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Northwest Catholic Scores Early, Holds Off Conard

Conard hockey vs. Northwest Catholic. Feb. 8, 2020. (Photo credit: Marlon Pitter)

Connor Melanson scored twice to help the Northwest Catholic boys hockey team beat West Hartford rival Conard.

By Marlon Pitter

Northwest Catholic took an early lead and held off Conard to earn a 5-2 win Saturday afternoon at Veterans Memorial Skating Rink in West Hartford.

Connor Melanson scored twice for the Lions, while Cam Barone added two assists. Colum Flaherty led the Chieftains with two assists.

The Lions took six penalties for a combined 15 minutes of penalty time, including a five-minute major in the second period, which Northwest Catholic head coach Dan Melanson said the team had to overcome to beat Conard (1-12-1).

“It’s tough playing when you get that many penalties,” said Melanson. “But we managed to tie the second period with them and got a good jump in the first period, so that put us ahead. [We were] able to put one in in the third period to keep us on the upside.”

Luke Gfeller scored 42 seconds into the game to put Northwest Catholic (6-8) ahead 1-0. Quinn Heagney added a goal halfway through the first period to give the Lions a 2-0 lead into the second.

Connor Melanson scored his first goal of the game 15 seconds into the second period while the teams skated four-on-four due to penalties carried over from the previous period.

Jonathan Sorgio got the Chieftains on the board, scoring at the 13:03 mark to make it 3-1. Jack McDermott extended Northwest Catholic’s lead, adding a goal to make it 4-1 less than 30 seconds later.

The Lions took a five-minute major penalty for slashing and a two-minute minor for cross-checking late in the period, giving Conard a two-man advantage. Owen Fernandez took advantage of the opportunity, scoring a power-play goal with 3:09 remaining to cut the margin to 4-2.

Melanson tallied his second goal of the game with 8:05 remaining in the third period to effectively seal the game for the Lions.

“Our team actually brought a lot of energy today,” said Conard head coach Jason Olson. “I thought we forechecked really hard. We played physical. We played fast. We created a lot of turnovers. Unfortunately, we couldn’t capitalize on a lot of them, but I think that really gave us a lot of … momentum and it gave us a lot of opportunities.”

Despite recording just one win through 14 games, Olson said the players are continuing to persevere during a trying season.

“I walk into the locker room after this game and they’re upset because they still expect to go out and win games, which is good when you’re this far into a season that hasn’t gone your way,” he said. “They still believe. They still fight. They fight for each other. They want to win games. They want to do the right things, so the attitude’s been great.”

Northwest Catholic will travel to face Notre Dame-West Haven (11-4) Monday night. Conard will host East Catholic (6-7) Wednesday night.

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Marlon Pitter

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