By BRIAN JENNINGS
There haven’t been too many occasions where Hall-Southington coach Brian Cannon coached a game without a working game clock in clear view. But that didn’t affect the Warrior-Knights on Wednesday, Jan. 10, as they managed to hand divisional Newington Co-op their first loss of the season with a 1-0 triumph at home.
A clock malfunction left coaches on both benches scrambling to manage time as officials counted down the time in each period at each stoppage of play.
“We were trying to get their attention, and we were trying to get them to tell us what’s left on the penalty kill,” said assistant coach Michael Bilas. “We want to manage the game with the line changes and combinations, but we have no idea what was left in the period. It was tough.”
A few times, Hall-Southington players asked Cannon how much time was left in line changes and penalty kills, and Cannon said he was about five seconds off of the real time most of the time. But through the confusion of when to make line changes and how much time was left in power plays, it was Michael DiPietro who shot the Warrior-Knights past the Indians with a goal off a slap shot near the left board of the blue line early in the third period, assisted by Drew Booth.
“I thought we came off the opening faceoff for a couple of shifts, played real well, then kind of backed off,” said Cannon. “We played better in the second period and created better chances. We had to take care of our end and not create any turnovers in the third period because it’s a one-mistake game.”
Zach Monti saved 22 shots in the net. Hall-Southington took 38 shots on goal and committed five of the eight penalties in the contest.
The Warrior-Knights wrapped up the week with a loss on Saturday. Their four-game losing streak was snapped after they fell by a goal, 2-1, in the closing seconds of regulation to North Haven at home.
Following a scoreless first period, the Warrior-Knights got on the board first with a goal from Jake Albert late in the second period, assisted by Bobby Allan and Graham Kennedy. But it wasn’t enough. The Indians knotted the score with a goal just inside of five minutes to play in regulation, and then went on to net the game-winner with two seconds showing on the clock on a scrum in front of Hall-Southington’s crease.
“The teams are pretty even,” said Cannon. “I just think that they played a little bit faster than us. They were executing the game that we’ve been trying to get the kids go in with.”
In his first start for the Warrior-Knights this season, Harry Freda saved 30 shots in the net. Hall-Southington took 22 shots on goal and committed all four penalties in the game.
As the upcoming week’s slate of games brings the Warrior-Knights to the midpoint of the season, the team has committed 34 penalties in the seven games, but they have scored two goals and let up just two on their penalty kills. They have allowed the fewest number of goals in Division II with nine, and overall, the team isn’t playing that bad as of late.
“I don’t want to give away games simply because we’re not putting the puck in the net,” said Cannon. “We put the puck in the net against not-as-strong competition. So, we need to start putting the puck in the net against stronger competition.”
The Warrior-Knights will be back on the ice this week with contests against the Redhawks (3-6), Masuk (1-4), and Enfield-East Granby-Stafford (4-3). Hall-Southington is currently 4-3.
For this week’s box scores, click here: (southingtonobserver.com/2018/01/16/weekly-scoreboard-for-the-jan-19-edition). To contact sports writer Brian Jennings, email him at BJennings@SouthingtonObserver.com.