By BRIAN JENNINGS
Players walked out of the locker room with weary legs and low energy. They were skating just to survive.
Close to two thirds of the Warrior-Knight ice hockey team was sick with some kind of illness, and it showed out on the ice early in the week.
Hall-Southington’s two-game winning streak came to an end after the Warrior-Knights suffered a 4-1 loss to Wethersfield-Middletown-Rocky Hill-Plainville at home on Wednesday. The Eagles are currently third in Division III.
“We didn’t have it tonight,” said Hall-Southington coach Brian Cannon. “We didn’t have energy or read-and-react. We weren’t there.”
Loss vs. WMRP
FEB. 1—The Eagles jumped out to a 3-0 lead after scoring goals in each of the three periods. The first goal came on a missed play. The second came on a power play.
“We couldn’t get there and get a hold of the guy’s stick fast enough, and they poked it in,” said Cannon. “On the second one, we stuffed the puck into some legs on the center-ice faceoff and didn’t react to it never going through. They picked it up, skated down, and put it in our net.”
Will Carpenter scored Hall-Southington’s lone goal of the game with just under four minutes remaining in the third period, assisted by Jacob Herz and Graham Kennedy. The Eagles scored their fourth goal of the game seconds later.
“They outplayed us in every aspect of the game,” said Cannon. “They had way more energy and jump. They had better reaction and moved the puck up the middle because we let them, which created a lot of opportunities for them.”
Zach Monti saved 11 of WMRP’s 15 shots on goal. The Warrior-Knights took 28 shots on goal and committed three of the six penalties in the contest.
Tie vs. Masuk
FEB. 4—The Warrior-Knights wrapped up the week by settling with their second tie of the season after drawing, 3-3, with Masuk at home on Saturday.
After a scoreless first period, the Warrior-Knights jumped out to a 2-0 lead with goals by Anthony Abbatiello and Miles Aronow. But the Panthers fired back with three unanswered goals in the third period to take a one-goal edge. Two of those goals came off power plays.
“They’re the domino effect of one, two, or three missed plays in rapid succession,” said Cannon. “Then our guys are trying to take a penalty to stop a play from happening or ending up in the back of our net. We’ve taken far fewer penalties this year, even with some of these games, than we typically have over time.”
However, Abbatiello netted his second goal of the game off a backhander with 25.2 seconds remaining in regulation to send the contest into overtime.
“We lined them up and gave them instructions,” said Cannon. “We didn’t draw it out. It was just the basics. Everything was forward, and anything from the points had to make it through to the slot. We moved the puck across, side to side, and scrambled to move it to the open guy. It was an intentional play, which was nice to see.”
With a little over two minutes remaining in the extra period, a Masuk skater took the puck down the ice on a breakaway, but lost possession off his skate on an open look at the goal. The Panthers took four shots on goal in overtime.
The Warrior-Knights had their chance moments later when a pass crossed through the crease in front of Masuk’s goalie. The puck went wide and just missed the connection of a one-timer. The Warrior-Knights took four shots on goal in overtime as well.
“It’s very frustrating when you turn a two-goal lead into one goal behind,” said Cannon. “You have to pull a rabbit out of your hat to keep the game going along. I’ll give our guys credit for doing that, but we should have never been in that position.”
Jeremy Fortin (2), Chris Gambardella, Drew Booth, and Herz contributed with assists. Zach Monti saved 13 shots on goal. The Warrior-Knights took 23 shots on goal and committed six out of the eight penalties in the game.
The Warrior-Knights will be back on the ice this week with games against Woodstock Academy (12-0-1), the Redhawks (8-7), and Enfield-East Granby-Stafford (3-8-1). Woodstock Academy is currently the top team in Division III. Hall-Southington is currently 4-6-2 overall.
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For a full box score, click here: http://southingtonobserver.com/2017/02/07/weekly-scoreboard-for-the-feb-10-edition/