Second-period lull costs Wreckers

It only took a few minutes for Staples/Weston/Shelton high school hockey co-op coach Todd Sharinn to show his utter displeasure with his teams’ play Saturday night in a 5-3 loss to Trumbull at The Rinks in Shelton.

After grabbing a 2-0 first-period lead on goals from Ryan Johnson and Eric Zurmuehle, the Wreckers imploded in the second period, took four penalties and gave up three power-play goals en route to a defeat which left their overall record at 5-5.

“This all started on Monday night,” Sharrin said. “I watched a team self-destruct (in a 7-5 loss to Ridgefield). We were a team that some people didn’t think would even win a game this year.

“Instead, we were basically leading Division III and we’re the only team in the state to have beaten a Division I team (Greenwich).

“Tonight, we beat ourselves. It had nothing to do with penalties. It had to do with a mindset.”

The Wreckers got the perfect start, as first Ryan Johnson beat Eagles’ goalie Grant Vagnone with a shot from just off the left post at 5:01 and Zurmuehle converted on a breakaway after taking a stick-to-stick pass from Derek Nussbaum. The second score came at 8:24.

Despite being outshot, 7-5, SWS had what looked like a comfortable lead. But it quickly unraveled in the second period.

After an interference call, Trumbull sophomore Mike Antoniou scored at 2:56.

Following roughing penalty at 3:55, the Eagles’ Sam Watson made it a 2-2 game when his high-rising slap-shot from the slot made the back of the net.

Freshman Reese Sowka gave Trumbull a 3-2 lead on another power-play goal at 8:09.

The Wreckers evened the game at 3-3 just 1:49 into the third period, when Nussbaum fired home a shot from 25-feet out after taking an around-the-net pass from Jesse Greenspun.

After that, however, the Eagles, who won for only the third time in 10 games, took over.

Alex Pierne completed a breakaway with a goal at 7:35 and John Crowe buried a shot past William Englehart’s right shoulder at 12:27.

From the second period on, Trumbull outshot SWS, 24-9.

“I think we just wore them down because they were skating short (with just two lines),” Trumbull coach Greg Maxey said. “When you have to kill off that many penalties, that, in itself, takes a lot out of you.

“We really picked up momentum tonight at the right time and we’re able to get those three power-play goals. It was a game we needed to have.”

Trumbull wound up with a 31-14 margin in shots.

Englehart made 26 saves and Vagnone turned away 11.

On Wednesday night, SWS will play the McMahon/Norwalk co-op team at the SoNo Ice House in Norwalk.

The Wreckers will meet St. Joseph on Saturday night, back at The Rinks.

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