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Newtown High School’s hockey team dropped a 5-1 decision to North Branford, at Danbury Ice Arena, on January 6. Jack Hanley, assisted by Devin Marsh, scored 5:47 into the second period to break a scoreless tie. North Branford struck three times in the final 5:31 of the middle stanza and skated to victory, dropping the Nighthawks to 2-4 and winless against Division II competition in their bump up from the D-III ranks.
“That’s a good caliber Division II team we felt we could have beaten. It’s frustrating,” said Newtown Coach Paul Esposito, adding that he was pleased with the effort in the first half of the game but not from the midpoint of the second period on. “We took our foot off the gas — got complacent.”
The Nighthawks lost 4-2 to both Wilton and Milford, and dropped a 4-1 decision to North Haven. These were all games Esposito believes his team could have won.
Newtown beat D-III foe Joel Barlow of Redding handily, 8-0, and topped Mt Everett of Massachusetts, 6-4. Esposito’s hope is that his team, which won the D-III conference championship last season, can find a way to pick up some wins against tougher competition.
“There are going to be a lot of bumps in the road,” Esposito said of moving up to D-II, but the coach is hopeful the difficulties will pay off.
“It’s going to be a grind, but our mentality is if we make the playoffs we’re going to be prepared,” Esposito said.