The Joel Barlow High hockey team’s hard work in practice has paid off in the last couple of games and it showed in its speed and defense.
While defense was not a weak point some corrections were needed. The Falcons have found ways to eliminate virtually all of those mistakes recently, resulting in games that were a lot closer than expected.
Barlow fell into a 5-2 loss against New Milford in a close battle last Thursday, Jan. 31. The visitors scored first on a low shot by J.P. Shimko.
The New Milford forwards managed to score a tying goal in the first period only moments later. The second period ended in a similar fashion with both teams scoring one apiece.
With the score tied 2-2 in the third the New Milford coaches started to feel a bit nervous as Barlow was said to be “out of its league.” However, fatigue began to set in.
The Barlow team, exhausted from the tough game play, broke down in the third to allow three goals.
Barlow was back on the ice two days later against Sheehan, losing a 6-1 decision at Choate Rosemary Hall in Wallingford.
The first period ended with the Titans up 2-1 as Barlow was struggling to maintain its composure against the rushing forwards. The second period would again be a battle as the scoreboard read 3-1.
For the second straight game Barlow would break down in the third period, allowing another three goals.
On Monday the Falcons stopped their skid as they beat Byram Hills (N.Y.) in narrow 1-0 decision.
“The team as a whole seemed to come together and really perform,” said alternate captain Dan Cirino who was sidelined that game to rest his knee after an injury earlier in the season.
The team played tight defense and had a solid forecheck. Russell Bennett, who was moved up to the first lane to replace Cirino, would go on to score the game’s only goal in the third period.
The game was a battle fought mainly in Byram’s end but it would get a few chances to score. Goalie Thierry Jean would put up his first shut-out of the season, stopping all 20 shots.
Barlow, now 2-12, hosts Housatonic-Northwestern-Wamogo on Saturday at 6 p.m. at the Danbury Ice Arena and is home to Newtown on Tuesday at 7:50.