NORTH BRANFORD — Lyman Hall hockey coach Dave Sagnella’s talk to his team in between the first and second periods Wednesday could be heard throughout Northford Ice Pavilion.
His Trojans trailed visiting North Branford 2-0 despite out-shooting the Thunderbirds 15-7 and enjoying three power plays, including a lengthy two-man advantage.
To make matters worse for LH, North Branford’s Max Maisano scored with 8.6 seconds to go in the first period with his team down two skaters. It was Maisano who assisted on the game’s first goal, scored by Dakota Cooper, at 10:28.
Then Sagnella gave his speech and the Trojans responded to finish the game with five straight goals to post a 5-2 in the SCC/SWC Division II victory.
Junior Jack Roberts and senior Aidan Weir each had two goals as the Trojans improved to 2-1 and the T’birds fell to 0-2.
Roberts, who had a hand in all five goals, added three assists. Weir had two helpers.
LH took the lead in quick order in the second period with three goals over a 47-second span.
”We needed to take advantage of our special teams,” Sagnella said. “They were pretty much putting the game on a platter for us. I told the guys to stick with the system and stop trying to do your own thing. Special teams was the reason for the turnaround.”
The Trojans drew two more penalties early in the second stanza, generating a second two-man advantage, and this time they cashed in.
Senior forward Kevin Stoddard found the back of the net first for the Trojans. Roberts had the assist. Stoddard’s goal came on a 5-on-3 scenario with 11:25 on the clock.
Fifteen seconds later, Weir tied the game from close range with the Trojans on a 5-on-4 advantage. Kenny Mackenzie and Roberts were credited with helpers on Weir’s equalizer.
Just 22 seconds later, Roberts put LH ahead 3-2 with a tally off of a rebound with the teams at even strength. Tommy Ralston and Weir picked up assists on the go-ahead tally.
LH goalie Brendan Reddington made a couple big stops to help kill off two North Branford powerplays in the second. The senior had 30 saves in the win.
“I kept the puck in front of me,” Reddington said. “The defense, after the first period, did a good job pushing everything outside and making it really easy for me. I got lucky sometimes, but what ever works, works.”
Sagnella said Reddington played outstanding in net.
“Without him, it would have been a whole different game,” Sagnella said. “It was a gut-check for the guys today and they responded.”
North Branford goalie Aidan Geist (25 saves) made three pad saves and a glove save during Lyman Hall’s power play in the closing minutes of the second period to keep it a 3-2 Lyman Hall advantage.
Reddington opened the final period with two stellar saves on North Branford’s Nick Poulin. Reddington’s second save of the period was on a full body dive in which he froze the puck under his body.
Shortly after, Roberts netted his second goal of the game. The score came with 11:10 left in the third and put the Trojans up 4-2. Weir set up the goal with the initial pressure into the North Branford zone to collect his second assist.
“We didn’t start off really well, but we picked it up at the end,” Roberts said. “We weren’t playing to our full potential in the first period. We knew we could have played a lot better to start the game.”
North Branford had a 5-on-3 with four minutes to go in the contest. The Trojans killed it off and Weir later capped the scoring assisted by Roberts with 1:38 left.
“It wasn’t pretty, but we got the W,” Weir said. “We came out really flat and coach told us not to do that again. After that, we did a good job staying out of the box, kept our heads up and we gave good pressure. The forecheck helped us out tonight.”
The Trojans skate again on Saturday against East Haven Co-Op at Northford. Puck drop is 5:15.