Ice hockey falls to Tri-Town

Andrew Booth takes a shot during a 3-2 loss to Tri-Town in the season opener in West Hartford.

By BRIAN JENNINGS

STAFF WRITER

Hall-Southington coach Brian Cannon looked as if he had just come off the ice with a win under his belt in the team’s first game of the season. You would have never known that the Warrior-Knights lost if you didn’t see the scoreboard.

“I’m not disappointed in the game our kids played. I thought they played pretty well,” said Cannon. “We controlled 80 percent of the game. I don’t think Tri-Town had three minutes in our zone across the whole spread of the game, but they got the bigger number on the scoreboard.”

The Warrior-Knights controlled possession and held the puck in Tri-Town’s zone for most of the game, but couldn’t take advantage of their heavy offensive pressure, as multiple shots and breakaways were either whiffed at, deflected off the goalpost, or blocked by the goalkeeper. Their misfortune resulted in a 3-2 loss to Tri-Town at home on Saturday, Dec. 16.

“It’s a little disappointing and frustrating because I thought we thoroughly controlled the game, pretty much from start to finish,” said Cannon. “We outskated, outhit, and outshot them. When they had had fresher legs for the first two penalty kills earlier in the game, we were the offensive controlling guys on the penalty kill.”

Tri-Town got on the board first with a goal early in the first period that was arguably kicked into the goal off a rebound. Midway through the second period, Jake Albert had a good look at the net when he swooped in from the right side and beat the goalie. However, he was tripped by a defender, and the puck floated freely out to Drew Booth, who scored on a one-timer from the left circle to even the tally.

Tri-Town regained the lead after a shot was redirected into the goal from the point later in the period, but then Booth returned. After a Warrior-Knight whiffed on a breakaway towards the net, the puck found its way back out to the point where Booth scored his second goal of the game on a laser, getting shoved and sliding on his knees across center ice after the shot.

“We had great offensive pressure in front of the net,” said Booth. “The goalie couldn’t see any of that, so I give credit to our forwards completely for that. They just happened to go in when we needed them to.”

Tri-Town eventually scored the go-ahead game-winning goal on a breakaway late in the third period.

Zach Monti saved 30 shots in the net. Hall-Southington took 42 shots on goal and committed three penalties in the contest.

The Warrior-Knights can go out and play hard, battle, and defend pretty well, but they haven’t been a particularly good scoring team for some time now. Cannon was concerned about the team’s inability to hit the back of the net coming into the season, and it showed on Saturday and could continue to remain a problem for the team going forward. But Cannon said that he still has a good lineup with good depth of players that can dependably go out and play.

“We’ve even got kids that aren’t dressing that could go out and play in that game,” said Cannon. “One of them is really reliable. The bottom line is that we just have to find a way.”

The Warrior-Knights will be back on the ice this week when they travel to the Enfield Twin Rinks on Saturday, Dec. 23 to play Enfield-East Granby-Stafford (0-0) in their lone game of the week. Game time is 4 p.m.

For this week’s box scores, click here: (southingtonobserver.com/2017/12/19/weekly-scoreboard-for-the-dec-22-edition). To contact sports writer Brian Jennings, email him at BJennings@SouthingtonObserver.com.

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