It wasn’t a victory, but Brunswick School and Loomis Chaffee School each exited Thursday’s season-opening hockey matchup pretty satisfied with the final result.
The Pelicans battled back from a two-goal deficit, then the Bruins tallied the equalizer, after trailing by a goal in a hard-fought 3-3 overtime tie before a big crowd at Hartong Rink.
The defending NEPSAC Class A Division I Large School champion Bruins found themselves trailing 3-2 late in the third period, after building a two-goal advantage. With the minutes dwindling down, Brunswick sophomore forward Ryan St. Louis scored with 1:55 remaining in the third period, making it 3-3. St. Louis who knocked in a rebound from close in through traffic, was set up by senior captain Charles Shaffer and sophomore forward Michael Salandra on the game-tying goal.
“I like the start that we had to the game,” Brunswick first-year coach Mike Kennedy said. “Loomis started strong and we weathered the storm. We got the puck to the net and got a couple of nice goals.”
With Brunswick leading 2-0 following an impressive first period, the Pelicans seized the momentum in the second period. Alex Krause, Chris Avallone and Thomas Costello each talled during the second period for the Pelicans (0-1-1). Costello’s shorthanded goal put the visitors on top, 3-2. He stole the puck in the Bruins’ zone, skated in and put a wrister (top shelf) past Bruins senior goalie Dan Dachille with three minutes remaining in the second period. The goal capped a span of three straight tallies for Loomis over a span of 5:53.
Going into the locker room with a two-goal lead is an uneasy feeling,” said Kennedy, who made his debut as the Bruins’ head coach. “A two-goal lead in hockey, as they say, is the toughest lead.”
Dachille, one of the Bruins’ captains, made 31 saves in goal for Brunswick, which was outshot by Loomis, 34-28.
“We scored two in the first period, then we kind of let down and Loomis got the momentum,” Dachille said. “Then after we battled through it, we got the momentum back in the third period. We shut the door in overtime, despite not getting a goal. It was a good first game for us.”
Sophomore forward Matthew McGroarty gave Brunswick a 1-0 lead at the 8:55 mark of the first period. With the Bruins applying pressure in the Pelican’s zone, McGroarty beat Pelicans goalie Kyle Chauvette to his stick side for the game’s first goal. Senior Aaron Aboodi, one of the captains, each assisted on the goal.
The Bruins extended their edge to 2-0, scoring off a well-executed faceoff play. Salandra, a sophomore forward, knocked the puck past Chauvette from close in off a rebound 12:24 into the first period. Shaffer initiated the action on the scoring play, sending the puck to senior defenseman Cooper Moore, who got it to Salandra.
Chauvette made 25 saves for the visitors.
“To see how we fought back after they took the lead is a positive,” Shaffer said. “We’re pretty happy about the result, last year we lost to Loomis in our first game of the season. After winning the title last year, we’ve been waiting for the puck to drop to start our season.”
Moore and Henry Hill, both of whom saw a lot of ice time, paced the Bruins’ defensive effort.
“Loomis will be a highly-ranked team this year, so this was not a bad result,” Kennedy said. “It started with our goaltending. Dan held the fort after their three-goal second period and did a great job.”
Said Loomis Chaffee coach John Zavisza: “I thought we answered the tempo and pace they played with pretty well. To come back from a 2-0 deficit in the second period is not easy to do. It’s tough to give up the lead with just over a minute left, but we played well. We’ve actually never won here, we’ve never tied so, it’s a good way to start the year.”
Brunswick (0-0-1) travels to New Hampton on Saturday at 1 p.m. The Bruins’ next home game is Wednesday against Kent at 3 p.m.
“I like getting into the rhythm of the season, with a lot of games coming up,” Dachille said.