NEWINGTON — Two of the state’s Division III powerhouse hockey programs faced off on Wednesday night as No. 3 Hall-Southington visited the No.1 Newington Co-op in front of a packed Newington Arena.
The Warrior Knights came in looking to avenge a 4-2 loss last week to Newington in West Hartford. Avenge they would, winning 4-1.
In the process, Hall-Southington halted the Indians’ 10-game winning streak and knocked Newington to 16-3-0 while improving to 13-5-0.
Hall-Southington’s win also helped No. 2 Sheehan, which improved to 15-3-1 with its 10-3 rout of North Branford on Wednesday.
For the Warrior Knights, six seconds were all it took to get the takedown of No. 1 Newington in motion. Hall-Southington’s Sean Roach streaked in for an unassisted goal at 14:54, beating the Newington netminder between the pads.
“During the national anthem, I was thinking, ‘What better way to start this game than with a goal,” said a smiling Roach, who would finish the day with two goals.
It wouldn’t get any better for the Indians. Hudson Hollander scored the second Hall-Southington goal of the stanza at 7:03, finishing on at the left post a feed from Cam Perez.
And of that wasn’t bad enough for Newington, Hall-Southington spent six minutes of the first period on the man advantage. Credit Newington’s penalty kill, though. The Indians didn’t give up a goal a man down.
They would, however, give up one more goal in the first period at full strength.
Newington’s best opportunity to claw back into the game in the first came when Hall-Southington’s Drew Nafis got two minutes for tripping at 11:58. Newington peppered goaltender Noah Behrens-Gould with a series of chances, but the sophomore netminder stood tall.
Once back at full strength, Hall-Southington notched its third goal of the stanza when Mason Woods scored with only 45 seconds left off an assist by Duncan Hollander, giving the Warrior-Knights a 3-0 lead heading into the first intermission.
In the second period, both teams settled in. The Indians had chances to get back in the game, including on a power play that went by the boards and a 3-on-1 stopped by Behrens-Gould.
While the scoring dried up in the second period, the physical play picked up, highlighted by two monster open-ice checks landed by Perez and Woods.
Roach extended the Hall-Southington lead to 4-0 with his second goal of the game 7:51 into the final period. Duncan Hollander and Cody Brew had the assists on that one.
Behrens-Gould, meanwhile, took the shutout deep into the third period, but a late goal by Sam Hedlund ended it at the 8:08 mark. It was too little, too late.
“That early goal from Sean right away was a punch to the gut,” said Hall-Southington coach Brian Cannon. “And it was tough that we lost the shut out for Behrens-Gould late, but he played great.”
And if the last two games weren’t enough, Hall-Southington and Newington have a chance to face off one more time next Thursday in the CCC South tournament.