After a dour, scoreless first half that saw neither team carve out a significant chance on goal, both the Staples and Trumbull boys soccer teams realized the game was for the taking in the second half.
So when both teams took the field to begin the final 40 minutes, the extra sense of urgency created a frenetic pace that was only thwarted by a pair of outstanding performances in net.
Each team had plenty of chances to claim all three points, but Staples goalie Noah Schwaeber and his counterpart Josh Armine were at their best in the second half. The duo combined for 14 saves in the last 40 minutes.
"Both goalies stood up to the task; (Schwaeber) was flying all over the place; (Amrine) was flying all over the place," Trumbull coach Sebastian Gangemi said. "That's what a goalie is supposed to do."
"(Schwaeber) was fantastic, as was their goalie," Wreckers coach Dan Woog said. "Noah was the man of the match for us today. He's become a great leader back there."
The Eagles (5-5-1) had a chance to snatch all three points with five minutes left, but Justin Lynch was whistled to be offside on a breakaway. Schwaeber then made a diving save to his left to deny the junior seconds later.
Staples (8-1-2) responded with a quality chance with three minutes left, but Armine made a diving save from close range to deny a shot by George Kokkalis and had to settle for a draw.
The Wreckers extended its undefeated run to seven games but were disappointed they couldn't come away with the win.
"We've been making strides the past six or seven games but today we took a step back," midfielder Charlie Leonard said. "There is no awful team in the FCIAC, so every team is going to give you real competition, that's something that you always have to be on your toes for."
Puchala joined the attack to open the scoring off of a throw in 10 minute into the second half. Puchala used his size and strength to get through the defense and fired a low shot into the left corner of the net.
"(Puchala) gets it done by hook or by crook," Woog said. "He bulled his way through there; those are the kinds of goals that we need more of."
Trumbull had a pair of goals disallowed, one with seconds to go in the first half and the next very early in the second half, for offside.
"We played outstanding in the second half," Gangemi said. A couple of calls didn't go our way but we were at (Staples) pretty good. We could have won; it was a nice, hard, tough game between two good teams."
Next up for Staples is a test against Greenwich, which is in first place in the conference. In a possible playoff preview, the Wreckers know it's going to take a complete effort to take down the undefeated Cardinals.
"Greenwich is undefeated," Woog said. "They will be pleased by this result. I'm sure it takes a little pressure off them. It makes it a huge game for us."