Naugatuck takes NVL Title with 4-1 win over Torrington.
WATERBURY: As the ball careened off the far post barely three minutes into the NVL Championship game, little did Torrington’s Shane Bierfeldt know that would be his team’s best chance to change the course of an eventual 4-1 loss to rival Naugatuck.
“We had those two early shots, one that hit the post,” Raider head coach Mike Fritch said. “If either of those go in, who knows how we end up?”
Torrington had those early chances that went by the boards but when the Greyhounds had a chance to do some damage, they converted.
Six minutes after that post clang, Adam Branco launched a throw in that found teammate Daniel Silva who went across the middle and fired a bullet that went of the hands of Raider goalie Zack Paniatti for a goal that changed the momentum in an instant.
What can you say about Adam Branco that hasn’t already be said?
The senior forward passed the 80-goals scored mark in his magnificent career during the tournament and added two more in the finals.
His first goal was a classic that you don’t see that often in high school. A curling left footed drive that nestled into the top right side of the goal for a 3-0 lead.
Goal number two could be an analogy of how far and how hard the senior has worked over the course of the last four years.
Off a throw in from Fernando Branco, Adam Branco rose head and shoulders over the defenders in front of the Raiders goal to direct (with authority) a header into the back of the net.
“He’s got a motor that doesn’t stop,” head coach Art Nunes said. “He works harder than anybody I know and it’s almost impossible to stop him if he plays his game.”
A fast strike offense with a stubborn defense equals a tough out for any team and on Wednesday night it proved too much for Torrington to overcome.
After the Silva goal, it took but six more minutes for the Greyhounds to strike again.
Off a free kick that floated towards the left side of the net, Igor Silva was waiting to put it past Paniatti in a scramble in front of the net.
In a game that at some points resembled a rugby match, yellow cards lost some of the color from being removed from the referees pocket so many times.
Bodies flying when these two teams get together is nothing new, their first match up in Torrington went the same was although this one was much more rugged.
Coming back against a team like Naugatuck is never an easy team and when the Raiders found themselves down 3-0 at the break, fighting and clawing won’t be enough with you are facing a defense anchored by seniors Asmund Tingstad, Benjamin Reinhard and Tyler Saad.
Municipal plays fast with its turf field and the Greyhounds are better suited to play that way.
Coming into the game, a concern for Torrington was not facing enough action around the net.
After all, the Raiders and Paniatti had thrown eleven shutouts coming in. It’s hard to prepare for the kind of pressure the Greyhounds bring and it showed in the finals.
Bierfeldt would tally the only Raider goal with a nifty free kick that curled into the top right side of the net but it was too little too late.
Have we seen the last of these two teams this year?
Probably not. With the State Tournament rankings due out on Friday, the two teams will find themselves on the same side of the bracket.
They bring the best out in each other, let's see them again down the road.