Working Overtime: Hockey Team Earns Tie And Extra Time Victory Behind Makris Tallies
It was quite a competitive, and rewarding, week for the Newtown-New Fairfield high school co-op hockey team. The Nighthawks skated to a 2-2 tie with New Milford on February 17, then overcame the Joel Barlow-Abbott Tech-Weston team 2-1 in overtime on February 20. Both games took place at Danbury Ice Arena.
In the deadlock with New Milford, Jack Benzing was set up by Phil Makris and Makris lit the lamp with an unassisted tally.
“We were happy with that. It was a good game. New Milford is a tough team to play,” Esposito said.
In their first two contests, the Nighthawks were shut out 2-0 by the Bethel-Brookfield-Danbury squad and fell 3-1 to Milford as this first-year co-op with New Fairfield got going.
“We’ve really been struggling to find the net,” said Esposito, adding that it seemed like things would turn during a handful of flurries near the New Milford goal. “The puck would just not go in. It was right there on the doorstep.”
Goaltender Markus Paltauf and the Newtown-New Fairfield defense again worked hard to help keep the Nighthawks in the game. Paltauf made 29 saves on 31 New Milford shots.
Against Barlow, the Nighthawks pulled out the dramatic win as Makris scored both times. He tied things late in the third period with a goal assisted by James Celentano and John O’Sullivan, then won the game with seconds left in OT; Cam Gouveia and Ronan McAllister had the assists.
The Hawks were fortunate to escape with the win as penalties piled up against them in the final minute-plus of regulation and early stages of the ten-minute overtime.
Newtown found itself having to kill off a three overlapping penalties, including about three minutes of 5-on-3 Barlow power play time.
“It was a pretty chaotic and exciting game,” Esposito noted. “Kudos to the penalty killers — they did an outstanding job. The kids overcame it. They stayed positive.”
Paltauf stopped 33 shots in the win, and got help from defensemen McAllister, O’Sullivan, and Eli Kirby, along with forwards Gouveia and Wiley Harris during the penalty kills.
“They really kept us in the game there,” Esposito said. “We killed the penalties and jumped off that momentum.”
Ed Faircloth contributed to the offense with some scoring chances in the Barlow game.
Newtown’s scheduled contest with Masuk of Monroe was postponed when there was early school dismissal during the February 22 snow.
The Hawks will have a rematch with the Barlow-led team at Danbury Ice Arena for Newtown’s Senior Day game Saturday, February 27, at 11:30 am.