By KEVIN ROBERTS
“It’s the same old story, same old song and dance.” —Aerosmith
Steven Tyler first recorded those lyrics from the song “Same Old Song And Dance” on Aerosmith’s “Get Your Wings” album in 1974, and unfortunately they do a good job of summing up Hall-Southington ice hockey’s season.
Coach Brian Cannon quoted those lyrics during an intermission of a Feb. 20 road game against the Newington co-op.
The Warrior-Knights lost 2-1 to the Indians inside the Newington Ice Arena and watched their CIAC Division II state tournament hopes vanish. Hall-Southington needed wins in each of its final two games to qualify. The Warrior-Knights finished the regular season with a 3-0 loss to Cheshire this past Saturday at Wesleyan University. Hall-Southington’s final regular season record is 5-13-2.
“The things that have kept us from having the success we want are penalties and poor offensive attack in the zone,” Cannon said following the Newington game. “We just have not been getting the puck moving across the crease, making goalies move, getting guys in position. For the last month, we’ve done nothing but work on that, and still, we’re not getting it.”
Cannon said Hall-Southington had played well for the past seven games, including Newington, but not well enough. Outside of the third period of an 8-4 defeat against the Eastern CT Eagles on Feb. 9, the Warrior-Knights have been in games until the end. In those seven games, however, Hall-Southington had a record of 1-4-2.
“It’s discouraging, because we’re a better team than we’ve had success, but at the same time, success is your ultimate measure of just how good you are,” Cannon said.
Hall-Southington trailed Newington by a goal after one period, but quickly went on the attack to start the second period. The first and second shots on goal didn’t go, but a sweet shot from the left side by Kent Silva found the net and tied the game, 1-1. Chris Gambardella and Christian Mohr assisted on Silva’s goal, which came 25 seconds into the second period. Newington retook the lead, 2-1, with 11:23 left in the second period. Cannon liked the way Hall-Southington played, but the Warrior-Knights couldn’t get the tying goal.
“We played well down the stretch, we played some good games, but we continue to have problems with our net attack and creating scoring chances,” Cannon said. “We had a number of shots high and wide today in the open.”
Newington goalie Alex DiPaola made 27 saves while Hall-Southington’s Noah-Behrens Gould tallied 18 saves. For the most part, the defense played well in front of Behrens-Gould, according to Cannon. The Warrior-Knights also didn’t commit a penalty for the first time all season.
“They were getting the puck up, they were standing up in the neutral zone,” Cannon said. “Other than one or two or three stretches over the course of the game, they didn’t have a lot of zone time on us, but there was a lot of neutral zone time played by both teams.”
That large amount of zone time meant less time for setting up scoring opportunities. Hall-Southington was only able to take advantage of one of those situations, and as a result it saw its state postseason hopes dashed. Behrens-Gould recorded 34 saves for the Warrior-Knights in their loss to Cheshire this past Saturday.
Up next: Hall-Southington did have at least one more game left before they hang up their skates. The Warrior-Knights were scheduled to play WMRP (Wethersfield-Middletown-Rocky Hill-Plainville) in a CCC South semifinal game on Thursday at the Newington Ice Arena.
To comment on this story or to contact staff writer Kevin Roberts, email him at KRoberts@SouthingtonObserver.com