DANBURY, CT– Homecoming was unpleasant for the Danbury Colonials, as the New England Stars ran roughshod over Danbury Arena. Seven goals were potted in a 7-3 beatdown of the orange-and-black.
Defensive zone turnovers proved costly in the early goings. Though Shane O’Brien was able to stymy two chances within the first two minutes off an errant breakout pass from behind the Colonials’ endline, Jon Natale eventually converted on a third turnover to put the Stars on top five minutes into the contest.
Natale would score again in the first period, while teammate Henry Beguelin was left uncovered in the crease on a powerplay after a costly Connor Lefkof cross-check along the boards. New England led 3-0 after the first, outshooting the Colonials 11-5.
Danbury would come out firing in the second, rattling off 10 shots in the first 10 minutes of the frame. Stars netminder Casey Johnson stood tall, fending off 15 of 16 shots in the period and escaping with a 4-1 lead.
Though Kyle McEnany would score early in the third to cut the deficit to two, the Colonials would fail to come any closer, as New England answered back three minutes later. Dylan Webber continued the back-and-forth with a goal of his own at 6-on-4, but New England would pull away for a 7-3 final.
“I honestly believe that our guys were maybe a bit too excited to play at home and got away from how we want to play,” head coach Kevin Cunningham commented after the game. “Full credit to the Stars, they employ an organized and effective strategy and they stayed committed to it all game.”
Defensive pressure led to key opportunities for the Stars. A constant two-man attack on the puck carrier caught Danbury flatfooted and forced many an errant pass. Though Danbury would regain their footing as time elapsed in regulation, their inconsistency proved costly.
“We can learn from their consistent execution,” Cunningham noted.
The Colonials will have a chance to respond this afternoon at 3:50 p.m. in Tyngsboro, MA as they complete the home-and-home with New England.
Despite the loss, Cunningham and company were appreciative of the local turnout for the home opener. The Colonials, donning their new bright orange alternate sweaters, saluted the crowd after the game at center ice.
Said Cunningham, “The atmosphere and energy in the arena was fantastic.”