Matt Boulette capitalized on a Trinity Catholic turnover early in the third period, providing the eventual game-winning goal as the Fermi-Enfield/East Granby/Stafford ice hockey co-op captured a 3-2 victory in its home opener Saturday at the Enfield Twin Rinks.
"I said to the guys, one-goal wins like that one build character and build a team." Falcons head coach Frank Genovese said.
Trinity Catholic jumped to a 1-0 lead just over three minutes into the contest on a goal by Steven Lambrinokas. The Crusaders' momentum was snuffed a few minutes later, when starting forward Tyler Stenquist received a 5-minute major penalty and a game disqualification for an illegal check from behind.
The Crusaders killed off most of the penalty, but Jason Despard tied the game for the Falcons at the tail end of the power play, assisted by Avery Boissy.
Boissy gave the Falcons their first lead 93 seconds into the second period, assisted by Despard and Brian Riley. The Crusaders came back to tie at 2-2 at 10:14 on a goal by Eric Weigios.
Just after the second intermission, Boulette picked off an errant clearing pass and beat Trinity Catholic goaltender Kyle Odierno to push the Falcons back in front.
The Crtusaders had a golden opportunity to knot the game near the midway point of the third period, skating with a 5-on-3 advantage for more than a minute, but the Falcons were able to withstand the challenge.
"That was an enormous kill, to have a 5-on-3 but we really didn't give up many looks on that at all," Genovese said. "We cleared the puck out, and it definitely kept the momentum on our side."
Trinity Catholic pulled Odierno in favor of a sixth attacker with a minute to play, but despite swarming the net on several occasions, the Crusaders could not put the puck past Falcons netminder Aaron Lickwar.
Lickwar finished with 26 saves, while Odierno stopped 23 shots.
The Falcons (1-0-1) tangle with CCC North rival South Windsor at the Twin Rinks Wednesday at 4:10 p.m. Trinity Catholic (0-2) hosts West Haven Wednesday at 6:30 p.m.