Young Nighthawk Laxmen Battle Through Early-Season Growing Pains, Topple Weston

Newtown High School’s boys’ lacrosse team has certainly had some bright spots in the early stages of the campaign: A season-opening 13-3 triumph over Pomperaug of Southbury, overcoming a four-goal deficit to nearly shock the New Fairfield Rebels, and a victory at Weston lead the list heading into this week.

The Nighthawks ended a tough stretch of three consecutive setbacks with an 8-2 win over Weston on April 16, as they handed the Trojans their first loss after a 4-0 start, and improved to 2-3 to begin the campaign.

Alec Beauchemin and Dan Hebert both scored three goals to lift the Hawks over Weston. Jake Ball and Andrew Derrickson also recorded net-finders in the triumph. Tyler Hanley scooped 13 of his team’s 47 ground ball pickups, and Beauchemin scooped eight grounders. Hanley was dominant in faceoffs, winning 11 of 13 draws. Goaltender Evan Isaacs made seven saves.

The Hawks are hopeful that these winning ways carry over following an overall challenging start to the season.

“It was good to get off that tough start to begin the year,” said Newtown Coach Glenn Adams, adding that his team put together a solid game at both ends of the field.

“We moved the ball really well — we shared the ball. Everybody was part of the offense,” the coach said. “Defensively, six guys worked together as a unit.”

Heading into the Weston game, the win over Pomperaug was Newtown’s only victory, and the comeback at New Fairfield — in which the Hawks battled out of a four-goal hole tie the score — went for naught in a tough 6-5 loss on a chilly, windy, damp April 11 night.

The Nighthawks trailed the Rebels 3-0 at halftime, surrendered an early third-quarter goal and, seconds after finally getting on the scoreboard, saw the Rebels answer for a 5-1 lead. Then the Hawks came to life, reeling off the next four net-finders.

Tom Bauer took a pass from Hebert and scored from in close to make it 5-2 4:33 into the third quarter. Hebert then scored on a low, hard shot to pull his team to within two just past the midpoint of the quarter, with 5:23 showing on the scoreboard clock.

Late in the third, Hebert took a crunching hit (the New Fairfield player was assessed a penalty for a hit to the head), and remained down for a few minutes before leaving the game. Hebert would return to the field later and help his team’s comeback effort. Newtown cashed in on the man advantage when Beauchemin scored on a sharp angle to make it a one-goal contest with 1:35 left in the third.

Beauchemin’s bid to tie the score rattled off the post early in the fourth. Isaacs (seven saves) made a nice stop to keep his team within a goal, and the Hawks finally tied things when Hebert registered his second goal on another low blast, with just 3:16 remaining. The tying tally came moments after the Hawks forced a turnover near midfield.

Just 21 seconds after Hebert tied the game, the Rebels responded when Liam Moriardity found the back of the net for what turned out to be the decisive goal.

New Fairfield goalie Joe Carlucci (17 saves) preserved the win with a late denial, leaving the Hawks frustrated with the outcome after fighting all the way back.

This was the third of five straight road games to start the year for the young Hawks. They lost several standouts to graduation last year, and have been thrown into the proverbial fire with road tilts against tough teams.

Newtown had been toppled 13-2 by Staples of Westport in a nonconference battle on April 6. The Hawks battled to the finish but came up short in a 9-7 setback to Conard of West Hartford on April 13. In the Conard game, Beauchemin and Hebert both scored twice.

“We definitely have a lot of work to do but we knew that coming in,” said after the New Fairfield game. “We just have to battle through these games to get to our homestand.”

“We have to push through and get better every game,” Hebert added. “These road games, and these tough opponents are going to make us better later in the season.”

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