Glastonbury and South Windsor Tie in Overtime Battle

By Danny Atkinson

HARTFORD-Glastonbury and South Windsor hockey entered Saturday’s night’s battle at Trinity College’s Koeppel Community Center heading in different directions. Glastonbury entered the game with a record of 8-9-1 and having lost three of five, while the Bobcats had gone 3-1-1 in the same stretch, improving to 7-11-1 and putting themselves in position to make the state tournament. South Windsor wanted to continue that momentum against the Tomahawks and end its regular season schedule on a high note, while Glastonbury wanted to pull off a memorable win on its Senior Night. The passion and excitement on both sides led to a highly fun game and an unforgettable third period.

After South Windsor junior Mike Gore and senior Andrew White scored late in the third period to give the Bobcats a 3-2 lead, Tomahawks senior defenseman Nate Amaral beat goalie Max Caouette with just 25.9 seconds remaining to send the game into overtime. The Tomahawks (9-9-1) and Bobcats (7-12-1) defenders shut down their opponents in overtime to force a 3-3 tie.

“My teammates were able to cycle the puck up to the points like we discussed, and once we did I had that far shot on the net and it just happened to go right through,” Amaril said. “We had guys up near the net screening and blocking the goalie on the shot. It means a lot for the other seniors and I to come back and earn a big tie on Senior Night.”

The game entered the third with South Windsor up 1-0 following a goal by Bobcats senior Andrew DeCasperis midway through the second. While its offense was largely stymied by the Bobcats defenders in the second, Glastonbury wasted no time getting going, as senior defenseman Matt Peoples beat Caouette high and to his right just 1:13 in to tie the score. The next few minutes continued to be played at a frenzied pace, with both defenses interfering with and blocking shots and passes and making it difficult to move the puck in offensive zones with their physicality. The Tomahawks offense managed to continue being aggressive and working to create good shots, and it paid off again with 5:54 remaining. Senior Trevor Suydam beat his defender down the ice and deposited the puck above Couette’s shoulder to give GHS a 2-1 advantage.

Slightly more than a minute later, South Windsor tied things right back up with the help of a lucky bounce. The Bobcats brought the puck back down the ice and attempted to attack the net, with senior goalie Griffin Jagel eventually making one of his many great stops. He was unable to corral the puck however, and it found his way to Gore, who softly snuck it past Jagel to make it 2-2. Both teams continued to exhibit athleticism and aggressiveness on both ends and the dynamic duo of DeCasperis and fellow senior Andrew White struck. DeCasperis smoothly fired a pass to White as he began to maneuver past a defender. White flew down the ice and blasted a shot from the right side past Jagel with 1:54 remaining.

As the period moved into its final minute, Tomahawks head coach Ken Barse chose to pull his team’s goalie to give the offense a one-player advantage. The risky move paid off when executed Amari’s tying goal. Junior right winger Tyler Sadak found Amari wide open in the right corner near the boards, who proceeded to fire the puck past Caouette on his left, making it 3-3.

“In the third we started winning the battles to the puck,” Barse said. “That opened up space and we were able to use the points more. We also focused on getting rebounds, and the puck began to bounce our way. Trevor got a great shot past their goalie, and pulling Griffin with about 40 seconds remaining worked for us and set up position for Nate’s goal.”

The overtime period saw the team defenses get back on track. The South Windsor defenders limited Glastonbury’s possessions in the zone and helped cause a few of its shots to be blocked or go wide of the goal. On the other end, the Tomahawks interfered with and blocked multiple shots adjacent to the goal, with a couple of Bobcats shots going wide. When the puck was shot accurately Jagel was there to make two impressive saves.

“In overtime, they were playing very tough on offense and attacking hard, but Griffin kept it in and was able to make a great last minute save. He also plaid out of his mind,” Amaral said.

The first period was very evenly played, with both teams putting together solid efforts. The defenses were aggressive and did a strong job of limiting movement in the zones and interfering with passes and shots. Caouette and Jagel each made a series of athletic saves, particularly up high. The offenses each struggled with accuracy at times on both their passes and shots. Glastonbury moved the puck more efficiently in the period’s final minutes, but Bobcats defenders were able to recover and counter these efforts.

In the second, South Windsor possessed the puck a majority of the time and consistently invaded the zones at times. Despite this, the Tomahawks defense held the Bobcats in check with the help of its goalie and some missed opportunities by them, such as wide shots near the goal. DeCasperis eventually obtained an open shot to the right of the net and beat Jagel at the 6:30 mark, putting his squad on the board first. Glastonbury struggled to find open space in the zone and had many short offensive possessions, but consistently got back on defense to keep South Windsor from taking too much advantage.

Barse had a ton of praise for his defense’s play.

“It was one of our best performances of the year. The defenders consistently moved the puck quickly when they recovered it and kept the puck out of the zone. I’m very proud of them,” he said.

Jagel finished with 34 saves, while Caouette made 26.

Glastonbury and South Windsor will each make the state tournament, with the Tomahawks competing in Division I and the Bobcats in Division II. The squads are currently ranked 13th and ninth in the divisions, respectively.

Amaral gave a simple but definitive answer when asked what Glastonbury will need to do to maintain momentum and go on a tournament run.

“We need to take it to the body of opposing players more. The teams coming up are very physical and were going to have to keep pressure on bodies.”

The Tomahawks have one regular season game remaining at West Haven on Monday.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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