The Staples/Weston/Shelton co-op hockey team took a step in a positive direction Saturday night with a one-sided 8-2 victory over a short-handed Lyman Hall/Haddam-Killingworth team at the Milford Ice Pavilion.
It was a rebound effort for the Wreckers following a 9-3 loss to Newington/Berlin/Rockville in the team’s opening game.
The 1-1 winners got two goals each from Ryan Garwicki and Wyatt Fern. Along with his two goals, Fern and Steve Schulman added two assists.
Shelton’s Owen Egledrum had a goal and one assist and Sean Stewart had an assist.
Overall, however, head coach Ralph Unker wasn’t all that pleased with his team’s performance.
“I think we’re still in a little bit of a funk,” said Unker, about his team that is playing at the Division II level. “We were much better in the pre-season. We had wins over the Division two finalist Branford) and over a Division one team in North Haven. “We’re still making mistakes. Luckily tonight we were on the good side.”
Lyman Hall, which became a co-op partner this year, when Haddam/Killingworth produced players, saw its record fall to 0-2.
The Trojans were only able to dress 13 players and their goalie Jason Culmane stopped 13 of 21 shots.
This was a lackluster effort,” said the team’s head coach Tim Belcher. “We just didn’t come ready to play. That was the bottom line. This wasn’t close to a 45-minute effort from our players.”
Both of the Trojans’ goals were scored by Boomer DeMorrow, a player from the H-K school.
Derek Nussbaum got the Wreckers started, scoring at 1:03 of the opening period and Garwicki’s first score, off of a rebound, upped the local’s lead to 2-0 at 11:36.
Garwicki’s second goal, which came at 14:31, was a high-rising wrist shot from just inside the blueline that eluded Culmane and got in slightly under the cross bar.
The Wreckers took nine shots in the second period and scored twice, while giving up a goal on seven shots and took a 5-1 lead into the third period.
Third-period goals by Engledrum (2:04), Fern (4:27) and Fern again (short-handed at 12:50) wrapped around one by DeMorrow (11:58) created the final outcome.
The Wreckers drew three penalties and the Trojans had two. Neither team was able to score on a power-play opportunity.
Unker used two goalies. Junior Will Englehart started the game and made six saves. He was replaced early in the second period by another junior, Chris Gelman, who allowed both goals and made four saves.
Unker knows all too well about being short players. Injuries during the 2011-12 playing season depleted his squad at times to eight or nine players.
“Our kids could sense that they were playing short right away,” he said. “I just know that we’re going to start to perform up to our capabilities soon. We had far too many turnovers (over 40, according to the coach) tonight.
“We’re not winning those loose pucks. We need to possess many more of those 50-50 opportunities.”
Staples/Weston/Shelton returns to action tonight when they host Masuk, a 4-3 winner over Newtown, at 6 p.m.