Brunswick hockey falls to Delbarton, 7-3 [SLIDESHOW]

Although the Brunswick School ice hockey team played an evenly-matched game against Delbarton School Monday afternoon at the Hartong Rink, they were unable to pull out the victory, as the Bruins fell 7-3 in the first regular season match-up between the two powerhouse schools.

“Delbarton has a great hockey tradition and this is the first time we got to play them in a regular season game,” VanBelle said. “It was as I expected. All three periods were exactly what I was hoping for. The pace of play was great, there was plenty of end-to-end action and both team had some solid forechecks and aggressive offense. It felt like a pretty even game, despite the score. We did a lot of good things, but the difference is that it came down to a few bounces and they took advantage of their offensive chances.”

For Brunswick, sophomore forward Matt Sealy scored the team’s first goal in the second period. In the third, the Bruins got goals from both junior forward Tommy Dunleavy and senior forward Sebastian Foster.

Senior forward Nick Jermain led the way with two assists, while Dunleavy, freshman defender Grey Owens, sophomore forward Colin Slyne and junior defenseman Michael Faulkner each score one assist.

In a back-and-forth first period, Brunswick had several chances to find the back of the net. While on the power play, Dunleavy, Faulkner and Jermain each had looks at the net, but all were saved by Delbarton.

With 5:09 left in the period, senior Mark Esposito and freshman Christian LeSueur were on a 2-on-1, but the shot by LeSueur sailed wide left. With 3:46 left in the period, both teams had stellar chances at opening the scoring. Owens fired a long distance shot that the Delbarton goalie got a blocker on.

However, Delbarton’s Peter Welch, a senior, got the puck off transition from the previous Brunswick play and blasted a shot from 10 yards out, but Bruins’ goalie Matteo Esposito, a junior, got a glove on the puck and stopped play.

With 1:16 to play in the first, Delbarton’s Harrison Newman got his own rebound and buried the second chance past Matteo Esposito for the 1-0 lead.

Delbarton’s lead didn’t last long, as Brunswick opened the second period on fire. After LeSueur and Foster each had shots at net towards the left corner of the net three minutes into the period, Brunswick was able to tie the game with 14:10 left in the second.

Sealy charged towards the net and unloaded a shot that the Delbarton goalie was unable to snag for the tying goal.

Although Delbarton scored three minutes later to reclaim the lead, they put the game out of reach midway though the second. After Matteo Esposito stopped a 2-on-1 from Delbarton’s Matt Tang and Will McCarthy, he was unable to stop the puck from finding the back of the net with 9:27 on the clock.

On the goal, the Brunswick defense was frustrated and a penalty was called. Only 11 seconds later Delbarton scored on the attack to extend the lead to 4-1.

“Letting a team like that score twice in a minute is a bad recipe,” VanBelle said. “When a team scores against you, the next shift is the most important shift at that time. For us to take a penalty at that goal and then having them score right away after it was tough. When a game is a battle and pretty evenly contested, when you give up two goals, it turns the game around.”

Going into that third frame trailing 5-1, VanBelle told his team in the locker room that giving up was not an option, and the Bruins listened. Playing hard to the final whistle, Brunswick scored two goals in the frame.

“Nobody quit and we outplayed them in the third,” VanBelle said. “Although the score was 2-2 in the third period, I thought we got the better of the play. We played hard and it was a good, clean period. I thought there were a lot of positives to come out of that period. We showed our toughness. I wish we could play Delbarton every week. They are well-coached and they are a good team. They gave us a good hockey game.”

Although the game against Delbarton was a non-conference match-up, the Brunswick hockey team is running out of time if they plan on making the hotly-contested postseason tournament.

With the loss to Delbarton, Brunswick fell to 12-10 overall. In the New England standing, Brunswick sits at 8-9 and has some key games coming up on the schedule.

Wednesday, the Bruins will hit the Hartong Rink ice and play Albany Academy in a huge contest. In order to get into the postseason tournament, Brunswick must finish the regular season with a .500 or better New England record.

In addition to Albany Academy, Brunswick has key battles with Phillips Exeter Academy, Kents Hill and Kingswood-Oxford.

“We have six conference games, so we can still sneak in to the postseason,” VanBelle said. “If we win out, we can go 14-9 in New Englands and that would be good for the tournament. If we finish 13-10, we still have a chance to get into the tournament, due to our strength of schedule. However it’s still one game at a time. We are getting to that point in the season where we are going to need to win nearly all our remaining games.”

In order to have a chance at playing postseason hockey, VanBelle stated that his team needs to improve its defense.

“We need more consistency on defense,” VanBelle said. “You can’t give up seven goals and expect to win a game. We need to be much more consistent in our own zone.”

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