Wreckers hold off Wilton boys hockey team

A hat trick by junior Ryan Johnson propelled the Staples/Shelton/Weston combined squad past the Wilton High boys hockey team, 5-4, on Wednesday night at the Winter Garden.

Nearly two minutes after Jesse Greenspun gave the visiting Wreckers a 1-0 lead, Wilton tri-captain Kyle Jonas got the first of his two goals on the night with 4:18 left in the first period. After a strong shot by David Craven was stopped, Jonas crashed the net and slid the rebound past the Wreckers’ goalie Zack Bloom.

There was a scary moment early in the second period when  a Wreckers player suffered an apparent head injury after colliding with Wilton's Luke Rizzo in the neutral zone. The player did not return to the game.

Shortly after Wilton's Ned Zawislak hit the post on a breakaway, Johnson restored the Wreckers’ advantage, roofing a nice backhanded shot past Wilton goalie Kyle Buckley with 11:17 left in the second period. Just a few minutes later, the Warriors got a lucky break as the visitors had a seemingly good goal waved off as the referees ruled that Buckley had covered the puck before it crossed the goal line.

Wilton took advantage of its good fortune as Jonas tied the score at 2-2 a little under a minute later on a 3-on-1, odd-man rush. Rizzo made a great play along the boards in the defensive zone to start the play, and Jonas exchanged passes with fellow tri-captain Jameson Hill before tipping home the tying goal.

The Warriors’ had their own goal disallowed early in the third period because the net had been knocked off its moorings just before Craven fired a shot into the twine.

Though the Warriors (2-5) controlled the play in the final period, a roughing penalty late in the game gave the Wreckers a chance to take the lead. They did just that, as Johnson collected a rebound from his own shot and poked the go-ahead goal behind Buckley with 4:40 left in the game. Just 19 seconds later, Johnson completed his hat trick, surprising Buckley with a sneaky backhanded shot from close range to make it 4-2, Wreckers.

After the Wreckers had another goal disallowed, Zawislak cut the Wilton deficit to one just as a Warriors' power play expired with 1:30 left. As the Warriors pushed for a tying goal, the visitors added an empty netter to make it a two-goal game again with just under a minute to go.

Wilton wasn’t done yet, however, as Rizzo made it 5-4 with 22.6 seconds left, ripping a wrist shot off the underside of the crossbar. With time running out, the Warriors were extremely close to making a remarkable comeback, but Bloom stood tall, robbing Jonas as the clock expired.