Boys hockey: Trumbull

Trumbull High lost to Branford High, 6-2, in a non-league boys hockey game at the Northford Pavilion on Dec. 20.

Brady Jensen and Sam Watson both scored a goal and an assist for the Eagles.

Senior Captain Tyler Criscuolo and sophomore Zach Withington each netted three goals for the Hornets. Cooper Bunton had two assists and William Benni had one for Branford.

The score didn’t tell the whole story for the Eagles, who outshot Branford 25-24 and had three power-play opportunities but could not capitalize.

“The game was closer than the score, which is unfortunate but we made our own mistakes,” said Trumbull coach Greg Maxey.

“Hopefully it was because we’re young and we’re going to get better. I like what some of the kids did. You don’t want to lose like that because we didn’t really play that badly.

“Watson hit the crossbar three times. Jensen was our leading scorer last year as a freshman and we’re trying to find guys they can play with. That’s the biggest problem right now.”

Withington scored first for the Hornets, two minutes and 45 seconds into the game when he won the faceoff, slid along the blue lime and snuck the puck past Eagle goalie Francis Fromageot’s left blocker for the goal.

One minute and 25 seconds later, Withington scored again as he found himself in a 1-on-2 situation at the blue line. He split the defenders and went top shelf for the score.

Trumbull answered with 8:32 seconds to play in the first when Watson found Jensen, who faked like he was going around the back of the net and snuck it past A.J. Brink’s stick for the score.

In the final three minutes of the period, Trumbull penalties gave Branford two consecutive power plays. The Eagles defense nullified the man-advantage and kept the puck out of the net.

The second Branford power play of the first period, spilled over into the second and as it ended, 30 seconds later, Criscuolo scored on a breakaway to make it a 3-1 Branford game.

With nine minute remaining, the Eagles got back-to-back power-play opportunities but could not capitalize as shots from Jake Crowe rang off the post.

As the second power play ended, Withington scored his third to make it 4-1. Three minutes later, Criscuolo’s wraparound goal made it 5-1 with three minutes left in the second period.

The Eagles kept attacking with shots from Matt Mocker, Nick Cirino, and a wraparound try from Martin Birnbach, but none would go in the net. Trumbull finished the period on the power play and it spilled over into the third.

“In the second period, we hit the crossbar four times,” Maxey said. “We can’t catch a break and we get a 5-on-3 and we don’t make anything out of it. We didn’t make them pay on the power plays.

“They gave us power plays but we didn’t take advantage of them. I thought we had some good opportunities, unfortunately the score was worse than I thought we played.”

In the third, the Eagles could not capitalize on the man-advantage with shots from Matt Sarosky and Crowe.

After another power play began with 12 minutes remaining, Watson scored on a wrister from the dead-angle zone near the red line, shooting high into the upper right corner of the net for the score. Jensen had the assist.

The Eagles continued to attack with shots from Watson and Eric McCabe, but Criscuolo scored his third with nine minutes to ply, taking the wind out of Trumbull’s sails.

“We have a lot of young kids,” Maxey said. “We have some freshmen playing big minutes. They struggled a little bit but they have some good, big kids that put some pressure on us and they made some mistakes.

“The first half of the first period they were all over us. They got two quick ones, not necessarily good ones but quick ones. I thought we settled down after that.”