By BRIAN JENNINGS
WEST HARTFORD—Sophomore Dusty Kilgore scored his first goal for the Hall-Southington Warrior-Knights against the Farmington-Avon-Windsor Generals midway through the second period on Wednesday night at the Veteran’s Memorial Ice Rink in West Hartford. But Kilgore wasn’t happy with just scoring his first goal. He had to score another.
Kilgore put the Warrior-Knights up 4-1 with his second goal of the night, midway through the third period. But he still wasn’t satisfied. With the clock winding down late in the third, and the game in hand, Kilgore added his final touch of the inceptive night. He scored his third goal with 28 seconds to go in the game, helping the Warrior-Knights get the win over the Generals, 5-2.
The win moves the Warrior-Knights to 4-7 overall on the season (3-4 and fifth in the CCC South). Eric Bender finished with 27 saves for the Warrior-Knights and Connor Adams finished with 28 for the Generals.
“The good thing was that they were getting shots on goal,” said Coach Brian Cannon. “We did get some decent plays from people. They killed off penalties. There were a number of strange calls that we had to kill off tonight. But I have to give the standout of the night to Dusty Kilgore. He scored for the first time tonight and walked out with a hat trick. So I have to give him a shout-out. He broke out in nice fashion today.”
Cannon said he thought that his Warrior-Knights could have played better, but played well enough to win. “We got a couple goals early, which is not our usual m.o.,” said Cannon. “We’re usually slow starters. I think that helped get us going, and they just kind of kept rolling. We took advantage of a couple of penalties of theirs today, too…got a couple power play goals, which was nice.”
Although his Warrior-Knights jumped out to a 2-0 lead midway through the first period, Cannon said he didn’t like the second half of the first period.
“We seemed to start sitting back after we went up by a couple goals,” he said. “We just started letting them dictate the pace. And we played the latter half of the first period in our own end. I told them all they have to do is score one and you got yourself a game, but we got out of it.”
Cannon said that both teams knew what each other looked like from the first time they played.
“We went there and really played a weak game last time and got beat in overtime,” said Cannon. “The kids just needed to wake up, and the same thing happened last year. We went to their rink and played the worst game of our season, and then came back and beat them handily here. I don’t think we beat them as decisively this year as we did last year, but it was still a pretty clear victory.”
Cannon said his Warrior-Knights have to work on recognition, situational awareness, and execution.
“We had way too many turnovers,” he said. “We need to make better judgment and execution during the game. We need a more physical presence. We have a long way to go there, but we’re young, so I have to be optimistic that it will come with time.”
Off from game play for the next week and a half, Cannon and his Warrior-Knights will have some time to practice and prepare for their upcoming critical games.
“We need to win a few more games and most of our games are winnable, but we have to show up,” said the coach. “There are no walkovers out there. You have to show up and play the game and beat the team. They’re not just going to walk in and beat somebody. We’ve got to earn the game. We’ll see if we can build on this.”
The Warrior-Knights are at home on Saturday, Jan. 31 against the first-place EO Smith-Tolland-Windham Bucks (9-1 overall, 7-0 in the CCC South).