WEST HARTFORD — In the blink of an eye, the Hall-Southington hockey team put Woodstock Academy in the rear-view mirror in the opening game of the CIAC Division III tournament Monday night at Veterans Memorial Rink.
Using a high-powered offense against an inexperienced and fairly new team, it was 2-0 after just a minute.
At the end of one period, it was 5-0.
Two periods in, it was 8-1.
The final: an unorthodox 9-2.
“I liked the way we came down and attacked,” head coach Brian Cannon said.
After a tough loss in the CCC South final, where they fell 5-2 to Rockville-Bolton-Coventry-Lyman Memorial, the No. 7 Warrior-Knights (11-9-1) showed no lingering effects in storming the castle of No. 10 Woodstock (6-10), getting a quick goal from Kevin Cop and two from Jarod Florian to make it 3-0 four minutes into action.
“I’m glad the kids came out and lit it up right off the bat,” expressed Cannon. “They really needed a confidence booster after that Saturday loss and they definitely did that.”
Florian finished with three goals on the night. Cop had two and a slew of other players found the back of the net or added their name to the box score with an assist.
The Centaurs made one quick comeback attempt, cutting it to 5-1 early in the second period, but that never materialized into anything substantial.
The Zamboni wasn’t needed much in this contest as the puck spent most of its time in the Woodstock end, with Hall-Southington goalie Erich Bender just trying to stay alert with little to no action. He made nearly a dozen saves before bowing out in the third period and giving way to Kyle Partiss, who showed he’s up to the task if Bender were to be forced out of action.
“He made some good stops,” Cannon said of Partiss.
The Warrior-Knights were slated to face No. 2 Newtown (14-4-3), which beat Joel Barlow 5-1 in its opening-round game, Thursday.
“We don’t know anything about them except they’re a pretty good team,” Cannon admitted. “Game to game, Lord only knows, and especially when you put us in the mix. Who knows what a Hall-Southington team is going to turn up on the ice.
“If we can come out and score a goal or two early, who knows, maybe we’ll be able to hold on.”