MILFORD -- Much like his teammates, Staples-Weston-Shelton goalie William Englehart was eager to shake off a season-opening loss, and the erratic performance that followed it.
On Wednesday evening, sophomore forward Ryan Gawricki helped the Wreckers do just that.
Gawricki netted a career-high four goals and added an assist as Staples' boys ice hockey team cruised past Masuk 6-0 at Milford Ice Pavillion.
Englehart, a junior, made 17 saves for the shutout, lifting Staples to its second-straight win following a 9-3 loss to Newingtown-Berlin-Manchester on Dec. 12.
"We really wanted to shake that off," Englehart said of the opening loss. "I think this Masuk team thought they could beat us. ¦ We were ready, we worked hard in practice and we were all motivated to get back to the team that we were."
It didn't take long for Staples (2-1) to reach that level. Junior forward Sean Stewart put the Wreckers up 1-0 just 96 seconds in, and Gawricki pocketed his first goal with 2:23 left in the first period.
The Wreckers, who outshot Masuk 30-17, maintained a two-goal lead for most of the second period before creating a cushion.
Junior Thomas Meyers and Gawricki scored 11 seconds apart in the final minute of the second period to make it 4-0.
"In the first period, I don't think we did as good. But we picked our game up in the second and third," said Gawricki, who now has seven goals on the year. "Their mistakes led to goals.
"We just capitalized on them."
Gawricki added his third goal of the game just 50 seconds into the third period off an assist from junior Steven Shulman. Both Shulman and sophomore John Mendillo recorded three assists in the win.
Staples has now scored 17 goals in three games.
"I think the past few games our offense has had a lot of opportunities that we couldn't get on," Englehart said. "Tonight I thought we played the best offensive game we've played all year."
After an 8-2 win over Lyman Hall-Haddam Killingworth on Dec. 15, in which the Wreckers made a slew of turnovers, the Wreckers were pleased to put together a complete performance.
"At practice yesterday, (head coach Ralph) Unker was telling us that we really had to work hard, and he really wanted to win this game," Gawricki said. "We just stuck that in our minds and came out hard."
Staples--a Division-III state finalist two years ago--is hoping to build on its strong play.
"I think with each game, we learn something new," Englehart said. "We work on that in practice, and it's starting to accumulate to something good."
Staples will look to increase its winning streak when it hosts Fitch-East Lyme-Ledyard on Saturday at 7:15 p.m. at Milford Ice Pavillion.
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STAPLES-WESTON-SHELTON 6, MASUK 0
MASUK 0 0 0--0
STAPLES 2 2 2--6
Records: Masuk 1-1; Staples 2-1.
Goals: S--Ryan Gawricki 4, Sean Stewart, Thomas Meyers. Assists: S--John Mendillo 3, Steven Shulman 3, Stewart 2, Eric Zurmuehle, Gawricki. Goalies: M--Owen Bowler, Aidan Bowler (24 combined saves); S--William Englehart (17 saves). Shots: M--17; S--30.