By Eliot Schickler

eschickler@bcnnew.com

Droughts sometimes come at the most inopportune time and that's what happened to the Staples-Weston-Shelton co-op boys hockey team Saturday.

Second-seeded Staples scored a goal every game until then and this sudden-famine translated into a 4-0 loss to the fourth-seeded Watertown-Pomperaug co-op hockey team in the Division III championship game at Yale University's Ingalls Rinks to end the season at 16-8. Watertown capped its year at 18-7.

"We couldn't score any goals," Wreckers Coach Ralph Unker said. "I think we were sluggish and we over-passed. We looked for the perfect shot instead of attacking the net. We had many chances."

The Indians scored two early goals to claim the momentum and control the game. Watertown senior co-captain Jack Murphy caught Staples senior alternate captain goalie Luke Andriuk (24 saves) out of position and deked a shot past him 3:02 into the game after his younger brother, sophomore Kevin Murphy set him up. Only 33 seconds after Murphy's goal, sophomore Borsari walked in on a breakaway and snapped a wrist shot to the right side of the net to make it 2-0.

"I partially blame myself but it's tough when the first two shots are two-on-one breakaways and backdoor plays," Andriuk said. "Everyone is nervous at the beginning of the game. I tried to put the two goals behind me but we couldn't find the back of the net."

Both teams had its chances as they ended the game with 31 shots each. Sophomore Wyatt Fern had a golden chance to get the Wreckers back into the game when he fired a shot from the right point that Indians sophomore goalie Trevor St. Onge (31 saves). St. Onge also stymied senior captain Tali Laifer and senior alternate captain Ben Brancucci.

"It wasn't our day, it was Trevor St. Onge's day," said Unker.

Jack Murphy increased the lead to 3-0 when he scored from point blank range with 11:22 remaining in the second period after receiving a pass from Borsari on the left wing.

Andriuk made a few saves on tough shots in the second period on senior co-captain Brian Fay and junior defenseman Kevin Lvovich. Jack Murphy had a chance to make it 4-0 when he walked in but Andriuk stymied him originally. Murphy's rebound was in the process of trickling past the line but Laifer was there and kept it out.

Despite falling further in arrears, Staples still had opportunities but Lvovich broke up many plays to preserve the shutout. Wrecker junior Forest Savage had a golden chance in the third period on a breakaway but St. Onge gloved his shot.

"It was a big save and could have changed the momentum of the game," said St. Onge. "I was patient, waited for him to shoot it and I controlled the rebound."

St. Onge also robbed junior captains Aaron Liu and Kyle Wehmhoff on separate breakaways and Lvovich also prevented Wehmhoff from starting a breakaway.

Kevin Murphy closed out the scoring with a shorthanded goal with 4:44 left in the game. Senior captain Mark Blake-Lobb (three saves) relieved Andriuk after that.

"We have the top scoring line in the state and this is the only game we were shut out," said Unker. "It's disappointing and frustrating we couldn't score."

Liu said, "They wanted it more than us and played harder."

Ironically, one team Staples did score on earlier in the year was Watertown when the Wreckers defeated the Indians 4-2 at home on Dec. 20.

"We knew they had the revenge factor going and it wasn't going to be an easy game" Laifer said. "We knew because we beat them last time didn't mean anything. They just outplayed us this time."

One difference between this game and the previous ones was a 10 a.m. start, something Staples has never been accustomed to because most of its games are in the evening.

"Most of our team didn't get enough sleep but you can't blame the loss on it," Wehmhoff said. "We had many chances but couldn't find the back of the net. It's a tough loss."