HARTFORD - Just minutes into the first period, the Dirty Birds (Bristol) offensive game plan was simple - put the puck on Adrian Gajor’s and Gregory Kubrak’s sticks and see if the opposing defense can stop the duo.
Oswego couldn’t figure out a way to do so as Gajor and Kubrak led the Dirty Birds to a 7-3 victory in the first of their two games in the Nutmeg Games Open Silver Division roller hockey tournament at Trinity College Saturday. The Dirty Birds lost their second game to the Admirals 4-3.
“I think we had a couple good goals and got off to a quick start in the beginning,” Gajor said. “I think one thing we need to work on is breaking it out quicker. I think we were waiting a little long on that.”
The duo combined for six of the seven goals scored by the Dirty Birds. It’s a change of pace as they play against each other typically. Dennis Loper added the other goal for the Dirty Birds.
“It’s very entertaining to watch us playing against each other,” the Polish Hockey League bound Gajor said. “He’s very competitive and I’m very competitive. Playing together is nice. He knows where to go, gives me the puck in an open area and we connected on four of the five goals.”
Gajor had the highlight goal of the game as he spun out of the way of a defender and toe dragged to find an open look at the net to put it in for the third goal of the game and an early 3-1 advantage.
In net, Samuel Peluso was solid on the back end for the Dirty Birds. His glove side stood out particularly as he made four saves in the game with the glove highlighted by the denial of Oswego’s Matt Tofte late in the first period with the game at a one-goal difference at the time.
While the Dirty Birds controlled the game throughout, one weakness stood out and that was the stamina of the group as the game wore on.
The team typically plays at the Plainville Indoor Sports Arena, a smaller rink.
“With the bigger rink we struggled getting the puck up as quick as we’d like to,” Gajor said. “It definitely showed and we need to improve on that the rest of the weekend.”
With an experienced roster, the Dirty Birds believe they are capable of making a deep run over the weekend, something that benefited them in the first game, as Oswego had played four games as a team coming in, all against younger opponents.
“We have a little more experience, I heard those kids were 16 and 17,” Gajor said. “I don’t know if they’ve played beforehand. So I’m sure that made a difference playing us.”