A one-goal lead did not hold up for the Joel Barlow High hockey team heading into the third period against Shepaug-Litchfield-Nonnewaug.
As the game wound down so did the Falcons’ strength last Wednesday, Jan. 9. With two key players out at that point the Falcons grew weary and their opponent took the opportunity to score the tying and winning goals as the visitors fell 4-3 at the Gunnery Rink in Washington.
It was Barlow’s fourth one-goal loss this season and third straight by a 4-3 score.
In the first period Barlow out-shot and outplayed Shepaug with great work down low. Russell Bennett took the a rebound of a shot by Tim Eng to score his team’s first goal. Eng would contribute in the same period on a one-timer set up by Charlie Berry.
Barlow had a sole breakdown that cost it a goal, losing the puck on a power-play and the Shepaug forward skated around to the front of the net and walked goalie Thierry Jean across the crease just to slot it back in the short side.
The second period was more evenly matched as both teams scored a goal. Barlow’s goal came from some hard work that led to a soft dump-in that slid right in the Shepaug goalie’s five-hole. Shepaug scored on the power-play when Jean had about three or four sets of legs in front of him.
Still in the second period, Bennett got hit roughly yet cleanly and was sidelined for the rest of the game. With a good hard check he flew into the boards. He would not play the third period but returned to play the next game.
Barlow came out slowly and tired into the third period. By that time defenseman Andrew Mallozzi was also sidelined due to possible injury. As the period went on Barlow wore down to very little energy, which allowed Shepaug to capitalize on its opportunities.
The tying goal came from a third rebound and the puck only just crossed the line. The game-winning goal came significantly late in the third period with only about four minutes left when a Shepaug forward snapped a wrist-shot towards the top corner of the net and Jean could not get enough of his glove on it to stop it completely as the puck just barely dribbled into the net.
Barlow’s chances for victory would not be as good when it visited Rockville-Bolton-Coventry-Lyman Memorial (RBCLM) a quad-op program that plays out of the Bolton Ice Arena. The home team put things out of reach in the second period before going on to win 9-1 on Saturday, Jan. 12.
The RBCLM team out-hit, shot, skated, and most of all played the Barlow squad. The first period ended with the hosts up just 2-0 but the two goals both came on strong shots that were hard for Jean to stop.
The second period was where it got really ugly. RBCLM turned it on and netted four goals in the top corners of the net. Barlow’s defense was running around in the zone and could not seem to clear the puck out even for an icing call. Jean made a couple of saves but they were not enough to keep the game close. Barlow scored its only goal on a five-on-three power-play courtesy of Will Sinsigalli. J.P. Shimko got the assist.
The third period came with ice time for Barlow’s back-up goalie Liam Murphy. Although he made a number of saves that were unexpected the young goalie met the same fate as Jean, allowing three goals in one period.
Tyler Valus was shaken up in that period with a check but did not complain of any post-game pain.
The Falcons remain winless so far but hope that they can claim a few wins as they continue forward and accumulate some more game time experience for their younger team. They host New Fairfield-Immaculate on Saturday at 4:20 p.m. at the Danbury Ice Arena, visit E.O. Smith-Tolland-Windham on Monday at the UConn hockey arena at 4 and take on Brookfield-Bethel-Danbury on Wednesday at 6:40 in Danbury.