NORTHFORD — Teams better start planning on playing some defense when Hand is on their schedule.
The Tigers, who have outscored their opponents 22-1, blitzed Staples-Weston-Shelton, 8-0, Thursday afternoon at the Northford Ice Pavilion.
“It’s a little bit of a chess match not knowing what we have,” Hand coach Ken Mitchell said. “The lines are jelling. Once we got our wheels underneath us, we played really well.”
Staples-Weston-Shelton (1-2) had a chance early in the first period when Derek Nussbaum had a breakaway, but Chase Briggs came up big and knocked the puck aside.
“We kicked into high gear after that,” Hand forward Danny Braumman said. “We wanted to get the shutout.”
Hand (3-0) got on the board midway through the first period when Chase Freiman pounced on a rebound and popped it into the top left corner of the net past SWS goaltender William Englehart with 6:35 remaining.
Just 49 seconds later, Jack Smith passed the puck across the ice in front of Englehart to a wide-open Danny Braumann, who beat Englehart for the score.
Braumann quickly made it 3-0 exactly 1 minute into the second period when he tucked the puck past Englehart’s blocker.
With 5:20 to go in the second period and just 18 seconds after Nussbaum was sent to the penalty box for hooking, Braumman finished off the natural hat trick after the Tigers worked the puck around to him and he put the puck past Englehart into the top right corner of the net.
Ben Solin made it 5-0 a minute later with a blast from right up the middle as Briggs was heading to the bench after a Staples penalty. Braumman then tacked on his third goal of the period and his fourth of the game with a shot from the right side with 2:04 to play in the period.
“They are starting to learn how to use each other and that could be a problem for some teams,” Mitchell said.
Trevor Paraiso made it 7-0 on a scramble in front with 23 seconds remaining in the second period.
Luke Brown finished off the scoring for Hand with a goal in the final period.
“We struggled to get any offensive momentum today,” Staples-Weston-Shelton coach Todd Sharinn said. “You play what you practice and hope it works. Some days it works, some days it doesn’t.”
Briggs had 12 saves in two periods for Hand, while senior backup goalie Nate McCann collected 13 saves in the third period. Englehart had 24 saves for Staples-Weston-Shelton.