After losing to the Hill School in Pennsylvania on Friday, the Brunswick School hockey team returned the favor yesterday in what coach Mike Kennedy described as “a near complete game.”
Scoring twice in the first period, then registering two goals in the third period, after Hill tied the score, the Bruins produced just the type of performance they were hoping for heading into exam week.
Junior forward Sean Gibbons recorded two goals for Brunswick in its 4-2 victory over the Hill School at Hartong Rink – a triumph that upped the Bruins’ record to 9-7-1.
The Bruins entered the game off a 5-3 road loss to Hill on Friday evening. It was Hill’s turn to travel yesterday and Brunswick was in top form from the drop of the puck.
“It was an interesting game last night (Friday night),” Kennedy said. “We had a chance to win, it just didn’t go our way. We made too many mental errors, too many mistakes, too many penalties and it’s hard to win on the road when you play like that, so we wanted to reset today and we were pretty sharp for most of the game.”
Along with Gibbons’ two tallies, the Bruins received a goal apiece from senior alternate captain/forward Eli Friedman and senior forward Daniel Hu.
Brunswick seized a 1-0 lead with 7:44 remaining in the first period. With the Blues on a power play, Gibbons broke free, executing a spin move and snapping a backhand shot past Blues goalie Ryan Sanborn, making it 1-0.
Friedman put the Bruins ahead by two goals when he snuck a shot past Hill’s goaltender inside the left post at the 5:48 mark of the opening period. Junior forwards Brendan Giles and Ryan Wachtel each assisted on Gibbons’ first goal. Applying pressure in Hill’s zone throughout, the home team outshot the Blues, 17-5, in the first period.
“I was very pleased with how we played in the first period,” Kennedy said. “We wanted to come out with a good start. We held the territorial edge in the first period and netted two goals to get the lead.”
Opening the second period in impressive fashion, The Hill School tallied twice during a 2:07 span to even the score. Nick Jarmain scored with 16:17 left in the second period Lukas Zimovchek converted a shot at the 14:10 mark of the period, making it 2-2.
The host Bruins regained the lead at 3-2, courtesy of Hu, who scored on a shot near the right faceoff circle, with 3:24 to go in the second period. Junior forward Charlie Vincent assisted on Hu’s go-ahead goal.
“The second period, we had a little lull coming out, we allowed them a few chances,” Kennedy said. “It’s nice to see us respond after their push and get the go-ahead goal late in the second. That was a great goal by Danny Hu, a senior, who has played some good hockey for us.”
Brunswick outshot Hill, 39-21 and senior goalie/captain Brendan Holahan made 19 saves for the win, keeping his successful season between the pipes going. With 1:00 remaining in the third period, Gibbons scored on a 2-on-1 off assists from senior linemate/captain James Shannon and junior forward Jake Minella, giving Brunswick a 4-2 advantage.
“It’s tough to beat a team twice and we were fortunate enough to learn a lot from yesterday (Friday),” Shannon said. “We watched a little video and found things we were able to capitalize on. I think we beat ourselves yesterday (Friday) and today we came out, capitalized on those chances and got the win.”
Each of the Bruins’ lines has displayed solid chemistry and the team has used its depth to their advantage during the course of the season.
“We do a good job of mixing it up and everyone knows where everyone is at all times, so it’s easy to read off each other and get pucks on net,” Shannon said. “Everyone can play with anyone on this team. We have a next man up mentality.”
“In the second period, we had five-minute lapse, but I think we were good after that,” Shannon continued. “It was a tie game and we just had to win the rest of the game and we did that.”
Brunswick’s rotation of defensemen – Colin Eschricht, Sloan Farmer, Hunter Spiess, Cooper Cleaves, Carter Grimes and Nikolas Cadoret – were once again, highly effective in front of Holahan.
“In the third period, I thought we really locked down defensively,” Kennedy said. “We didn’t give up much, we got the puck deep, kept the shifts short and we committed to the defensive side of the puck. When you do that, you’re going to give your offense some chances and we got one late to put it away.”
Up next for Brunswick is a home game against Hoosac School on Jan. 21. The Bruins will then host Elite Hockey Academy at Hartong Rink on Jan. 23.