Hall-Southington ice hockey may have lost two games during the holiday break, but it showed improvement in the second loss after being hammered in the first one.
The Warrior-Knights lost 7-2 to Wethersfield-Middletown-Rocky Hill-Plainville (WMRP) on Dec. 26, then they were defeated 5-4 by Woodstock Academy on Dec. 29.
Hall-Southington fell to 1-4 on the season. Here’s what happened in each game:
Ambushed by the Eagles
DEC. 26—The Warrior-Knights didn’t have it against the Eagles at the Newington Ice Arena, and the result was a disappointing loss.
“I don’t think it was a very good effort on our part,” coach Brian Cannon said. “Certainly not in execution, but I don’t think that the effort was there either. It’s too bad.”
Hall-Southington fell behind WMRP 3-0 after one period, then it was 5-0 after two periods. Michael DiPietro scored twice in the third period, but the Warrior-Knights also allowed two goals for the game’s final margin of defeat. Cannon said he appreciated the play of several Eagle players, including forward Aaron Cholewa.
“That kid was working, he was shagging down pucks all over the ice,” Cannon said. “No. 1, we didn’t have that, but No. 2, we just allowed these guys to run around in our zone, left the whole slot open, and they put pucks in our net.”
Trevor Piecewicz had a hat trick for WMRP while Ben Mroczka added two goals. Cholewa and Devin Norton added a goal apiece for the Eagles while Jake Peckrul made 26 saves.
First-year sophomore goalie Noah Behrens-Gould had 32 saves for Hall-Southington. The margin of defeat could have been worse if not for some great saves from Behrens-Gould.
“All in all, you can’t blame all those goals going in on him,” Cannon said. “He was a sitting duck.”
Bobby Allan assisted on DiPietro’s first goal while Ethan Penn assisted on the second tally.
Better effort in loss
DEC. 29—The Warrior-Knights played somewhat better against the Centaurs, but couldn’t hang onto an early lead and left the Pomfret School with a loss.
Hall-Southington built a 3-1 lead in the first period on goals by Allan (2) and DiPietro. Woodstock got one goal back to make the score 3-2 by the end of the first period. It was the first of four straight goals for the Centaurs, who built a 5-3 lead with 9:33 left in the third period. Allan added a third goal with 5:01 to play for the game’s final score.
DiPietro assisted on Allan’s first goal and Zmarlicki assisted on DiPietro’s goal. DiPietro and Cody Brew both had assists on Allan’s second goal while DiPietro and Zmarlicki had assists on Allan’s third goal. Behrens-Gould made 35 saves for Hall-Southington.
Kyle Brennan, Doug Newton (one assist), Matthew Odom (one assist), Guerin Favreau and Austen Ledonne each scored a goal for Woodstock (4-1). Shea made 22 saves for the Centaurs.
‘Damn glad to have him’
Five to six weeks before the season, Hall-Southington didn’t have a goalie. The Warrior-Knights lost Harrison Freda and Zachary Monti to graduation. That’s where Behrens-Gould stepped in.
“He’s a young kid, we’d never seen him play,” Cannon said. “All we knew was at least we had someone who’s had the pads on for more than a year.”
Cannon said he told Behrens-Gould’s father that it might be a tough year because of a weakened defense. Behrens-Gould decided to play anyway, and he showed some promise in a preseason scrimmage against Sheehan. There have been some tough times, but Cannon said Behrens-Gould has been pretty good so far.
“He’s young, he’s got things to learn. Assistant coach Mike Bilas is working with him on different things,” Cannon said. “It’d be a complete fluke if he walked in here and he was impenetrable. He’s making the stops you would expect from him. Occasionally he’s making the stops you don’t expect from him, and some of them are getting in.”
If Behrens-Gould didn’t show up to play, Hall-Southington would have had to take more drastic measures in goal. He will take his lumps, but he will also make some great saves.
“I’m happy with him, and I’m damn glad to have him,” Cannon said.
Up next: The Warrior-Knights face EO Smith on Saturday at the UConn Hockey Arena at 12:15 p.m.
To comment on this story or to contact staff writer Kevin Roberts, email him at KRoberts@SouthingtonObserver.com