Laxmen Topple Wave, Shutdown Panthers
Heading into a May 1 showdown with visiting Masuk of Monroe, each of the Newtown High School boys’ lacrosse team’s wins had been heavily one-sided. That included a 14-4 triumph at New Milford two days earlier.
That’s what made Newtown’s 6-2 win — a hard-fought battle literally as the final seconds ticked away — all the more rewarding for the Nighthawks. Masuk gave the Hawks a good test, but Newtown’s defensive effort proved to be too much for the Panthers in this afternoon tilt at Blue & Gold Stadium.
Connor Breslin scored three goals, Tanner Trede scored twice and had an assist, Colin Breslin tallied a goal and three assists, and Ryan Ruddy had one assist. Colin Breslin led Newtown with four ground ball scoops. Goaltender Jake Dandrea made nine saves.
“This was our first win against a really good team,” said Newtown Coach Scott Bulkley, whose Nighthawks improved to 6-3, in the process dropping the Panthers to 5-2.
For comparison’s sake, Newtown’s win over New Milford was the closest the Hawks had among their first five wins.
Each of the three defeats have been competitive ones, including a setbacks by just one and two goals, as well as a 9-4 defeat to New Fairfield which was tied late in the second half.
The Nighthawks led 2-0 at the half and built a 6-0 cushion before the Panthers finally broke up the shutout with 3:27 left in regulation. Masuk, in fact, scored twice in a span of eight seconds but left the field with its lowest-scoring effort of the campaign. Masuk’s previous low for goals scored was in an 8-6 loss to Weston in the season opener, and each of the team’s five wins featured double-digit scoring.
Things got testy, a bit overly physical, late. Trede ran the clock out and absorbed numerous hits while maintaining possession of the ball. Trede put up with quite a bit of contact before finally giving a couple of shoves back at a persistent Masuk defender, and that led to a minor scuffle. Cooler heads — and the Nighthawks — prevailed.
“Masuk’s a really good team. They’re well coached,” Scott Bulkley said.
Newtown’s coach was pleased with how Shaine Luzietti and Jake Bulkley clamped down on Masuk standout Quinn Braddick.
Mike Haddick and Nick Sabillion also did a good job of closing out, and Isaiah Williams made strong contributions on close defense, not allowing Masuk to work through the middle.
TJ O’Connell, Trede, Mark Sokk, Jake Bulkley, and Ruddy did nice work to help give Newtown possession from scrums following faceoffs, sparking some transition opportunities. Newtown capitalized with some goals on the move.
In the dominating effort over the New Milford Green Wave, Connor Breslin led the Hawks with five goals, Colin Breslin has three net-finders to go along with a trio of assists, and Sam Steare and Trede both scored twice. Steare and Bulkley both had two assists. Bulkley and Sokk had six and four ground balls, respectively, and Luzietti picked up three grounders. Connor Breslin has filled in nicely since sliding up from midfield to attack one scoring threat Brandon Manka was sidelined with an injury in an April 27 clash with Joel Barlow of Redding.
The Nighthawks will visit Pomperaug of Southbury on Friday, May 7, at 7 pm, and will be back at Blue & Gold to host New Fairfield Saturday, May 8, at 2 o’clock.
Andy Hutchison can be reached at email@example.com.