Boys hockey Bruins get over The Hill
With 18 games in the books and 10 remaining, the Brunswick School hockey team knows now is the time for it to round into top form, play its best hockey and make a significant push for the postseason.
A victory over The Hill School Monday night was certainly another step in the right direction for the defending NEPSAC Division I Large School champion Bruins.
Sparked by a two-goal second period, Brunswick extended its winning streak to three games, skating by Hill, 4-3, before a spirited home crowd at Hartong Rink.
Monday’s victory, which counted in the conference standings for the Bruins, raised Brunswick’s mark to 7-5-4 in the NEPSHIA and 8-6-4 overall.
“It’s our first three-game winning streak of the year and we have eight league games left,” Bruins coach Mike Kennedy said. “We’re on the verge of a playoff spot, so we have to keep on winning.”
Their duel against Hill was Brunswick’s first game in seven days.
“The boys came out ready to play, it’s always tough coming out after exam week,” Kennedy said. “We hadn’t been on the ice for a game in about a week and as a coach you worry about the team being rusty.”
The Bruins showed little signs of rust, as they played a stellar first period, despite trailing 1-0. Senior forward CJ Duvall went top shelf with a wrister from the right face-off circle, putting Hill ahead, 1-0, with 10:16 remaining in the opening period.
However, Brunswick entered the break following the first period with plenty of optimism.
“Even though we were down one after the first period, we carried the play and just stuck with it,” Kennedy said. “The message after the first was stick with it and it will come.”
The goals did, indeed, come for the Bruins in the second period.
On its first shift of the second period, Brunswick tallied the equalizer, as sophomore forward Ryan St. Louis gathered a loose puck in front of the net and tallied, making it 1-1, 11 seconds into the second period.
“That was huge for us, we needed something to give us a good spark,” Kennedy said. “We played a good period, but we were still down on the scoreboard. To get one on the first shift gave us some life and we carried it through.”
Senior forward Charles Shaffer and senior defenseman Cooper Moore helped set up St. Louis’ tally. The Bruins took the lead for good at 2-1 when Shaffer scored off a pass from junior forward Henry Foster at the 11:45 mark of the second period.
Foster blocked a pass and while falling to the ice, moved the puck to Shaffer, who finished. Meanwhile, Brunswick senior goalie Dan Dachille kept his squad ahead, with several standout saves during the second period. Dachille finished the matchup with 17 saves for the victors.
Foster stretched the home team’s advantage to 3-1, tallying off a rebound with 6:15 remaining in the third period. Shaffer and St. Louis each assisted on the pivotal goal.
“It was huge to get a two-goal lead,” Foster said. “It was hard-fought in the third, so it was good to get a little breathing room at the end there.”
Hill closed to within 3-2 on a power-play goal by senior forward CJ Duvall late in the third period, but junior Connor Sullivan scored an empty-netter with just 1:30 to go for Brunswick, making it 4-2. Dachille in goal was aided by strong performances by the Bruins’ defensemen.
Brunswick visits Delbarton, N.J., on Tuesday.
“Every game counts, we dug ourselves a little hole at the end of the season, but we’re playing great hockey and as long as we continue to play this way, we’ll be okay,” Foster said. “Today, after the first period, our captains (Moore, Shaffer, Aaron Aboodi) did a good job of helping us keep our heads and keeping us on an even keel.”
PLAYERS OF THE GAME
Shaffer registered one goal and two assists, including his team-leading 13th tally, for the Bruins. St. Louis and Foster each had one goal and one assist.
BRUNSWICK 4, HILL 3
HILL 1 0 2 — 3
BRUNSWICK 0 2 2 — 4
Records: Brunswick 8-6-4; Hill 12-6; Goals: H — CJ Duvall, Alex Kiviniemi Ross Morrison; B — Ryan St. Louis, Charles Shaffer, Henry Foster, Connor Sullivan; Assists: H — Kiviniemi, Nico McCurrach, Owen McLaughlin; B — Shaffer 2, Cooper Moore, Foster, St. Louis, Aaron Aboodi; Goalies: H — Sean Parker (24 saves); B — Dan Dachille (17 saves)