Ice Hockey: Warrior-Knights fall in CCC finals, win D-III opener

0
84
Matt Weir skates toward a loose puck in the crease during the CCC South semifinals on March 5 against Newington coop.

In recent memory, Hall-Southington boys hockey usually had WMRP’s number when it came to postseason play. The Eagles made sure to change that trend this season.

A year after being eliminated by the Warrior Knights in overtime of the CCC South semifinals, WMRP completed the season sweep of Hall-Southington and won their first ever conference title. WMRP already picked up 4-0 and 8-4 wins over Hall-Southington in the regular season, and the Warrior Knights still could not find an answer in the CCC South final.

Duncan Hollander tied the game at 1-1 with just seven seconds left in the first period. Then the Eagles came out flying in the second period. Aaron Cholewa and Dylan Reynolds each scored a goal in a span of a minute in the period.

Hollander scored his second goal of the game to try to keep the Warrior Knights in it, but Jack Healy of WMRP scored a momentum-crushing goal with 31 seconds left in the second period to make it 4-2 at the second intermission. Evan Partridge added one more for the Eagles at the 9:50 mark in the final period.

Hall-Southington got to the CCC South championship after defeating Newington coop in the semifinals. It was the Warrior Knights second straight victory of the season against Newington.

Advertisement

Hall-Southington, once again, was able to pick up a goal at the end of the period, but this one gave them the first intermission lead. A breakaway opportunity turned into a score for Christian Mohr with forty seconds left. It came 2:20 after Hall-Southington’s goalie, Noah Behrens-Gould made a save on a breakaway opportunity by Alex DiPaola of Newington.

After an uneventful second period, Behrens-Gould made another crucial save to begin the third period. Behrens-Gould made an initial save that popped the puck up in the air and he lost it. Sam Davies of Newington caught the rebound and fired another shot but Behrens-Gould was able to recover and stop it.

After Newington came up short on a power play, Duncan Hollander found an empty spot in the middle of Newington’s zone and had a clean look for Hall-Southington’s second goal with 12:06 left in the game. Just 37 seconds later, Ethan Stagg of Hall-Southington attempted a deep shot from the left and it found the back of the net for the 3-0 lead.

Both teams came up empty on power plays. Newington was eliminated in the first round of the Division III state tournament.

Hall-Southington picked up a win in their first round matchup against Staples in the Division III tournament by a count of 6-2. The No. 3 seeded Warrior Knights had another big first period to pick up the win, with three goals scored before the first intermission. Duncan Hollander had the hat trick after his two-goal effort in the CCC South championship.

Hall-Southington was scheduled to host Wilton in the Division III second round on Thursday, March 9, but the CIAC suspended all remaining winter sporting events due to concerns of the coronavirus. The Warrior Knights were able to end their season with a win, but a quest for their second state championship appearance in four years was cut short.

To comment on this story or to contact staff writer Spencer Dreher, email him at Sports@SouthingtonObserver.com.