NORTHFORD — 41.
That’s the number by which the Lyman Hall/Haddam-Killingworth hockey team was outshot in Monday afternoon’s 4-1 loss to SCC Division III opponent Masuk at the Northford Ice Pavilion.
Masuk, which improved to 5-2 with the win, outshot the Trojans 54-13 over three periods. The Panthers held a 21-1 shot advantage in the first frame alone, and the Trojans were doomed to fall to 3-5 despite solid play from their goaltender, Zach O’Toole, who piled up 50 saves.
Masuk’s Charlie Cristo put the first points on the board when he found the back of the net with 1:23 remaining in the opening period on assist from teammate Dan Zakrzewski.
Lyman Hall/Haddam –Killingworth caught a break midway through the second period when a Shane Dushay goal at 6:28 was called off due to a Masuk high-sticking penalty in front of the net.
An additional Panther penalty shortly thereafter gave LHK a 5-3 man advantage with about 5:30 to go in the second. The Trojans, however, couldn’t capitalize on the power-play opportunity.
“I told the guys before the game that we had to execute on the power play,” said LHK first year coach Rich Minnix, “We just didn’t do that today.”
Joe DaMota, the Masuk player called for high-sticking on Dushay’s voided goal earlier in the second frame, make up for his mistake when he scored a power play goal with 1:29 left in the stanza, giving the Panthers a 2-0 lead heading into the third.
Dushay wouldn’t be outdone by his teammate, scoring an unassisted breakaway goal just 1:21 into the start of the final period, pushing the Masuk lead to 3-0.
The Trojans scored their lone goal of the afternoon at the 12:50 mark on an unassisted Nick Baccarro shot on the right side of the ice.
Masuk’s Christo scored his second goal of the game just 31 seconds following Baccarro’s, on assists from Zakrzewski and Dave Reid, to close it out.
One of the bright spots for the Trojans on Monday was O’Toole. Only a sophomore, O’Toole made an impressive 50 saves on the afternoon.
“He’s a great player,” Minnix said of his net-minder, “We are lucky that he’s only a sophomore and we are going to have him around for another couple of years. He stopped 50 of 54 shots tonight. You can’t ask more of a goalie.”
At the other end, Masuk’s Conner Muller had to tally only 12 saves.
“We need to improve in our power play and special teams,” Minnix said reflecting on the season thus far. “We show a lot of intensity out there and the guys work hard. We just need to capitalize on the opportunities we have before us.”