permanent lights at Canton High field

The public hearing about the installation of lights around Canton High's field has been extended to Nov. 16.

A proposal to install permanent lights at Canton High has been approved by the Planning and Zoning Commission.

CANTON, Nov. 16 — Canton’s Planning and Zoning Commission has approved a proposal to install permanent lights around the synthetic turf field and track and field complex at Canton High School. Four 80-foot poles will provide the lights.

The permit will allow up to 25 games a year with the lights being turned off by 10:30 p.m. on weeknights and 11 p.m. on Saturday. No Sunday events with lights will be permitted. The Canton Athletic Booster Club is leading an effort to raise $250,000 to install the lights. Read more in the story from our friends at the Canton Compass.

For the second straight year, Canton to be awarded Michaels Achievement Cup

Canton's Abbe Skinner holds the state championship high after the Warriors won their first state title beating Thomaston Saturday morning at the Mohegan Sun Arena.

Canton’s Abbe Skinner holds the state championship trophy high after the Warriors won their first state title in girls basketball beating Thomaston in March 2016 for the Class S championship.

CANTON — Canton High is one of 15 schools to be selected as a winner of the CIAC’s Michaels Achievement Cup for the 2015-16 season.

It’s the second consecutive season that Canton has been recognized with a Michaels Achievement Cup. They were recognized for their efforts during the 2014-15 campaign.

The award is presented to recognize outstanding achievement as an overall athletic program. The Michaels Cup is based on seven distinct areas which are sportsmanship, participation, athletic scholarship, athletic personnel, equity, chemical free initiatives and athletic achievement.Continue Reading

No. 2 Joel Barlow eliminates Avon spikers in Class L quarterfinals

Maddy Hart had eight kills in Saturday's Class L quarterfinal loss to No. 2 Joel Barlow.

Maddy Hart had eight kills in Saturday’s Class L quarterfinal loss to No. 2 Joel Barlow.

REDDING, Nov. 12 – No. 3 Joel Barlow was too strong as the host Falcons eliminated Avon High with a 3-0 sweep in the quarterfinals of the Class L tournament on Saturday.

Barlow (20-3) eliminated Avon with scores of 25-17, 25-20, 25-20. It was the sixth straight win for Barlow and the 11th victory in the last 12 bouts.

No. 6 Avon (17-6) couldn’t get its offense on track. Junior Maddy Hart led the way for Avon with eight kills while junior Sofia Berrio added three kills and two blocks. Avon had just 18 kills and three blocks in three games.Continue Reading

Valley Regional/Old Lyme clinches playoff berth with big win over Canton

Canton's Donovan Macklin (22) is stopped by Valley Regional/Old Lyme's Jacob Kruszewski in Saturday's game in Canton. VR/OL won, 41-0.

Canton’s Donovan Macklin (22) is stopped by Valley Regional/Old Lyme’s Jacob Kruszewski in Saturday’s game in Canton. VR/OL won, 41-0.

CANTON, Nov. 12 – Valley Regional/Old Lyme unofficially clinched a CIAC playoff berth for the fifth time in seven years Saturday with a dominating 41-0 Pequot Conference victory over Canton.

Valley Regional/OL scored six touchdowns in the first half, improving to 8-1 on the season and securing an invitation to the Class S tournament. Valley last played in the postseason in 2014 and rallied to beat Ansonia, 21-20 to win the Class S Large Division title.

Ian Humphreys caught a 23-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Matt Sapere and also scored on a 35-yard interception return. Sapere completed 6-of-8 passes for 130 yards and three touchdowns to lead Valley.Continue Reading

Canton’s Sparks misses All-New England honors by less than a second

Canton junior Max Sparks earned All-State honors by finishing second in Saturday's Class SS championship race at Wickham Park in Manchester. (Photo courtesy Bill Brewster)

Canton junior Max Sparks (Photo courtesy Bill Brewster)

NORTH SCITUATE, R.I., Nov. 12 – Canton junior Max Sparks ran a season-best time of 16:05.59 at Saturday’s New England cross country championships and barely missed earning All-New England honors by less than a second at Ponaganset High School.

The top 25 runners finishing the New England championship race earn All-New England honors. Sparks finished in 26th place, 0.76 of a second behind Jackson Brannen of Goffstown, N.H., who finished in 16:04.83. Brannen was third in a pack of three runners and finished in less than 0.78 of a second behind the runner that was 23rd.

Sparks was the seventh runner from Connecticut to cross the finish line and beat the No. 2, No. 3 and No. 5 finisher from last week’s State Open. There were 255 finishers in the race.Continue Reading