Hall-Southington hosted the Suffield-Granby-Windsor Locks Co-op team at Veterans Memorial Rink in West Hartford Monday night in an exciting contest that ended in overtime.
By Paul Palmer
If you’ve been around hockey, you’ve doubtless heard the phrase “Old Time Hockey.” Depending on your point of reference it can mean anything from players like Eddie Shore, to crusty Charlestown Chiefs owner Joe McGrath in the movie “Slapshot,” to a good old-fashioned physical game with scoring chances, penalties, and stellar goaltending.
Monday night’s boys game between Hall-Southington and Suffield-Granby-Windsor Locks (WGWL) was Old Time Hockey.
Duncan Hollander’s shorthanded, overtime goal coming on a 2-on-1 breakaway with Sean Roach with just 34.8 seconds to go capped off one of the year’s best all-around hockey games for the Warrior Knights (5-1-1). “I’m happy and just glad to be on the good side of this one,” said Hall coach Brian Cannon of his team’s 2-1 victory. “Our work ethic was there, but our execution was not sharp,” Cannon added.
Hollander’s heroics came after Cody Brew took a slashing penalty in his own defensive zone with 1:30 to go in OT and the score tied at 1. SGWL (4-4-1) coach Jake King called a time out to go over the plans for his team.
For nearly the first minute, the Wildcats applied the pressure to the Hall-Southington net, but couldn’t beat Noah Behrens-Gould and the Warrior Knights’ defense. But then the puck bounced out of the Hall-Southington zone, and Roach – skating backwards – gathered the puck in the center of the ice. He and Hollander then crossed the blue line, and Roach drew the defender to him before teeing up the pass to Hollander who buried the game winner past Cam Begley.
The first period saw the teams trade scoring chances and zone time. Owen Miller had an early chance for the Warrior Knights 4 minutes in when he got off a good scoring chance after a turnover by SGWL that Begley handled. At the other end, Behrens-Gould came up big with a blocker save off a rising shot by Mason Ferrari, and moments later gloved Mark McWhirter’s wrister. With just under 5 minutes to play in the first, the Warrior Knights went on the power play after Hudson Hollander was tripped up on the rush.
Hudson Hollander would have Hall-Southington’s best chance to score, but Begley’s stick save kept it scoreless through one period.
Early in the second period, defenseman Ethan Stagg broke up a centering try by the Wildcats and sent Hollander on his way down the ice. Hollander used his speed, and a nifty shift, to go around one defender at the blue line, before getting off his shot on goal.
Shortly after that play, the officials took over, calling a total three penalties in the next 1:34 and forcing both squads to showcase their special teams. The home team found itself defending in a 4-on-3 situation after two calls and SGWL looked to capitalize. The Wildcats moved the puck well in the offensive zone, and McWhirter had a good wraparound chance snuffed out by Behrens-Gould who held his post.
The netminder came up big later in the penalty kill with the shoulder save off Jordan Blais’s shot. Behrens-Gould’s play helped keep things scoreless after 30 minutes of play.
Cannon admitted to having some concerns about the game with his team coming in off a 5-0 over the weekend. “I kept saying I was worried about a letdown.” And it did not help that his team could not stay out of the penalty box. “That’s the most penalties (7) against us in a game this season,” Cannon added.
With the game on the line in the final 15 minutes, neither team was willing to give up the physical play and the frequent big hits that had been such a big part of the first two periods.
Less than 3 minutes into the period, Jake Beaudoin was whistled for tripping in his own defensive zone, putting SGWL back on the power play. Behrens-Gould had two particularly strong saves on the penalty kill, first knocking down McWhirter’s rising shot from the point, and then called for too many men on the ice and the two teams would skate four to a side.
Hall-Southington’s Duncan Hollander misfired on a good scoring chance in front, but at 5:47 of the third, Duncan Hollander’s floater found its way past Begley and the Warrior Knights had the game’s first goal.
With the hosts holding the lead, the visitors turned up the pressure and their efforts paid off when two Hall-Southington players went for a hit along the boards, but Ferrari avoided them and found Blais along the left side and he buried his shot to tie the game at 1 with 4:01 to go.
Hall-Southington nearly took the lead with 90 seconds to play when Austin Pszczolkowski’s shot rang off the post behind Begley, but Duncan Hollander couldn’t put away the rebound and the game was headed to overtime. Just 1:40 into the extra session, it was the post once again making a difference – this time denying Ben Wosko’s slap shot on a rolling puck just inside the point. The puck hit the left post behind Behrens-Gould and bounced back into the crease behind the goalkeeper who managed to locate it under his legs and close them over the puck before any damage could be done.
Just when it appeared the game would end in a hard-fought tie, Duncan Hollander sent the fans home happy with his game winner, setting off a wild on-ice celebration by the winners.
Hall-Southington has three more games left to play this season.
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