For the first time in several years, West Hartford’s Conard High School and crosstown rival Hall/Southington met in boys hockey.
By Paul Palmer
Hall/Southington used a late power play goal, and strong team defense lead by Noah Behrens-Gould in goal to hold off Conard in a President’s Day boys hockey showdown at Veterans Memorial Rink in West Hartford.
The senior goalie turned aside 35 of 36 Chieftain shots to help his team move to 2-0-1 on the season. “He played well,” Hall/Southington coach Brian Cannon said of his goalie. “But we need to give him a little more help.”
Less than 30 seconds into the game, Conard freshman Emory Sirman was injured in a scary play. Sirman was slashed by the Warrior-Knights’ Tom Nardi and crashed hard into Behrens-Gould and the goal. After several minutes on the ice, Sirman was assisted to the locker room and did not return.
On the ensuing power play, Conard applied good pressure to the Hall/Southington goal but could not score. At the other end of the ice Conard goalie Graydon Selstad was kept busy, turning aside some solid chances by the Warrior-Knights, including Sean Roach’s hard, low shot.
Conard appeared to have taken the lead about 10 and a half minutes into the first, but the goal was wiped out by a penalty called on Aiden Shaffer that put Hall/Southington on the powerplay. Roach took advantage with the senior forward scoring a sweet goal on the wraparound putting the Knights up 1-0. But Conard did not take long to answer, and just 51 seconds later it was Owen McGoldrick finding the back of the net to tie things at 1, and that is how the period would end.
The second period featured some good goaltending at both ends of the ice. Hall/Southington was able to kill off back-to-back penalties to keep the game tied at the end of 30 minutes. Conard held a 32-19 shot advantage as the teams prepared for the third period.
Just 2:06 into the third, Conard’s James Robinson took a tripping penalty and as the man advantage was expiring, Hall/Southington would go ahead on co-captain Tom Nardi’s goal.
Shortly after, Conard’s McGoldrick would be denied on the breakaway by Behrens-Gould as he cut down the angle to force McGoldrick to shoot wide. The Chieftain offense picked it up about halfway into the period and nearly tied it from a scramble at the side of the net.
Later, Behrens-Gould would shine one more time with a dazzling pad save on a 2-on-1 shot from Sam Heller with just 3:30 remaining.
Conard coach Jason Olson pulled his goalie with about 1:30 left to play, and Hall/Southington’s Cody Brew capped off a solid game by launching a shot from his own blue line that found its way into the empty net for the 3-1 final score.
“He’s been having a pretty good run,” said Cannon of his junior defenseman. Cannon also singled out forward Matt Ganey for his continued strong work.
Things don’t get any easier for Conard (1-2-0) as they meet unbeaten Enfield Co-op on Wednesday.
After the game, Olson said he liked what he saw from his defense and how they moved the puck out of the zone, but he added, “We need to stay as a unit and attack as a group.”
Hall/Southington held Conard to just four shots on goal in the final period and is off until next Monday when they once again face the Chieftains.
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