DURHAM >> The Cromwell goals came in a flurry early as waves of Panthers found some room up front and finished one-on-one chances against Coginchaug goalkeeper Dan Gaurilovic.
Yup, Gaurilovic seemed under siege for most of the first half Tuesday afternoon. It was also apparent that the senior-laden Panthers were a lot more focused in their Shoreline Conference opener.
Derek Parker and Jared Grant scored two goals apiece, while Ardit Statovci and Taylor Lajoie each had one goal – all six goals tallied in the first half — as Cromwell cruised past the Blue Devils, 6-0, at Coginchaug Stadium.
The defending Class S champions, who were coming off a non-seeded 0-0 tie against Valley Regional and a 2-1 win last Saturday at St. Paul Catholic, were looking for a quick start against the Blue Devils.
“The first couple of games we were kind of knocking the dust off and we were a little complacent and not coming out strong,” said Cromwell coach Jon Harder. “So that was the focus for us, especially at yesterday’s practice, and it was once we win the ball how quickly can we transition and get back onto their goal. And it really paid off for us.”
Statovci scored just six minutes in with a point blank shot from the left side. Less than two minutes later, Parker settled a bouncing ball up front and scored on a rebound for a 2-0 advantage.
Grant then made a terrific move in the middle and fired a bullet into the upper net. Grant added a breakaway goal and Parker’s second score made it 5-0 with 15:34 still remaining in the first half.
“We finished our shots too,” Harder added. “Goals don’t score themselves. You really have to put it all together to make it happen. We’re senior heavy and I think our experience really showed.”
Lajoie notched the sixth goal with just 22 seconds left.
“When we made mistakes they capitalized and that’s what good teams do,” said Coginchaug coach Chris Cap. “And they attack with force, just waves of players coming up and it’s hard to defend that type of pace and size. My hats off to Jon. He does a great job with his team.”
Zach Taylor, Garrett Puchalski and Korben Paul all had scoring opportunities in the first half for the Blue Devils. Puchalski also had a pair of scoring bids early in the second half.
Coginchaug (0-2-1) opened its season with 1-1 tie at Morgan. The Blue Devils also lost a 1-0 decision against Westbrook last Friday.
“We created more chances today than we have in our first two games this season,” said Cap. “We’re starting to try to move the ball and develop some attacking. But I’m happy with our effort today. Obviously, I’m not happy with the end result.”
Panther senior keeper Ryan Murphy finished with 11 saves, while Gaurilovic made eight saves.
Cromwell (2-0-1) hosts Haddam-Killingworth on Friday at 6:30 p.m.
“H-K’s always a tough game,” said Harder. “We went to overtime with them twice last year. We have to get our nose right back on the grindstone tomorrow and start focusing for Friday.”