Brusnwick hockey bounces back, beats Hill
Updated 11:16 pm, Saturday, January 19, 2013
After a week of frustrating, taxing defeats, a calm workmanlike performance was what the Brunswick hockey team needed before taking six days off for exams.
Thanks to an excellent special teams effort and a solid performance by a backup netminder making his first varsity start, that's exactly what the Bruins got.
"It's always good to see the boys bounce back and give a good performance, it was a much needed win coming off of three straight losses in terms of getting their confidence back," Brunswick coach Ron VanBelle said. "We had an aggressive forecheck, played our system well and took care of business in our own end. The boys executed well and made plays when they had to."
Eight players registered points for the Bruins (8-9-3), who snapped a three-game losing streak. Esposito, filling in for senior captain Gryphon Richardson who played Friday night, made a enough big saves down the stretch as the Blues threatened to come back from a 4-2 third-period deficit.
"I was pleased to see him get some shots and come up big, especially as a backup goal that we're going to be counting on next year," VanBelle said. "It was nice to give him a chance to play and see him play well and get him some confidence."
Brunswick was also aided by its performance on special teams, killing three of four penalties, scoring twice on the power play and adding a shorthanded goal that increased the lead to 4-1 near the end of the second period.
"We work a lot on our power play so it was nice to see them working well," VanBelle said. "Our penalty killers were aggressive and we never let (Hill) get set up."
The visitors took an early lead against the run of play, as Colton McMenamin stormed up the ice on a counter attack and fired a tricky shot past Esposito just 3:16 into the game.
The goal didn't prevent the Bruins from continuing their aggressive play and they were rewarded four minutes later when Brendan May was on hand to fire home a loose puck into a wide open net after Matt Sealy's shot was initially saved by Hill goalie PJ McNamara.
Brunswick took its first lead of the game on the power play with 5:40 left in the first period. Michael Faulkner, who scored two goals, had a similarly simple look at the net after a shot from the point was deflected right to his stick, giving him plenty of time to blast a shot into the net.
The non-league win improves the Bruins' standing, but VanBelle knows there is plenty of work to do if his team wants to make a late-season run at the NEPSAC tournament.
"We've had some huge wins this year and some tough heartbreaking losses to really good teams," VanBelle said. "Our record, I think, doesn't reflect the quality of hockey we are playing this year. We have some work to do; we have to win the majority of our nine league games to make the postseason."
Brunswick 5, Hill School 2
HILL 1 0 0 1--2
BRUNSWICK 2 2 1 --5
Records: Hill (4-11-1), Brunswick (8-9-3).
Goals: H--Colton McMenamin, Mike Novello; B-- Michael Faulkner 2, Brendan May, Tom Dunleavy, Nick Jermain; Assists: B--Matt Sealy, Jermain, Harry Clifford 2, Stephan Seeger, Sebbi Foster; Goalies: H--PJ McNamara (24 saves); B--Matteo Esposito (19);