Boys hockey: Warriors hang tough in 3-1 loss

After the team got off to a 3-0 start, Wilton High boys hockey head coach John Miserendino knew the Warriors’ schedule would get a lot harder in January.

The result has been five straight losses to open the new year, all against Division I or II teams.

The most recent defeat, a 3-1 loss to Division II opponent Trumbull at the Winter Garden in Ridgefield on Wednesday night, dropped Wilton’s record to 3-5.

Miserendino said the challenge for the Warriors is to not get dejected. He believes the tough schedule will pay off in the long run.

“It can be tough to see the progress in some of these games, but the effort is always there. People have told me we’re the hardest-working team they’ve seen. As long as you do that, progress is going to come,” he said. “I’m confident once we get back to our division we will be one of the best DIII teams in the state.”

While only two of the Wilton’s first eight games have been against Division III teams, half of the team’s final 12 regular-season games are against DIII opponents.

In Wednesday’s loss the Warriors were down several players due to injury and illness, including two of their top forwards, Brandon Jonsson and Connor Drake. The team had only 11 skaters.

Most of the game was played in the Wilton defensive zone, but Trumbull could only manage a 1-0 lead after two periods thanks to a scrappy defensive effort and the strong play of Wilton freshman goalie Logan Motyka.

“Logan had a great game,” said Miserendino. “Trumbull must have spent the majority of the game in our zone. When we got our chances it was on odd-man rushes. We didn't really sustain any pressure.”

The Eagles made it 2-0 with under five minutes left in the third period. After pulling their goalie, the Warriors cut the lead to 2-1 with about a minute left when Tyler Everitt scored off a face-off win by John Fung.

Wilton had a chance to tie the game after winning the face-off at center ice and getting the puck into the Trumbull end. But the Eagles held and scored an empty-net goal from their own blue line to ice the win.

Motyka finished with 50 saves, including about 20 saves in the second period alone when Trumbull had the puck in the Wilton zone for the first 12 minutes.

Trumbull, which improved its record to 4-7, had goals by Alex Chopskie, Eric McCabe and Matt Hocker.

Next up for the Warriors is DI opponent St. Joseph on Saturday night at 8:50 at the Winter Garden.