Hurricanes on All Cylinders in Shutout
White River Junction — The Hartford High midfield defense of Jed Sass, John Lewis and Tanner Wilson, along with the scoring duo of Connor Brooks and Derrick Davenport, powered the Hurricanes to a 3-0 boys soccer win over Woodstock on Wednesday night in a game between two teams with different game plans.
Woodstock, fatigued from a nasty late-season schedule that has the Wasps playing more often than coach Tom Avellino would like, packed the goal on defense and hoped for a breakaway goal or two that would never come.
Hartford, meanwhile, with a roster of 14 seniors on senior night, planned on storming the goal on offense and slamming the door on defense, with the trio of Sass, Lewis and Wilson stopping everything coming their way at midfield, particularly in the first half, when the game was yet to be decided.
Woodstock did not get a player close enough to get a shot on goal.
Still, Avellino thought the game plan was a good one and said he might use it more often.
Avellino rested his starters as play moved into the second half, when the game pretty was much a lock for the Hurricanes. At a game in Springfield earlier this week, Avellino made it clear that the best thing his team needed was a break in the schedule.
“We need to get some rest,” he said.
Rest will come now for the Wasps (8-6), as Wednesday’s game concluded the regular season.
Hartford has won its last eight games, a streak that includes four shutouts.
“We’re playing well, there’s no doubt about it,” coach Steve Sass said. “There are always things to work on, but we took care of business tonight.”
The Hurricanes (11-2) close out the regular season Friday in Rutland.
Both Woodstock and Hartford will await the official Vermont Principals Association postseason pairings, which will be announced on Monday.
Woodstock’s plan to play tough defense and hope for a breakaway goal worked well and lasted almost through the first 25 minutes, but the game changed when junior Brooks, from maybe 25 yards out, sent a low-to-the-ground hard shot that Woodstock keeper Connor Fegard couldn’t find in the maze of bodies in front of him, and the ball slammed into the back of the meshing just inside the left pole. Fegard never saw the ball until the last second, and then it was too late.
Up until that goal, the Wasps were preventing the Hurricanes from getting any good looks, having made just four shots and one corner in the first 25 minutes. Then the complexion of the game changed with the Brooks goal. Less than two minutes later, it was 2-0 when Brooks somehow found the ball as it ricocheted around the box while Fegard tried to pounce on it. But he was a tad too late, as Brooks saw a little clearing and made it a two-goal game.
As the game rolled into the second half, and Hartford took a 3-0 lead just two minutes into the final half, Woodstock began getting into rest mode as multiple substitutions were made and soon Hartford followed suit.
The third Hartford goal came when Davenport, who caused problems all night for the Wasps with his speed, got the goal and Brooks the assist.
Hartford finished with an 11-2 edge in shots. The Hurricanes used two goalies, Aaron Parker and Brandon Cornelius. They both had to make just one save.