Putting together impressive efforts in the second and third periods, the Brunswick School hockey team built upon the momentum it gained with a recent victory at Salisbury School with a tight, edge-of-your-seat triumph against visiting NEPSAC rival Hotchkiss School Monday evening.
With the score tied and the matchup looking as though it was headed toward overtime, Bruins junior forward Drew DellaSalla had other ideas.
DellaSalla’s goal off a nifty pass from Sean Gibbons gave Brunswick an exciting 2-1 win over Hotchkiss – a victory that upped its record to 7-6-1 on the season.
The Bearcats held a 1-0 lead following the first period, but the Bruins got going in the second period.
“We had a slow start, we weren’t so thrilled with our first period,” Brunswick coach Mike Kennedy said. “We thought it was a little uninspired a little passive, not as much intensity as we would have liked. But we regrouped and in between the first and second, I thought we played a really strong second period to get back in there.”
On the game-winning goal, DellaSalla controlled the puck off a well-executed pass from Gibbons and deflected the puck into the net, giving the Bruins a 2-1 advantage with only 2:23 remaining in the third period.
“It was a good breakout pass on a 3-on-2, I made a good play to the net to Drew and he tipped it in,” Gibbons said of the game-winning goal. “Overall, it a great game by us, we had to gut it out. We’ve been a little inconsistent to start the season. Our goal today was to build our game as we go and I think we did that.”
Hotchkiss outshot Brunswick, 10-7, during the first period en route to taking a 1-0 lead. Capitalizing on a 2-on-1 rush chance, Hotchkiss tallied when junior forward Brendan Cali finished in front, making it 1-0 with 4:35 left in the opening period.
The Bruins regrouped and took charge in the second period, tallying the equalizer. Senior captain/forward James Shannon received an impressive behind-the-back pass from junior linemate Brendan Giles, who gathered the puck behind the net, and scored evening it up at 1-1 at the 10:50 mark of the second period.
The shots were even at 11-11 during a back-and-forth third period. With both goaltenders rising to the important occasion. Bruins senior goalie/captain Brendan Holahan registered 29 saves to help seal the squad’s second straight win.
“It was a good hard-fought game, right down-to-the wire, so it was good,” Holahan said. “In those type of situations, I just sort of focus on staying sharp and staying focused. It’s easy to stay locked in when the game is that tight. The ‘D’ played great, they helped me out a lot, especially in the last minute.”
Indeed, the Bruins’ netminders has been in the zone between the pipes of late.
“It feels good, I’m seeing the puck really well and hopefully, we can keep winning some games,” he said.
“Most games when we give up one goal, we’re going to win,” Kennedy noted. “Brendan has been solid game in and game out the last month or so. He did another great job, as did the defensive core. We had seven guys seeing ice time there.”
Junior Cooper Cleaves, senior Nikolas Cadoret, junior Carter Hall and senior Sloan Farmer were among some of the Bruins’ numerous defensemen who made clutch plays for the victors.
“That was a huge win and the difference between today and Friday – there was a big crowd,” Gibbons said. “This game, we had to bear down and find the energy within ourselves. We had guys step up with big plays and big hits to get us going.”
Said Kennedy: “That’s two big wins in a row, we beat Salisbury on Friday night. We didn’t want to take a step back and lose to a team behind us in the standings. That’s a really good team and that’s a game we needed to win to get some momentum going, so it’s nice to see the boys respond and gut it out.”
Prior to edging Hotchkiss, Brunswick posted a convincing 5-2 win over host Salisbury School last Friday. Senior forward Eli Friedman tallied twice, while junior forwards Luke Drury, Jake Minella and Ryan Wachtel added one goal apiece in the triumph.
“Salisbury, they’re the defending Elite 8 Tournament champions, they have a lot of Elite 8 banners in their rink – they’ve won seven I think, since 2006, so they’re a powerhouse in the league,” Kennedy said. “It felt really good to go into their building and beat them.”
Brunswick hopes to make it three victories in a row when it travels to Millbrook School on Wednesday for a 4:30 p.m. matchup.
Categories: Brunswick School, Winter sports
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