Trumbull boys ice hockey tamed by Tigers, 4-1
The Trumbull High School boys ice hockey held the powerful Ridgefield Tigers to two goals in the first period, but they were unable to get any closer during Friday night's tilt at the Shelton Rink and fell 4-1.
"This stretch of the season is very hard," said THS head coach Greg Maxey. "We have it every year, so we know what to expect. These teams are deeper and usually better than us on paper. We had a tough time against New Canaan because we were banged up, but I thought we competed well in the Greenwich game and in the Darien game.
"Tonight we beat ourselves," added Maxey. "They are a good team, but most of the goals they scored were not based on the good things they did, but the bad things we did in our zone. Too many turnovers and too many bad passes in the zone. We do that with good teams like this and they will make you pay for it."
The Eagles were paced by sophomore Brady Jensen, who scored the lone goal for the team. On the other side of the puck, the Tigers picked up goals from senior Ryan Hallahan, senior Shane Luery, senior Paul Garlick and sophomore Harrison Chuma.
"Trumbull kept on fighting back in the first period and made it a close one coming into the second," Ridgefield head coach Shaun Gallagher said. "I thought our first line did a great job possessing the puck and getting really good opportunities today. The Trumbull goalie played well and think all in all it's good to get the victory tonight."
Although both teams came out strong to start the game, it was RHS that controlled play early and capitalized with 11:23 to play in the first. After the Trumbull defense was unable to get the puck out of the zone, Hallahan got the puck from senior Brandan Winnie and junior Alec Knupp and pushed the rebound past THS sophomore goalie Will Guttman for the 1-0 lead.
A minute later, Trumbull's Jensen attempted the breakaway after controlling the loose puck, but the RHS defense was there to end the threat just before Jensen took a shot.
The Trumbull defense was doing its part to keep it a one-goal game early. With 7:52 to play in the first, the Tigers were pushing the tempo and had several chances at the net, but the THS defensive duo of senior Samuel Watson and sophomore Jacob Liebowitz did a stellar job keeping the puck away from the net and stopping the Ridgefield offense in its tracks.
However with 5:28 left in the first, Ridgefield was able to add to its lead. Off a rebound from senior Matthew Keegans' shot, Luery came charging up from the blue line, gained control of the rebound and buried the shot in the back of the net for the goal.
Jensens answered Ridgefield's pressure a few minutes later. With 2:05 showing on the clock, Jensens beat a Ridgefield defender, pushed the puck to the net and faked out the RHS goalie for the goal and cut the lead in half.
"We pursued the puck really good and forechecked," Maxey said. "He is our most talented player up front and he's only a sophomore. He led the team in scoring last year as a freshman. He shoots the puck, has a nice shot and I thought he worked hard all game. He always tries to make something happen and had good support from his linemates."
Ridgefield grabbed control of the game in the first few seconds of the second period. With only 24 seconds gone by, Ridgefield was attacking the Trumbull zone. That's when senior Alex Fugazy passed the puck to Garlick, who got a open look at the net from point-blank range and netted the Tiger's third goal of the game.
The Tigers added one more goal in the third period with 10:41 to play to put the game out of reach.
"It's good that we were able to generate some scoring early," Gallagher said. "We just take it game by game. One thing you learn over the years is that anybody can win on any given day in high school hockey. So it was great to get the victory today. The kids come motivated every night and that's great."
Overall, Trumbull was outshot 35-11.
"We know that these games are always tough for us," Maxey said. "I told the kids that I don't care if we win or lose, but I just want them to compete. If we can do that against these teams, I think we will do very well against the Division II and Division III teams we play. I thought we competed today, but we just made too many mistakes. If we play at this level for the rest of the season, I think we will be fine in the tournament."