Brunswick School registered more than twice as many shots as Lawrenceville School did during Wednesday’s hockey matchup, but unfortunately for the Bruins, it didn’t reflect on the scoreboard.
The visiting Big Red held the advantage on the most significant statistic — goals.
Scoring late in the first period, then twice in the second period, Lawrenceville School posted a 4-1 win over Brunswick in a late-season game at Hartong Rink.’
The loss brought the defending NEPSAC Division I Large School champion Bruins’ record to 10-9-4 and also hurt its chances for qualifying for the postseason. Brunswick has five games remaining on its schedule and has little margin for error to advance to the postseason.
Outshot, 45-20, Lawrenceville (N.J.) raised its record to 15-6-1. The Big Red, who play in the Mid-Atlantic League, begin their playoffs next week with a game against Portledge School.
Juniors David Parker, Kazuma Matsuo, Jason Wang and senior Matt Manahan each tallied for Lawrenceville, with Manahan scoring an empty-netter in the final seconds.
Sophomore Matthew McGroarty notched Brunswick’s goal.
“With the whole game, I don’t fault our effort, our effort was there from the start,” Brunswick coach Mike Kennedy said. “They took advantage of some of their opportunities and we committed some costly penalties that shifted the momentum a little bit. But we always fought back no matter if we were down.”
The visitors took a 1-0 lead 18:23 into the first period. The Big Red moved the puck from the neutral zone to Brunswick’s zone and junior Nikita Nesterenko slid the puck across the ice to Matsuo, who snapped a shot by Bruins junior goalie Alex Rohl, making it 1-0.
“Those first four or five minutes we played really well and we may have surprised Brunswick a little bit,” Lawrenceville coach Keith Dupee said. “Our guys found a way to set the tone in the first period and we’re proud of how they played.”
Wang and Manahan each tallied at the 11:08 and 11:59 mark, respectively, for Lawrenceville, putting the Bruins in a 3-0 second-period hole.
“They have some talented players, their first line and first group of defensemen are excellent players,” Kennedy said. “If you give them opportunities to make plays they will and they sure did.”
The Bruins entered the third period with a spark after McGroarty’s goal with 58.8 seconds left in the second period. Senior defenseman Cooper Moore’s slap shot from the point deflected off the pads of Lawrenceville goalie TJ Semptimphelter and McGroarty was at the post for a tap-in tally.
“The feeling was good in the locker room after the second period, the guys believed it was going to keep going our way and we were going to come out with the result we wanted,” Kennedy said. “But the chances we got stayed out.”
Semptimphelter kept the puck out of the net, recording 44 saves, several off shots from deep in Lawrenceville’s zone.
“He stood on his head at times, he had a great game,” Kennedy said of Lawrenceville’s goalie. “At the same time, you have to find a way to put it by him. You either have to make the extra pass or take away the goalie’s eyes.”
Dupee liked how his team responded to Brunswick’s goal.
“After the third period, we talked about how if you have a team on the ropes, you have to throw that knockout punch,” Dupee said. “They scored that goal, but we did the things we needed to do in the third period to keep the lead.”
Rohlf made 17 saves for the Bruins, who were paced by the aggressive play of senior forward Charles Shaffer, Moore, senior defenseman Henry Hill and senior forward Aaron Aboodi.
“We got out to a little bit of a slow start, but we settled down and discussed what we needed to do, then we played better,” Hill said. “Our forecheck looked good toward the end of the game and we had 45 shots. We just didn’t get the bounces we were hoping for.”
Both squads were charged with five penalties
PLAYER OF THE GAME
Semptimphelter stepped up between the pipes for in the win.
“He’s been playing like that all season for us,” Dupee said. “He’s have a very strong junior season.”
“We were definitely outplaying them a good portion of the game, but every time we were building momentum we made a mistake, or a bad bounce effected us,” Hill said.
LAWRENCEVILLE 4, BRUNSWICK 1
LAWRENCEVILLE 2 1 1 — 4
BRUNSWICK 0 1 0 — 1
Goals: L — David Parker, Kazuma Matsuo, Jason Wang, Matt Manahan; B — Matthew McGroarty; Assists: L — Nikita Nesterenko 2, Peter Poulianas, Trey Croddick, Parker, Semptimphelter; B — Cooper Moore; Goalies: L — TJ Semptimphelter (44 saves): B — Alex Rohlf (17 saves).