Hockey: Barlow notches first win

Joel Barlow High’s Tyler Valus looks to clear the puck during a hockey game against New Fairfield-Immaculate on Saturday, Jan. 19. Barlow won 4-2, its first victory of the season.—Scott Mullin photo

Joel Barlow High’s Tyler Valus looks to clear the puck during a hockey game against New Fairfield-Immaculate on Saturday, Jan. 19. Barlow won 4-2, its first victory of the season.—Scott Mullin photo

An early deficit did not get the Joel Barlow High hockey team down in its game against New Fairfield-Immaculate.

The Falcons trailed by two goals in the first period but came roaring back, not allowing their opponent to score again while adding four of their own for a 4-2 win on Saturday, Jan. 19, on Military Appreciation Night at the Danbury Ice Arena.

The win was Barlow’s first of the season and also stopped a seven-game losing streak.

“You have to believe,” said head coach Pete Maxfield. You can’t just wish, you can’t just hope you can’t just want, you have to believe. Success and winning are contagious.”

The Falcons came out with a brand new warm-up, which may have played the intimidation factor as they looked faster and stronger. The crowd was pretty packed compared to most games that Barlow has played and it was a major confidence booster for the younger players.

Despite the  new warm-up that Maxfield had in play the team came out to a slow start. New Fairfield-Immaculate put in two goals against goalie Thierry Jean on straight forward shots to the top corners.

The first came as a New Fairfield-Immaculate forward picked up the puck along the boards and fed it out front to captain Bailey Brown. Brown, known to have speed and a quick shot, who netted it back on the blocker side of Jean.

Barlow’s coaches had actually discussed this with the players before the game and were trying to make sure that they would limit Brown’s offensive production. The second goal came as Brown picked up the puck off of a redirection and shot blocker side on a one-on-one with a Barlow defenseman. After that Jean would close out the period with no more goals and a couple of saves.

The Falcons must have gotten an ear full in-between periods because they came out for the second period with all cylinders firing. Dan Cirino, who is just returning for the second game after injury, had the puck behind the net and decided to go for a wrap-around just to see what would happen. The puck ended up on the front of the goalie’s pad and was jammed into the net for Barlow’s first goal.

This got Barlow really fired up as it came right back into the game. With the momentum going its way Barlow scored another goal in the second courtesy of Charlie Berry on an pass by J.P. Shimko. Berry took the puck down on a break-away and did not have the time to pull off a deke so he snapped it up top for a bar-down goal to tie it up.

The Falcons failed to convert on a five-on-three power play, where they had their most nail biting moment. The puck squirted past the defense to be recovered by Brown, who came on a break-away towards Jean.

Jean heeded the words of his coaches and thought shot first, coming out to the hash-marks to cut down the angle against Brown, who had no other option but to shoot right into Jean’s chest.

With the momentum going their way the Falcons decided to take the game in the third. Eighteen seconds into the period  Berry  notched his second of the night to give Barlow the lead.

Only moments later he would again score a goal in the same fashion as the first on a bar-down snipe. That completed Berry’s hat-trick and the scoring for the night.

Things got scrappy though near the end of the game as New Fairfield-Immaculate was getting frustrated with its lack of offense before Barlow closed out the game.

Barlow, now 1-7 overall, hopes to claim another win against Newtown on Wednesday at 8:50 p.m. in Danbury.

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