Boys hockey: Trumbull comes from behind to triumph

A pair of freshmen stepped up to lift the Trumbull High boys hockey team to a come-from-behind 3-2 win over the Milford co-op squad at Milford Ice Pavilion on Saturday.

After Milford struck twice in the opening period, first-year high schooler Jack McLean got the Eagle scoring started with an unassisted effort on the power play late in the second stanza.

McLean made a nifty move around a defender, skated across from the bottom of the right circle, and roofed a backhanded shot with 2:43 left in the middle period.

“That took a lot of poise for a freshman,” Trumbull coach Greg Maxey said.

Trumbull’s next two tallies, both in the third, came on efforts that followed close chances.

Senior Matt Mocker, 24 seconds after Milford goaltender Derek Ouellette stopped him on a breakaway, scored to tie the game. Alex Jackel assisted on the net-finder with 11:06 to go in the third.

McLean assisted fellow freshman Owen Finnegan with what turned out to be the game-winning tally with 8:45 to play.

Although it was a nice comeback effort by the Eagles, Maxey had a sense of relief to get the win after his team dropped a 9-1 decision to Watertown-Pomperaug in the season-opener a week earlier.

“We couldn’t come out of here with a loss. We already got lumped up by Watertown,” said Maxey, adding that his team needs to win games in which there are even matchups such as the battle with Milford.

Another freshman, John Guerrera, played a strong game for the Eagles.

Sophomore Marco Minopoli was key on the point during the power play, and in the back during penalty kills.

“They’ve gotten better and better,” Maxey said of his younger players.

Eric McCabe, a senior forward, dropped back to help out on defense and helped draw some of Milford’s penalties.

This game, which seemed to get more physical as the game wore on, was loaded with violations. The cross checking, roughing, interference, and other calls piled up. Power plays overlapped all afternoon. Each man-advantage seemed to be shorter-lived than the next, as players carved paths to the penalty boxes.

There are 22 lines designated for penalties on the scoresheet, and those lines don’t usually come close to filling up. On Saturday, however, scorekeeper/public address announcer Alan Longley actually had to add a 23rd line.

The whistles were pretty much even, with Milford whistled for a dozen calls and Trumbull for 11.

A shorthanded chance by Trumbull’s Alex Chopskie was nullified on one of the more fortuitous penalties committed by Milford.

Some of the penalties were retaliatory and/or changed momentum back to the opposing squad.

Both Milford and Trumbull were penalized twice in the final five minutes of regulation, as Milford tried to battle back and Trumbull looked to hold on.

“It was not great hockey for either team. Both teams took a lot of poorly-timed penalties,” Maxey said.

Despite all of the penalties, and because so many advantages were cut short by subsequent calls, McLean’s tally was the lone man-advantage marker.

Leo Thanasoulis made 24 saves; Milford outshot Trumbull 26-20. Milford fell to 1-2.