NEWINGTON - The first game of the season for both the Hall-Southington hockey team and the Newington co-op came down to the wire. Each period felt like a completely different game, but in the end it was the Warrior-Knights that made the big play in the third to take the 3-2 victory Wednesday night.
The score was 2-2 at the start of the third period and Newington had the puck in Hall-Southington’s defensive end for much of the third, but the Warrior-Knights only needed one opportunity. On a pass from Dusty Kilgore, captain Jeremy Fortin buried a wrist shot to give Hall-Southington a lead it wouldn’t relinquish with just 6:36 left in the game.
“We didn’t have all that many chances today but the ones we did have we took advantage of them,” Hall-Southington head coach Brian Cannon said.
Newington was the team that dominated in that area of the game. The Indians outshot the Warrior-Knights 27 to nine, however, Newington’s inability to finish that proved to be the difference in this one.
“We created plenty of opportunities,” Newington head coach David Harackiewicz said. “We just weren’t able to finish nearly enough.”
One of the big reasons the Indians had trouble finishing was because of Southington-Hall goalie Zach Monti. The junior net minder let a couple of shots through but was mostly brilliant in the game.
“I was in pretty good position today,” said Monti, who finished the game with 25 saves. “I think I was able to see the puck pretty well and the defense did a good job of making it pretty easy.”
Southington came out in the first period and looked like it might run away with the game. Andrew Mitchell got the Warrior-Knights on the board just over five minutes into the game and Mile Aronow added to that lead later in the period off of a perfect feed from Nathan Zmarlicki. With those two goals and the way Monti was playing (10 saves in the first period), it seemed like Newington was in trouble.
Newington though, converted on a couple of early chances in the second period. Patrick Doherty got the Indians on the board less than two minutes into the second period and Alex Borselle added a breakaway goal two minutes later to tie the score just like that.
“I think we just kind of woke up,” said Borselle about the difference between the first and second periods. “We came out in the second period and were more aggressive and more into it.”
The turning point in the game though, was at the end of the second period when Newington had a 5-on-3 opportunity but was unable to score. Overall the Indians went 0-5 on the power play with the 5-on-3 was the most glaring because the team didn’t even have many chances during those two minutes of action.
“I think we were just sloppy with the puck during that 5-on-3,” Harackiewicz said. “We had our chances throughout that game but during that power play we never really had a shot.”
“That was huge,” Monti said. “We had three of our best players out there with me and they did a great job of icing the puck. That was a big moment in the game.”
The game was a hard fought one from start to finish but in the end it is Hall-Southington that starts its season off with a victory, while Newington will have to go back to the drawing board.
“We played a sloppy game,” Cannon said. “I don’t think we played as well as I could have liked. It’s always nice to get a win but we have a lot we need to work on.”
Michael Woolfson can be reached at (860) 801-5203 or firstname.lastname@example.org
On Twitter: @bigwoolf5