On Wednesday, January 18th, the Masuk boys hockey team faced the Green Wave of New Milford home at the Shelton Rinks. The Masuk Panthers pulled out a win, with a score of 5-2.
Only 12 seconds into the first period, the Panthers seemed ready to drown in the Green Wave with New Milford scoring immediately.
Masuk was proving to have a difficult time against the 6-1 Green Wave throughout the whole first period. 47 seconds in, Senior Drew Scalia was sent to the penalty box for tripping. About nine minutes later, New Milford put another into the goal, bringing the score to 2-0.
Masuk retaliated a minute later, with senior Kyle Sutfin scoring, assisted by junior Nick Kondub and freshman Luke Kondub. Ending the first period with a score of 2-1.
While maybe a tough start, Coach Andrew Townsend felt proud of his team’s ability to come back from the initial deficit: “The team showed a lot of character, a lot of grit, not panicking after getting down 2-0. We knew we were outplaying them. We gave up two goals we shouldn’t have given up, stuck to the game plan, and followed through and executed.”
Into the second period, almost immediately junior Christian Palmieri was put in the penalty box for tripping. The score did not seem to budge for a while with other defenses detained to not let another goal in. But 6:07 minutes into the second, Sutfin tied the game 2-2, with assists from senior AJ Michetti and Christian LaBella.
Out of the penalty box, number 4 Palmeri scored the “game-winner” with 2:10 left in the second period, putting Masuk in the lead 3-2.
Townsend comments, “I thought our third line of Alex May, Christian Palmieri and Max Laroche had a great game as well, especially with Christian getting that third goal – the third goal, which was also the game-winner.”
Palmieri agreed saying, “We [my line] had a lot of chemistry, I love my linemates.”
The third period proved to be a challenge for the Green Wave, and a success for the Panthers. With the pressure on, New Milford’s player was sent to the penalty box for unsportsmanlike conduct. While for Masuk, LaBella scored a goal unassisted with the score now 4-2.
Late into the third, Scalia was sent to the box once again for interference. But the game still seemed more challenging for the Green Wave. Towards the end of the period they chose to take out their goalie, and add an extra player in an attempt to score on the Panther’s defense and close the score gap.
Townsend praised the Panther defense saying, “I think [junior] James Cybart played excellent out there, played really good solid defense, he played awesome.”
The Wave’s plan proved to backfire with 1:30 left in the third period with Mechetti getting a breakaway and scoring 5-2.
Being one of the biggest matches yet for the Panthers, Masuk felt extra satisfaction from this win.
Palmieri says, “It felt good. We were projected to lose tonight, but it feels good to get that win.”
The next game will be against Staples on Saturday, January 21st at 8:45 at home – the Shelton Rinks.