NEWINGTON - The Newington-Berlin and Hall-Southington ice hockey teams have quite a history of close games as of late.
The last time the two teams met, the Warrior-Knights beat the Indians 1-0.
It was a little different Wednesday night.
It was another one-goal game, but it was Newington-Berlin that came out on top as it beat Hall-Southington 5-4 in overtime.
Nick Deriu delivered the Indians’ game-winning goal nearly with 5:26 remaining in the extra period off assists from Ethan Ranger and Matt Lavoie.
It was Deriu’s second goal of the night.
“Both teams were coming off of winning streaks,” Newington head coach David Harackiewicz said. “Both teams were on a role, so I knew it was going to be a tight game. But hung in there and kept plugging away.”
The score was 4-3, Hall-Southington, at the start of the third period. But the Warrior-Knights couldn’t hold off Newington-Berlin and allowed the Indians to have a chance to send the game into overtime.
And Newington-Berlin forward Mark Sweitzer, seized to that opportunity.
On a pass from Kyle Bucher, Sweitzer was able to bury the puck in the back of the net, tying up the game 4-4 with just 2:32 left on the clock.
“It was a beautiful pass from Bucher,” Sweitzer said. “It felt pretty good to get that goal. We didn’t have much time left and it sent us right into overtime.”
Hall-Southington dominated when it came to possession of the puck. The Warrior-Knights outshot the Indians 49-28. Hall-Southington’s inability to finish, however, proved to be costly, especially late.
One of the reasons Hall-Southington had trouble finishing was because of play of Newington-Berlin goaltender Adam Belair.
The junior net minder let a couple of shots through, but was mostly brilliant in the game. Belair recorded 40 saves on the evening.
“We have a lot of confidence in Adam,” Harackiewicz said. “He’s an athletic kid and I thought he was centered around the puck all game. He knew where the puck was going to be and he made the saves when he had too.”
Hall-Southington controlled a majority of the first period. But, with all the time the Warrior-Knights spent in the Indians’ territory, they were unable to find the back of the net, on 19 attempts.
“We showed up against a motivated team with a game plan to make our lives tough,” Hall-Southington head coach Brian Cannon said. “We didn’t play the game that we are best at playing, and it costs us.”
Ranger skated midway down the rink where he found Deriu. Deriu took his shot, putting the Indians on the board with 12:50 left in the period.
“We left them a few holes that they were able to walk through,” Cannon said. “They found a way to get through the net. I give them some credit, they came in with a good plan and their kids really committed to it.”
The Indians scored two more times before the end of the second, but much of the time in the period was spent in their own zone as Hall-Southington scored fall four of their goals before the second intermission.
Graham Kennedy buried a shot off passes from Drew Booth and Jake Albert to get on the Warrior-Knights on board with 8:52 left in the period.
Just two minutes later, Hall-Southington was able to connect on a pass from Albert to Nate Zmarlicki for another goal, taking a 2-1 lead over Newington.
Booth then extended Hall-Southington’s lead 3-1 after a pass from Zmarlicki, while Michael DiPietro’s goal gave the team its fourth score of the period.
The Indians’ Andrew Graham and Ranger each scored in between the Booth and DiPierto goals, setting the game up for an exciting end for Newington-Berlin.
“We didn’t play as smart as we should, and we didn’t execute they way we should have,” Cannon said. “We had a lot of opportunities, a lot of scrambles. We have mostly ourselves to blame.”
Shelby Iava can be reached at (860) 801-5096 or firstname.lastname@example.org