Boys hockey: Bears put Wilton away with late goals

The combined Norwalk-McMahon boys hockey team snapped a 3-3 tie early in the third period, and add two insurance goals in the final minute to defeat Wilton 6-3 on Monday at SoNo Ice House in Norwalk.

It was the eighth loss in a row for the Warriors, who fell to 2-9 on the season.

The loss was a frustrating one, as a combination of defensive miscues and penalties led to many of the goals for Norwalk-McMahon, which entered the game with only three wins.

“We knew coming in we could have won. I think we should have won, if we had played the way we’re supposed to play,” said Wilton head coach John Miserendino after the game. “When you have a team like this, with not a big turnout for tryouts and low numbers on the team, you have to play mistake-free hockey to be any good, and we just made a lot of mistakes.”

The Bears needed only 27 seconds to get on the board, when Kevin Remson got behind the defense and beat goalie Chris Randolph inside the right post for a quick 1-0 lead. A shorthanded goal by Quinn Sandor put the Bears up 2-0 just 1:44 into the game.

Alex Biegen’s breakaway goal got Wilton on the board with 5:25 left in the first period, and the period ended with Norwalk up 2-1 as Randolph came up with some big saves in the final minutes.

The Warriors tied the game just 38 seconds into the second period, as Biegen took a breakaway rush behind the net and put a beautiful feed in front for Peter Koch, who blasted a shot inside the post.

After some decent chances by Wilton, it was the Bears who broke the tie when Dylan Parson’s wrist shot seemed to fool Randolph, glancing off the top of his glove and into the net with 8:40 left in the period.

Wilton had a golden opportunity midway through the period after multiple Norwalk penalties left the Warriors with a five-on-three power play for two minutes. But they could only manage one shot, a slapshot from the point by Tommy McHugh that was stopped.

But a miscue by the Bears helped Wilton make it 3-3 with 1:13 left in the period, as Brendon Jonsson skated in on goal, was stopped, and then knocked in the rebound.

The Bears took the lead for good just 1:13 into the third period, when Sandor scored off a nice pass from the corner by Remson. The Warriors had almost no offense in the final period (only one shot), but stayed close until the final minute.

The Warriors, however, took a couple of penalties with under two minutes to play, giving Norwalk the five-on-three power play. The result was a goal by Sandor with 53 seconds left, and another by Jeb Buyer with nine seconds left, for the final 6-3 score.

“We wanted to come out faster (in the third period). We kind of knew whoever got the first one in the third, that was really going to do the trick,” said Miserendino. “They got it first and we tried to fight our way back, took some stupid penalties. Going down five-on-three and trying to get a goal to tie it up, that’s a real difficult undertaking.”

Coming off a tough stretch of games, Monday’s loss was disappointing because the Warriors squandered an opportunity to get a win.

“We’ve put together better efforts against better teams, and when we have a good chance to win —  I don’t know if we get complacent or just get overconfident — but whatever it is, we just didn’t play our best,” said Miserendino.

Randolph, while not having one of his better games, played a solid third period to keep the game close.

“He’ll tell you, too, (that) he had a funky game,” said the coach. “It’s not how good you are on your good days, it’s how good you are on your bad days. He struggled the whole game. He made some weird saves and he wasn’t seeing the puck too well. He hung in there for us. That’s all you can ask for.”

Sandor finished the game with three goals and two assists to lead Norwalk (4-6-1).
— J.B. Cozens