WATERBURY — Harwood hockey coach Shaun Morse didn’t mince any words when discussing Saturday’s 6-3 loss against Missisquoi.
“Missisquoi is a hard-working and first-class skating team,” Morse said. “They jumped all over us with three great rebound goals where our goalie would make three great saves but they’d chip it in on the fourth try. We had a couple back-to-back power plays late and it helped us build positive momentum. But by that time we were already down by four.”
Harwood scored first in the opening period, but during the following two minutes Missisquoi charged back with three goals of their own. Hunter Mason punched in two straight for the Thunderbirds to take a 2-1 lead. Braylen Parent and Joel Gagne also scored twice for the Thunderbirds, who fired 45 shots on Harwood goalie Sean Russell.
If there’s one thing that Missisquoi has, it’s firepower on offense.
“I consider Mason, Braylen and Joel the pillars of our team and of the offense,” Missisquoi coach Chris Hatin said. “And Logan LaBelle in net was solid tonight. He kept us in the game early when we started a little slow.”
LaBelle faced 20 shots and was particularly effective late in the third period as the Thunderbirds killed off consecutive penalties.
“Our offense is a big strength of the team,” Hatin said. “But when we needed it, our goaltender stood strong as well tonight and he kept us in the game. We’ve got some players that remain composed and understand how to play the box. So penalty killing is one of our strengths. It’s not something we want to be on, but when we are we seem to control the play. After giving up that goal in the first period, the team responded really well and the chemistry was pretty amazing.”
Skylar Platt, Jake Wells and Jacob Cantwell scored for the Highlanders, with Gavin Thomsen picking two assists.
“Things have been up and down so far for us and we’ve been in every game this year,” Morse said. “Our league is so even and you can win by a goal or lose by a goal and still have played a great game. It’s fun but it’s also stressful. Right now we have a good energy and I think we skated even in the second period and won the third. We started out 1-0-3 and rattled off a few wins as we try to fight our way back”
Missisquoi (12-2) will face Hartford on Monday. Harwood (6-5-3) will travel to play Lyndon at 7 p.m. Wednesday.