SHELTON--The Staples/Weston/Shelton boys hockey team remains the only team in Division III to defeat a Division I squad so far this season.
Saturday, the Wreckers, thanks to timely offense and an outstanding performance in goal, came agonizingly close to making it a second win against a Division I and FCIAC powerhouse.
Staples goalie Will Englehart made 49 saves and forward Derek Nussbaum had two goals and two assists as Staples/Weston/Shelton and St. Joseph skated to a 4-4 tie at the Rinks at Shelton. The result left the Wreckers at 6-5-1 while the Cadets are 4-7-1.
"I walked in here tonight; as long as my kids gave it everything they had it was a win," Staples coach Todd Sharinn said. "Coming out of here with a tie against a very good hockey team with four lines against our two; how could I be anything but proud of how hard my kids worked."
Jesse Greenspun scored on a 2-on-1 breakaway with 3:56 left in regulation to give Staples its first lead of the night. Nussbaum had his shot stopped by St. Joseph goalie Christian Furce, but Greenspun was on hand to poke home the rebound.
The Wreckers appeared to be heading towards the upset, but, with the goalie pulled and the extra attacker on the ice for St. Joesph, Ryan Corcoran fired a wrist shot from the blue line that went high into the back of the net.
"We didn't come out with any intensity and we weren't prepared enough," St. Joseph coach Marty Crouse said. "We were flat, we kept (Staples) in the game and we had to scramble to come back."
St. Joseph dominated the first period, outshooting Staples 18-2 in jumping out to a two-goal lead. Staples came into the game in the second and got a pair of goals to make the score 2-2.
"This has been our biggest problem all year, and, hopefully we'll get it figured out before the playoffs, but we seem to be a two-period team," Sharinn said. "We were lucky we only walked out of there two goals down."
The Wreckers tied the game at two in the second period on a bizarre goal. A shot from the red line rolled harmlessly towards Furce, who attempted to cover the puck with his glove. The puck slid into the back of the cage to the dismay of the Cadets bench.
"It should never have come to that," Crouse said. "We had so many opportunities. We knew if we let Staples hang around they had an ability to come back. I wasn't hoping for it but was definitely aware it could happen."
The Cadets got the lead back moments later when Staples was called for simultaneous minors that gave the hosts a 5-on-3 power play for two full minutes. St. Joseph converted on that chance 1:02 into the penalties.
St. Joseph controlled the eight minute overtime in search for the game-winning goal. The Cadets outshot the Wreckers 6-0 in the period, but Englehart had all the answers and the game ended in a draw.
"(Englehart) did exceptional, what more could you ask for," Sharinn said.
Corcoran scored twice for St. Joseph, while Furce made 21 saves. The Cadets are 0-4-1 in games decided by two goals or less. Despite a significant numerical advantage in depth -- St. Joseph used 22 skaters while Staples had 13 -- The Cadets couldn't wear the opposition down.
"We didn't really catch any breaks but we haven't made breaks go our way either," Crouse said. "We look for others to blame, good teams and good players make things happen for them; we kind of wait around for good things to happen."
Staples/Weston/Shelton 4, St. Joseph 4
STAPLES 0 2 2 0 --4
ST. JOSEPH 2 1 1 0 --4
Records: Staples 6-5-1, 4-2-1 FCIAC; St. Joseph 4-7-1, 2-3-1 FCIAC. Goals: S--Derek Nussbaum 2, Jack Mendillo, Jesse Greenspun. SJ--Colin Powell, Ryan Corcoran 2, Filippo Petrini. Assists: S--Eric Zurmuehle 2, Nussbaum 2, Mendillo, Ryan Johnson. SJ--Powell, Chris Kirven, Corcoran. Goalies: S--Will Englehart (49 saves); SJ--Christian Furce (21 saves). Shots: S--25; SJ--53.