TORRINGTON >> With 2:21 left on the clock, Torrington Amar Suljic found the back of net to lift the Red Raiders to a 1-0 win against the Watertown Indians.
“I tell them shoot, shoot, and good things will happen,” said Torrington head coach Mike Fritch Jr. “We were on the lucky side today.”
The Red Raiders had an abundance of shots in the first half, but they weren’t able to put one past Watertown’s junior goaltender Dan LaFlamme.
“We haven’t finished our chances, same thing happened on Wednesday,” said Fritch. “We controlled the ball like we wanted, but we couldn’t get the final touch.”
Frustration began to sink in as the missed opportunities began to pile up, with teammates bickering with each other on the field. But once Suljic scored to put them ahead, it was all forgotten.
“It was so frustrating, we were all off key,” said Suljic, who received a deflected pass from Shane Bierfeldt on his goal. “It was a relief knowing that we can put it away.”
A tie was something that the Suljic and his teammates didn’t even consider.
“We don’t want a tie,” said Suljic a junior. “A tie is a loss to us; we want to win them all.”
In the first half, Torrington spent most of it in their offensive zone, putting shot on top of shot on the net, giving their goaltender Zack Paniati a very easy half, facing not shots on net.
That wasn’t the case in the second half as the Indians came out in the second half getting more scoring chances.
“We struggled in the first,” said Watertown head coach Vitto Caligiuri. “We had great scoring opportunities in the second half.”
The problem for the Indians was though Paniati, a senior, had nothing to do in the first half; he was still in the zone.
“I just stayed focused,” said Paniati who made five saves in the win. “It’s a little easier for me; I am always communicating with the team, when we’re on offense or defense.”
Getting no action is not a surprise to Fritch.
“It’s been like that all year from him,” said Fritch.
Suljic is happy to have a goaltender like Paniati in the net, especially when the team is having a hard time scoring; he knows that they will always be in the game.
“As a forward it’s a relieving feeling knowing that we have Zack in net,” said Suljic.
With the loss the young Indians team falls to 2-2 but has a lot to take away from the loss.
“Gives us a tremendous boost,” said Caligiuri. “We had four to five sophomores and three freshmen on the field in the last 20 minutes.”
Torrington stays unbeaten at 4-0, but said they have a lot to take away from the win, if they want to compete for a league championship.
“We have to get to the potential that we know we can play at,” said Sulijc.
But they are happy with the win.
“A win is a win,” said Paniati. “We have a lot to take away from it.”
Torrington 1 Watertown 0
At Torrington High School
Torrington 0 1 – 1
Watertown 0 0 – 0
Goals: T-Amar Suljic. Assists: T-Shane Bierfeldt. Saves: T-Zack Paniati 5. W-Dan LaFlamme 5.
Records: Torrington 4-0, Watertown 2-2.