The Norwich Sea Captains returned from their holiday break to host the Long Beach Sharks in North American 3 Hockey League action Friday afternoon, January 7. A well-played, back and forth affair ended with the Sharks clinching a 2-1 win. Justin Bender made 31 saves to earn the victory in the Shark’s net and Tyler Fisher dished out two assists to lead their offense.
Both teams played strong defensive hockey in a scoreless first period. The Sharks struck first in the second period when Jake Weikel redirected a Dylan Harbour pass home to net a power play goals 8:03 in. Long Beach doubled their lead 2:07 into the third period when Logan Plante tipped a Fisher shot that eluded Norwich netminder Andrew Yocum. The Sea Captains answered with 11:45 left to play when Troy Harwell took a great feed from Brian Essing, who was making his Norwich debut, and rifled the puck home into the low near corner of the net. Sean Loftus earned the second assist on the goal.
Unfortunately, that would be as close as the Sea Captains would get as Bender shut the door to the Long Beach net for the rest of the night. Yocum made 26 saves for Norwich.
“We did a lot of things well today and put forth a quality effort against a good team. I think the Sharks being able to kill off the early major penalty was a key. Andrew Yocum was really good in goal for us today. When we got our forecheck going we made the game difficult for Long Beach and we were able to generate some quality scoring chances. Overall, I am very pleased with our effort to open the second half of the season.,” said head coach Kevin Cunningham.
Norwich continues their homestand on Saturday evening, January 8 when they host the Bay State Bobcats at 5:40 PM at the RoseGarden Ice Arena. Get your tickets to this game, as well as all other remaining Sea Captains’ home games, HERE.