Wilton boys hockey falls to New Fairfield/Immaculate

Although the Wilton High boys hockey team rallied from a two-goal deficit, a late second-period goal by New Fairfield/Immaculate handed the Warriors a 3-2 loss on Monday night at the Winter Garden in Ridgefield.

It was the second game in three days for the Warriors (1-1), who had beaten Watertown/Pomperaug, 2-1, on Saturday.

New Fairfield/Immaculate forward Christian Benzing gave the visitors the lead on the power play with 3:21 left in the first period. A shot from the point was re-directed right to an open Benzing, who backhanded the puck into the net. In a period in which the Warriors really struggled to move the puck out of their own zone, senior goalie Kyle Buckley was sharp, making several strong saves.

The Warriors got their offense going early in the second period. A little over a minute in, senior forward Luke Rizzo rang a shot off the underside of the crossbar. Although the puck appeared to have crossed the goal line, the referee waved off the potential tying goal.

Shortly thereafter, Luke McFadden doubled New Fairfield/Immaculate’s lead. McFadden slid the rebound from a shot by teammate Andrew Rosenblum past Buckley to make it 2-0. Adding to Wilton’s frustration, senior tri-captain Kyle Jonas ripped a shot off the post a few minutes later on a two-on-one rush.

“It’s definitely frustrating but that’s just how hockey is sometimes. We just had to keep our heads up and keep pushing,” said Rizzo about Wilton hitting the post on multiple occasions.

Fortunately for the Warriors, New Fairfield/Immaculate spent much of the rest of the second period in the penalty box, allowing Wilton to grab momentum.

After the Warriors failed to capitalize on their first few extra-man opportunities, Jonas scored on a five-on-three power play to cut the deficit back to one with 6:51 left in the period. Jonas made a pretty move to deke a defender in the offensive zone before roofing a wrist shot over New Fairfield/Immaculate goalie Marcello Carlucci’s glove.

Nearly two minutes later, Jonas was at it again on the power play, firing another quick wrist shot past Carlucci to tie the game and energize the home crowd.

“They were definitely very important," said Jonas about the power-play goals. "They got us back in the game and gave us a good chance at coming back and winning the game.”

New Fairfield/Immaculate responded well to losing its lead, first hitting the post before going ahead for good late in the second period. Freshman Jameson Brown deflected a shot from the blue line, tipping the puck behind Buckley with just 1:01 left before the second intermission.

Trailing once again, the Warriors pressed for a goal, but New Fairfield/Immaculate did an excellent job of stifling Wilton’s efforts. Jonas, Ryan Emerson, and tri-captain Jameson Hill all came close in the final minutes but were unable to score the tying goal.

While the Warriors had some misfortune in a close game, Hill knows that his team has to play better.

“Tonight we felt as if we beat ourselves," he said. "We know that we are a better team and have moved on and are looking forward to our next game against Milford on Saturday.”