For the second consecutive game the Norwich Sea Captains floundered for a short period of time while surrendering far too many goals. This time, it was a four goal barrage by the Long Beach Sharks in a span of 5:02 in the second period that sunk the Sea Captains, as they fell 7-3 in North American 3 Hockey League action at the RoseGarden Ice Arena on Saturday night, October 16.
Jack Fitzpatrick would connect first for Long Beach at the 9:14 mark of the first period, converting off the rush. Norwich would strike back in less than three minutes when Ethan Ranger, celebrating his twentieth birthday, converted a beautiful pass from Max Tapia and his hard wrist shot from the blue line eluded Sharks’ goaltender Ryo Murakami. Drew Schemmel was credited with the second assist.
An egregious kneeing penalty committed by Long Beach’s Walker Montgomery would put Norwich on a major power play towards the end of the period. Off the ensuing faceoff, Teagen Beier would deflect a Trevor Souza shot from the point to give the home team a 2-1 lead going into the first intermission. Ranger won the faceoff directly to Souza to start the play.
Norwich would keep up the pressure to begin the second period, but could not find the back of the net before the major penalty expired. Then, disaster. Jake Weikel and Tyler Zembrzycki scored nine seconds apart to put Long Beach up 3-2. Dylan Harbour scored the eventual game winner three minutes later, and Kyle Gilbert found the back of the net to finish a terrible five minute stretch for the Sea Captains, who found themselves trailing 5-2 going into the second intermission.
“Tonight was a great example of how not playing a full sixty minutes will make any opponent better; and we could not afford to give the Sharks that advantage. To their credit, they made it count. I was pleased with our play in the latter half of the first period and the third period, but the 5:02 that sunk us tonight is avoidable. We need to start to give ourselves a better chance to be successful by executing our game plan for a higher percentage of the game. The being said, we did get strong games from some of our guys today. As we continue to grow we will continue to get more contributions from throughout the lineup,” said head coach Kevin Cunningham, disappointed at his squad’s inability to stem the tide. Looking for a spark, he replaced starting goaltender Alex Tsymbalyuk with Andrew Yocum for the third period, but it would not be enough. Cam Hultin scored his first NA3HL goal for the Sea Captains to pull within two, but the Sharks’ Kyle Gilbert extinguished any hope for a comeback with his second of the game halfway through the period.
With the loss, the Sea Captains have now dropped five in a row and find themselves at the bottom of the East Division. They’ll get a chance to turn things around as the face the undefeated New Jersey Titans for the first time on Wednesday, October 20th on the road in the Garden State. A matinee game with a 12:30pm faceoff, it will feature the first away broadcast for the Sea Captains on HockeyTV.