In the classic Paul Newman hockey movie "Slap Shot", the central characters were three bespectacled brawlers known as the Hanson Brothers, whose actual hockey talent left quite a bit to be desired.
Unfortunately for the Fermi/Enfield/East Granby/Stafford co-op team, they met up Thursday with a Hanson who can play the game the right way, which ultimately spelled defeat for the Falcons.
West Haven's Austin Hanson scored six goals, including three straight shorthanded tallies in a 2:39 stretch late in the second period, to lead the Blue Devils to a 7-5 victory at the Enfield Twin Rinks.
"Three shorthanded goals is mind-boggling," Falcons head coach Frank Genovese said. "Obviously he's a very talented kid. We knew he was the guy to look out for, but sometimes even when you know it, you can't stop it."
Hanson's first goal came 42 seconds after the Falcons had grabbed a 1-0 lead on a score by Jason Despard. Near the end of the first period, Devin Hines scored to give the Blue Devils a 2-1 lead.
Fermi came roaring out of the dressing room after the first intermission, as Jacob Quinn scored just 18 seconds into the second period. Five minutes later, Quinn scored again to push the Falcons back in front, 3-2.
Hanson was hauled down on a breakaway and awarded a penalty shot with 5:18 remaining in the middle session. His bid was thwarted by Falcon goaltender Aaron Lickwar, but that would prove to be the last time he failed to connect.
He scored his second goal of the game on a power play with 4:23 left in the period, then broke the game open with three successive shorthanded markers, the last coming with nine seconds remaining before the second intermission.
Brian Riley got the Falcons back in the game by scoring in the first minute of the third period to make it 6-4, but Blue Devils goaltender Mike Savino denied all chances over the next 13 minutes.
Hanson added his final goal on a power play with 1:15 left. Avery Boissy added the final score for the Falcons with just under a minute to play.
Savino stopped 26 shots, while Lickwar recorded 29 saves.
The victory clinched a spot in the Division I state tournament for West Haven (7-9-2).
"It was a huge win and accomplished our first goal," Blue Devils head coach Joe Morrell said. "This was our first shot to qualify today, and it was nice to get that done."
Meanwhile, the Falcons (6-11-1) need to win their final two games to gain a berth in the Division II tournament. They tangle with Tri-Town Saturday at 4 p.m. at the Twin Rinks.