Colonials hang on for 5-4 win in season opener

STOCKHOLM, NJ — The Danbury Colonials opened their inaugural NA3HL season with a 5-4 victory over the Skylands Kings Sunday night. Danbury staved off a furious third period comeback to secure their first win in franchise history.

The Colonials built up a 5-0 lead lasting into the third period, with the first goal of the game (and of Colonials history) scored by Kyle McEnany. The goal was assisted by Brady Hill, who by forcing a turnover on the forecheck, registered his first career point in junior hockey.

“Brady Hill made a really good play to create that turnover and find me in the slot,” said McEnany of his historic goal. “It definitely felt good to get the first one. Hopefully there’s more to come and we can get on a roll.”

Brandon Cope notched two assists in the Colonials’ 5-4 win over Skylands.

Adding to the lead in the second period were Dylan Webber and Adam Palomeque, both of whom also tallied their first goals in junior hockey. Palomeque struck twice in the frame, once at even strength off a nice passing play by Misha Mshar and Connor Lefkof, the other on the powerplay off a rebound in front.

Mshar joined the scoring action early in the third period when a stretch pass by Brandon Cope sprung him for a rush, deking the goalie for the fifth goal of the game.

Despite the enormous deficit, Skylands kicked it into high gear, scoring four goals in rapid succession to bring the score to 5-4. Colonials netminder Shane O’Brien held firm to preserve the win, stopping 28 of 32 shots to earn his first win in black-and-orange.

“It really meant a lot to me, it was like a weight lifted off my shoulders,” O’Brien said of recording the first win in Colonials history. “Emotions were running high the whole day, and I just really tried my best to be the rock that the guys could rely on to keep things under control when they got hectic.”

“To hold onto that hard-earned win is a great way to start our first season in Danbury,” Colonials head coach Kevin Cunningham commented after the game.  “Our first period was solid, our second period was very strong…we allowed Skylands to make the game interesting in the third, and they should be credited for their fight right to the final horn.”

While Cunningham was satisfied with the cohesiveness of his team’s forecheck after two weeks of practice leading into their first game, the milestone moments were not lost on the veteran coach.

“With [McEnany] recording the first goal in Colonials history, Dylan [Webber] and Misha [Mshar] netting their first career junior goals, as well as Adam [Palomeque] scoring his first two, those were highlights and definitely got our team on a roll.”

“It was rewarding not only to the team, but all the people behind the scenes that allow us to come to the rink everyday and just play hockey and develop,” O’Brien added.

The Colonials will be back in action Friday night at 9 p.m. as they head to the Murray Athletic Center to take on the Elmira Jr. Soaring Eagles in a back-to-back set. Elmira has won the Northeast Division three consecutive years, under their former name, the Binghamton Jr. Senators.

Article by Casey Bryant