Entering Saturday’s matchup against Trinity-Pawling School, the Brunswick School hockey team hadn’t won a game this season in which it allowed five goals, but it did so against the visiting Pride on this day, using some late-game dramatics.
Ahead by two goals, the Bruins saw their lead evaporate when Trinity-Pawling tallied twice with less than four minutes remaining in the third period – overtime seem destined.
Yet the Bruins, who have already played in several games that were decided in overtime, had other plans.
Sophomore forward Sean Gibbons registered a goal with 30.5 seconds remaining in the final period, propelling Brunswick to an exciting 6-5 victory over Trinity-Pawling before a nice-sized crowd at Hartong Rink.
Junior defenseman Sloan Farmer assisted on the game-winning goal, which also saw forwards James Shannon and Brendan Giles set up Gibbons’ tally that sent the Bruins’ faithful home happy. The goal occurred right in front of the net with the Bruins’ applying pressure.
“It was a good play by James Shannon getting the puck deep,” Gibbons said. “Brendan Giles made a nice little nifty play to get it to me and I just buried it.”
Avoiding overtime with the last-minute win, Brunswick raised its record to 14-5-1 overall, as they continue to make a run toward a berth in the NEPSAC Elite Eight Tournament.
“At that point, you are just thinking hold on for overtime,” Brunswick coach Mike Kennedy said. “But they created a play at the goal line and Gibby just popped it in.”
Of course, the Bruins are well aware of the significance of the victory.
“It felt great, but more so, it felt amazing to get the win,” Gibbons said. “We worked really hard for this and we’re still alive in the playoff push.”
Shannon turned in an outstanding performance for the Bruins, recording two goals and two assists.
“It’s good to have the type of game like this, it’s close, we’re scoring, we’re going back-and-forth,” Shannon said. “But we stuck to the course and they came back with two minutes left, but just to show that we have the ability to battle back from that is big going into the playoffs.”
Kennedy noted the Bruins hadn’t played in such a game all season.
“We haven’t won a game like this all year, we haven’t been in a game like this all year, so I think it will help us down the stretch,” Kennedy said. “We outplayed them the first two periods, but we were going into the third period tied. It was just one of those games where we thought we were outplaying them, but they were hanging around. That’s the kind of game you have to win once in a while. So it was nice for our team to win a game like this, especially this time of year. It shows that we can win in different ways.”
The score was knotted at 3-3 heading into the third period, but the Bruins took a one-goal lead, thanks to Shannon, who tallied off assists from sophomore forwards Drew DellaSalla and Giles at the 6:23 mark.
Shannon enabled the Brunswick to extend its advantage with his second goal of the game, which came 11:20 into the third period. Gibbons and junior forward Eli Friedman were each credited with assists on Shannon’s second tally.
“Everyone was really disciplined out there in the third period,” Shannon said. “They were a great opponent, I’m glad we got a game scheduled. We were just sticking with it when they battled back.”
Trailing 5-3, the Pride closed to within a goal when senior Ryan Walker scored from close in 14:21 into the third period. Teammate Gavin Bloder, also senior made it 5-5 by knocking home a rebound 16:46 into the final period.
“To go up two late in the third and them to come back and for us to find a way to win, it shows a lot about our resilience and what type of team we have,” Kennedy said.
The home team scored the lone first-period goal. Junior defenseman Collin Eschricht tallied off an assist from forward Jake Minella, giving the Bruins a 1-0 edge with 2:25 to go in the opening period.
Casey Quinson, a sophomore forward and Lucas St. Louis, a junior defenseman, each had second-period goals for the Bruins, while Trinity-Pawling scored three times during the second stanza.
Sophomore forward Luke Drury had an assist and Shannon notched two assists during the second period for Brunswick, which outshot Trinity-Pawling, 45-30.
“Going into the third period, we just wanted to grind it out,” Gibbons said. “We believe we’re destined to make the Elite Eight and make a big playoff push. Once the game was tied we knew we needed to work really hard and play a deep game and things would happen for us.”
Brunswick hosts Connecticut Elite 8 on Tuesday and the Frederick Gunn School Friday, before visiting Berkshire School on Feb. 12.
“That’s all we’re focused on, we want to make the Elite 8,” Shannon said. “We only made it once, we have a banner up there for making it once, we want to get a second one up there. We have five more games, so if we win out, we’ll be in the Elite 8.”
“The last two games we’ve been rolling and we’ve been playing really well,” Gibbons said. “We wanted to carry the momentum and have a good game today.”
Categories: Brunswick School, Winter sports
Leave a Reply