South Windsor takes on East Catholic for big hockey win
By Martha Marteney - Staff Writer
South Windsor - posted Thu., Jan. 12, 2012
South Windsor High School and East Catholic High School took to the ice on Wednesday, Jan. 11, for their only match-up of the season. Going into the game, the SWHS Bobcats were tied with Notre-Dame of West Haven for second in Division I, behind Fairfield. The ECHS Eagles ranked 15th in Division II.
Bobcats sophomore Nolan O'Connor started off the scoring less than three minutes into the game, and ultimately pulled a hat trick, including one unassisted goal in the second period. Juniors Connor Hibbs and Chris Jones each contributed one goal, and senior David Ouellette scored twice. The Bobcats won the game 7-0.
“It was a pretty lackluster effort,” said East Catholic coach Drew Clarkin. The Eagles' objectives were to slow the game down and create opportunities. Instead, said Clarkin, his team let the Bobcats dictate the game, with bad turnovers that directly led to scores, and significantly out-shooting the Eagles.
East Catholic lost nine seniors to graduation, all of whom were starters. Despite being a young team, Clarkin said, “You will need to come out with a level of energy to compete with any team, and we didn't have that today.” He described the extra effort seen near the end of the third quarter as “playing for pride.” His only nod was to senior J.T. Sabin for his defensive playing.
Despite being the coach of the winning team, Neil Rodman was not much more enthusiastic about his team's performance. ”To this point, we haven't seen our best effort,” said Rodman. “We're not playing a full 45 minutes of hockey.” He did not feel the goals were high-quality shots. He noted that the defensive players also contributed to the team's success.
The Bobcats lost five seniors, who were all significant contributors. “This year's group has a lot of players who are stepping into higher expectation roles,” said Rodman. The win against East Catholic qualified South Windsor to play in the state tournament.
SWHS team captain Joe Bonazelli (senior, center position) felt the pressure to keep his team pumped for the game, which he said has the unfortunate habit of starting off flat. “We did what were are supposed to do,” said Bonazelli, “Rip shots and block theirs.”
“I thought it got better as the night went on,” said Nolan O'Connor (sophomore, wing) about the team's shaky beginning. Although this is his first year with the team, he knew most of the team from club hockey and school. “It's a good experience [being on the school team],” said O'Connor. “We have a good amount of talent.”