Brunswick traveled to Salisbury — winners of the last two NEPSAC Elite 8 titles and seven in total since 2006 — and knocked off the Crimson Knights, 5-2, with a determined and spirited effort in northwestern Connecticut this evening.
The Bruins reset yesterday at practice after a disappointing outing and result at Taft — the message being not to dwell in the past or look to the future, but instead, to commit to each day, practice, or game and play a harder, more competitive, team-oriented brand of hockey.
They answered with their second win over Salisbury (7-2-1) in program history — the last being Ron VanBelle’s 200th career win as head coach in 2017.
’Wick broke open a 1-0 game in the pivotal second with all three tallies in the period and two while shorthanded.
Junior Sean Gibbons started things off on a beautiful give-and-go after breaking in on a 2 v 1 with fellow classmate Luke Drury for the first shorty; senior Eli Friedman roofed a backhander up under the bar for an even-strength goal and his second of the game to push the lead to three; and junior Jake Minella gave the visitors a 4-0 advantage on a slick shorthanded breakaway finish on the backhand.
Senior goaltender Brendan Holahan dominated the frame in between the pipes, as Salisbury went to the power play three times and had two breakaway chances of their own, ultimately coming up empty or being denied on every opportunity.
The boisterous Salisbury student section had been quieted as the teams went to the locker rooms after 36 minutes.
The home squad did get on the board early in the third, but Brunswick stayed the course and continued rolling waves of forwards on to the ice for short, smart shifts.
Junior Ryan Wachtel broke loose on another breakaway to seal things with 6:23 to play before the defending champs added one more in the last minute to cap the night’s scoring.
Unmentioned seniors James Shannon, Collin Eschricht, Sloan Farmer, Niko Cadoret, and Daniel Hu were all outstanding and paved the way to the big W. (The eighth and final senior, Hunter Spiess, was unable to play or else we're sure his name would have been included in the group above.)