HIGGANUM >> The Haddam-Killingworth’s boys’ soccer team looks like it has figured it out.
After dropping their first four matches, the Cougars have won three in a row, the latest a one-sided 3-0 win against Portland in a Shoreline Conference match played at H-K Tuesday afternoon.
But more than just the three wins in a row, the two losses prior to that were in overtime, also known as ones that got away.
“We played very well in all five of our last games,” said H-K coach Jim Larkin. “We are continuing to get better and I thought we played very well as a team today.”
H-K (3-4) dominated from start to finish. The three goal margin could have been much, much larger as the Cougars missed six more glorious chances to score, including smacking a penalty kick off the crossbar.
“We’ve certainly been getting our chances,” said Larkin. “We’re working the ball, building an offense. We just need to finish.”
H-K took a 1-0 lead 30 minutes into the match when Zach Westerbeke scored off a pass from Liam Blancaflor. Westerbeke put the ball into the left corner of the net from 10 yards out.
Portland keeper Cole Ogorzalek, whose play impressed both coaches, had no chance.
The one goal stood up at halftime and in the second, the Cougars put the match away.
It was Blancaflor who scored both second-half goals, which along with his first half assist easily made him the star of the game. Blancaflor made the score 2-0 when he scored off a pass from Logan O’Donnell about 20 minutes into the second half.
Ten minutes later Blancaflor wrapped up the scoring with an easy goal off a pass from Nick Afragola.
Ogorzalek, whom Larkin called very athletic, finished with five saves, three of them terrific stops. His best came with two minutes left in the first half when he dove to his right to stop an H-K shot.
“Cole is actually a first-year player,” said Portland coach James Stotler. “He really stepped up today and turned in one of his better performances. He really works hard back there. I’m happy for him and I’m proud of him.
“But it comes down to mathematics. If the other side is taking a ton of shots, it’s going to come back to haunt us.”
Portland fell to 1-5.
“I think we’re just off right now,” said Stotler. “We’re not playing up to our potential. It’s frustrating both to me and the guys. We seem to be one step behind and can’t seem to get on the right track.
“We got off to a good start [Portland split its first two matches], but we’ve been slipping lately. It’s still pretty early, so we’ll go to practice and try to turn things around. We need to play with a sense of urgency.”
H-K keeper Elliot Lynskey pretty much had the day off making just two saves, although he had to come up with a good one to preserve the shutout with about 13 minutes left to play in the first half.
“We’re playing so well as a unit,” Larkin said.
Portland plays Old Saybrook at home Friday (3:45 p.m.), while H-K will host the Morgan School of Clinton Friday at 3:45 p.m.