By KEVIN ROBERTS
Hall-Southington ice hockey put in a tremendous effort against Woodstock Academy on the night of Jan. 28 at the Veteran’s Memorial Ice Rink in West Hartford.
Unfortunately for the Warrior-Knights, the Centaurs were able to score the important goals and take the 4-2 win.
The game was much closer than the final score indicated. It was tied 2-2 until 7:23 left in the third period, when Woodstock’s Matt Odom scored to put the visitors ahead 3-2. Hall-Southington put in an extra attacker to try to get the equalizer, but Odom’s empty-netter with 13.9 seconds left put the game away.
“They played up, they played aggressive, they asserted themselves, and they did a lot of the right stuff,” coach Brian Cannon said of his team.
The effort can’t be faulted at all. The passing was good, the defense played hard, and the hitting was better than Hall-Southington had shown all year. The Warrior-Knights gave a lot more than they got when it came to physical play, and it showed after the game when several players needed to get ice for their bumps and bruises.
“I think we gave out two or three times more than we took, but even when you’re delivering them, you’re feeling some of, it too,” Cannon said.
Sam Kerrigan and Bobby Allan scored a goal apiece for Hall-Southington. Allan, Christian Mohr and Sam Kursman had an assist apiece, and Noah Behrens-Gould made 26 saves for the Warrior-Knights.
“The kids for the most part the last couple games have been playing better and better and better and better,” Cannon said. “I think today was even better than the effort against Enfield the other day when we won big.”
Hall-Southington was finally rewarded for its efforts on Jan. 31 when it defeated the East Haven co-op 5-4 in overtime at the always hostile DiLungo Rink in East Haven. Freshman Cody Brew skated in on the right wing on a broken play and rifled a shot past the East Haven goalie for the game-winning goal with 1:38 left in the overtime period.
Hall-Southington had to show some perseverance after blowing a 4-1 second period lead. East Haven scored three straight goals, the last by Ryan Egan with 3:17 left in regulation to tie the game. The Yellowjackets forced overtime, but the Warrior-Knights were able to get the last goal and win the game.
“They were excited,” Cannon said. “It’s a great win, except that we blew a 4-1 lead.”
Bobby Allan and Mason Woods put Hall-Southington ahead 2-0 early in the second period. Allan scored off assists from Sean Roach and Michael DiPietro with 11:06 left in the first period. Woods tallied his goal off a Sam Kerrigan assist with 14:20 left in the second period. East Haven’s Alex Spears scored off a Chad Feola assist to make the score 2-1 with 7:32 left in the second period.
Hall-Southington answered the East Haven score two-fold with goals from DiPietro and Duncan Hollander to go ahead 4-1. DiPietro scored off an Allan assist with 6:21 left in the second period. Hollander’s unassisted goal came just 28 seconds later and gave the Warrior-Knights their three-goal lead.
“When we were moving the puck and moving our feet, we were controlling the pace of the game,” Cannon said.
East Haven’s Ricky Persico scored 21 seconds later on a Spears assist to make the score 4-2. Amatruda scored his second goal of the game with 10:24 left in the third period to get the Yellowjackets to within 4-3, then Egan connected with 3:17 remaining to tie the game.
“We turned the puck over two times and they scored,” Cannon said. “It took all of our momentum away, then the penalties start.”
Hall-Southington had eight penalties to three for East Haven. All of the game’s penalties occurred in the second and third periods. The Warrior-Knights were a man down when the Yellowjackets tied the game at the 3:17 mark of the third period. It was the third straight penalty called on the visitors in the third period.
Behrens-Gould made 39 saves for Hall-Southington while Logan Hamilton had 29 saves for East Haven. East Hampton, Morgan, Old Lyme, Old Saybrook and Valley Regional are also part of the East Haven co-op, which suited up just 13 players for the game.
Up next: Hall-Southington (5-8) hosted an EO Smith team it defeated earlier this season on Wednesday night. On Saturday, the Warrior-Knights entertain the Eastern CT Eagles at 1:10 p.m. at Veteran’s in West Hartford. It’s the second game in a stretch of four straight at home.
To comment on this story or to contact staff writer Kevin Roberts, email him at KRoberts@SouthingtonObserver.com