By KEVIN ROBERTS
Hall-Southington ice hockey was in both games it played in the past week, but penalties and third period defensive woes were their downfall. The Warrior-Knights lost 4-2 to EO Smith on Feb. 6, then they were defeated, 8-4, by the Eastern CT Eagles on Feb. 9.
“We’re finding ways to beat ourselves, and that’s what troubling about it,” coach Brian Cannon said.
Hall-Southington dropped to 5-9 on the season after the two home losses. The Warrior-Knights were outscored, 6-1, in the third period over those two games. Hall-Southington is on the outside looking in for state tournament qualification, and the coaching staff figures it will take three more wins to reach the postseason.
“Both of the teams we lost to this week, they’re both having good success,” Cannon said. “EO’s having a good season, they’re leading our conference, they’re doing well league-wise. [Tri-Town] is in the top five or six in Division II because they’ve got a couple guys who play the game efficiently and smart.”
Hall-Southington and EO Smith were tied, 2-2, entering the third period of their Feb. 6 game. The Warrior-Knights had twice come back from one-goal deficits, once on a goal from Nathan Zmarlicki and the other on a goal from Bobby Allan. EO Smith’s Gavin Till scored on a power play with 13:12 remaining in the third period to put the visitors ahead 3-2.
A goal from Will Russel with 2:38 to play sealed the game for EO Smith. Noah Behrens-Gould made 45 saves in the loss for Hall-Southington. Michael DiPietro and Sean Roach each had an assist for the Warrior-Knights.
The Feb. 9 game against the Eastern CT Eagles saw one goal in the first period, then six in a high-paced second period. Allan, Duncan Hollander and Michael DiPietro scored to put the Warrior-Knights ahead 3-2 with 6:51 left in the second period. It took just 28 seconds for the Eagles to tie the game, 3-3, then a power play goal at the 2:19 mark gave the visitors a 4-3 lead. Two more power play goals in the third period extended the lead to 6-3. The Eagles scored on four of their six power plays.
“I’ll give that team credit. They got some kids who can play, they’re smart, and boy they jump on their chances,” Cannon said. “They create their own chances, but once you see someone do something two or three times, you shouldn’t allow them to do it again. We can only point out so much, we can only point out errors and omissions and possible corrections so many times before you’ve got to leave it in the kids’ hands. And they’re either going to figure it out or they’re not.”
Hollander scored the lone Hall-Southington goal in the third period. Behrens-Gould made 41 saves for the Warrior-Knights. DiPietro, Behrens-Gould, Roach, Mike Kwok and Zmarlicki each had an assist.
Up next: Hall-Southington played Tri-Town at home on Monday night. The Warrior-Knights were scheduled to host their final home game against the East Haven co-op on Wednesday. Hall-Southington is slated to play Northeastern on Saturday at 8:10 p.m. at the Bolton Ice Palace.
To comment on this story or to contact staff writer Kevin Roberts, email him at KRoberts@SouthingtonObserver.com