Hall-Southington Erases Early Deficit to Win on Senior Day

Hall-Southington celebrates after tying the game late in the first period against E.O. Smith-Tolland. Feb. 29, 2020. Photo credit: Lisa Lowry

Senior defenseman Cam Perez tallied two assists, helping the Warrior-Knights earn a comeback victory Saturday at Veterans Memorial Skating Rink.

Family and friends hold signs celebrating senior forward Marco Fusciello on Senior Day. Feb. 29, 2020. Photo credit: Lisa Lowry

By Marlon Pitter

Junior forward Sean Roach tallied three points (two goals, assist) as Hall-Southington scored four unanswered goals to erase an early deficit and beat E.O. Smith-Tolland 4-2 on Senior Day Saturday afternoon in West Hartford.

The Warrior-Knights (13-5) struggled out of the gate, giving up two goals in the first eight minutes of the game. Blake Alexander won an offensive zone faceoff and scored unassisted to put the Bucks (6-13-1) ahead 1-0 at the 10:38 mark. Cam Sterling added a shorthanded goal for E.O. Smith-Tolland with 7:12 remaining.

Hudson Hollander scored for Hall-Southington at the 1:01 mark to cut the margin in half. Tommy Nardi notched his first career goal to tie the game 2-2 with 9.3 seconds remaining.

“I think we came out distracted and caught up in the atmosphere of Senior Day and whatnot and got off to a slow start,” said Hall-Southington head coach Brian Cannon. “We got better in the second period, but what slowed us down a little bit was taking a few minor penalties. Otherwise, I think we could have really done something with the second period, but we kind of shot ourselves in the foot.

“Third period, we played decently. Gave them more than two opportunities I would have liked to not see happen, but after the first two goals, whenever we needed him Noah [Behrens-Gould] was there to back us up. All in all, every win is good. It’s just this one wasn’t pretty.”

Hall-Southington took three minor penalties in the second period but grabbed a 3-2 lead on a 4-on-4 goal by Roach with 23.7 seconds left. Defenseman Cam Perez assisted on the tally.

“I was dog tired,” said Roach. “I was coming on the ice, and I don’t pray a lot – I’m not religious – but I came up and I went, ‘You know what, God? Please, just give me something.’ I saw my chance, I cut in, and it happened to go in.”

Roach found the net again on a power play with 10:52 remaining in the third period to make it 4-2. Perez and fellow defenseman Cody Brew earned assists on the goal.

The Warrior-Knights outshot the Bucks 32-19 in the contest. Hall-Southington goalie Noah Behrens-Gould stopped 17 of 19 shots faced.

Team captain and one of six seniors on the roster, Liam Stone reflected on his experience playing for Hall-Southington. Along with Stone, Marco Fusciello, Christian Mohr, Matthew Weir, Mason Woods, and Perez comprise the Warrior-Knights’ Class of 2020.

“Mainly, for me, it’s become a family,” Stone said. “I look forward to it every year. When school starts, I just want to get to the winter. It’s just being able to come to the rink every day and spend a couple hours with those guys and really making some friendships that I wouldn’t ever have gotten because they go to different schools.”

Likewise, Cannon lauded his senior class and understood their emotional response to the pregame ceremony and atmosphere.

“Two of our seniors were single-year players. They came back from club teams or a hiatus and played. That was Matt Weir and Cam Perez,” Cannon said. “It was great to have them on here. The other guys have been through the program, and I think they really value their time. They still don’t even know just how much they value to their time until we get down to that last game that we play and then it hits them like a hammer.

“I thought that they showed a lot of emotion today – maybe too much emotion over Senior Day – but they know that that’s their last regular-season home game. Come states we’ll be back in here to play, and I think everything will be back to normal. We just have to perform every game because it’s one and done.”

Enjoying a successful season with two regular-season games left before the CCC South and Division III tournaments, Stone said the team simply wants to play its brand of hockey and hope for the best down the stretch. Hall-Southington will travel to McMahon-Norwalk on Monday and JBWA (Joel Barlow-Weston-Abbott Tech co-op) on Wednesday before heading into postseason play.

“I just think we’ve gotta remember a championship isn’t the end of the world if we don’t get all the way or if we do make it and don’t come out on the top side of it,” said Stone. “We’ve just gotta remember we’re here having fun and that’s what this is about. We’ve just gotta play our game and have fun doing it, and hopefully we’ll end up where we want to be.”

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Hall-Southington hockey vs. E.O. Smith-Tolland. Feb. 29, 2020. Photo credit: Lisa Lowry

Hall-Southington hockey vs. E.O. Smith-Tolland. Feb. 29, 2020. Photo credit: Lisa Lowry

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Marlon Pitter

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