The tone of Tuesday's hockey game between Suffield-Granby-Windsor Locks and Fermi-Enfield was set just prior to the opening faceoff.
When the recording of "The Star Spangled Banner" failed, the fans responded with an impromptu rendition of the national anthem. Their enthusiasm carried over onto the ice, where both teams gave a spirited performance.
In the end, a pair of power play goals in the third period lifted Fermi-Enfield to a 5-3 victory over the Wildcats at the Enfield Twin Rinks.
"We were a little more patient with the puck, and we went into the dirty areas of the ice," Fermi-Enfield head coach Frank Genovese said. "Suffield came out and played a great game. They made it their mission to win every loose puck, and in the first period, they pretty much did."
The Wildcats jumped to a 1-0 lead just 3:45 into the contest on a goal by Ryan Kertanis, who had two in the game. Fermi-Enfield tied it just a minute and a half later on Brendan Lemire's first of two for the day.
Fermi-Enfield grabbed its first lead 1:02 into the second period on a goal by Nick Varner, but Jeff Lertora tied it for the Wildcats at 5:28.
Matt Boulette pushed Fermi-Enfield back in front at 9:17, but Kertanis netted his second goal on a power play four minutes later to make it 3-3 at the second intermission.
"Ryan has really stepped it up and really taken his senior season ownership-wise," Suffield head coach Nick Boorman said. "That was the best game he's ever played in his high school career, and not just because of the goals. Goals are great, but he's out there hitting, forechecking hard, backchecking with a purpose. He did a great job all around."
The third period began with a Suffield player in the penalty box, and Fermi-Enfield cashed in immediately when Cam Korona scored 1:05 into the session.
Just past the midway point of the final period, Lemire scored on another power play to provide Fermi-Enfield some breathing room.
Suffield pulled goaltender Cam Clark in favor of a sixth attacker with 1:10 remaining, but the Wildcats were unable to put any pressure on Fermi-Enfield goalie Steven Daigle.
"I think we played tremendously," Boorman said. "I can count on the players to give 100 percent every time they touch the ice. They work insanely hard, and I'm proud of them."
Fermi-Enfield (3-2) hosts Glastonbury Friday at 2:40 p.m., while Suffield-Granby-Windsor Locks (2-2) entertains Fairfield Warde/Ludlowe Thursday at 2:45 p.m.
Goals: Ryan Kertanis (2), Jeff Lertora.
Assists: Ian Stevens, Tyler Powers, Tommy Padrevita, Drew Ash.
Goals: Brendan Lemire (2), Cam Korona, Nick Varner, Matt Boulette.
Assists: Korona (2), Avery Boissy (2), Nick Ferracci, Adam Macsata.