It was a hole they couldn’t quite dig themselves out of.
After giving up three goals in the first period, the Monadnock boys hockey team inched its way back into the game, but came up short against Sanborn Regional, 3-2, Thursday at Keene Ice.
The Indians came out strong from the opening face-off, outshooting Monadnock 12-0 in the first six minutes of action.
“We came out flat,” said Monadnock head coach Eric Sandstrum. “It’s not acceptable.”
Sanborn might have come out with something to prove Thursday after losing to the Huskies in the teams’ first matchup at the end of January. It was a game that saw Sanborn fall behind early, and the Indians couldn’t mount a comeback.
“I warned the guys of it,” Sandstrum said. “I said, ‘This team’s going to come in here, and they feel like they can compete with you.’ And that team came out flying.”
Senior Justin Joslyn scored on a wrap-around goal with just under seven minutes left to play in the first period, his sixth of the season, to give the Huskies a boost.
The team needed it, especially after being shut on in its last two games.
“That goal felt really good for the whole team,” Joslyn said. “We’re back on the track now to start working our way back up and winning some more games here.”
“It was a big momentum [swing],” Sandstrum said of Joslyn’s goal. “It lifted the team a little bit. We were back in it.”
Sophomore Max Vogel added a goal late in the second period to bring the Huskies within one.
Giving up three goals in the first period, one of which came on a Sanborn power play, was the only blemish for Monadnock sophomore Cam Olivo Thursday.
Olivo played a strong game overall, recording 25 saves, including a handful of crucial ones late to keep Monadnock in the game.
“Cam played really good tonight,” Sandstrum said. “I can see him every game getting more and more confident. Even the last two [games], with a lot of goals scored against him, he’s getting more and more comfortable in the net.”
The Huskies had some good looks at the net throughout the second and third periods, but even with the extra skater in the final minutes of the third — and two extra skaters for the last 15 seconds because of a late penalty against Sanborn — the Indians held on for the win.
“We were in the game for the last two periods, but you have to have quality chances to beat them, and we just didn’t have enough quality chances,” Sandstrum said.
The first-year head coach recognized that his team showed grit down the stretch, a vast difference from the first period.
“First period, it was almost like we should’ve gone home,” Sandstrum said. “But they turned it around. At least we had that little bit of pressure there and that little bit of jump.
“It was a good effort, but not good enough. Just too much to overcome,” he added.
But it’s a building block, Joslyn said.
“We can definitely build off this game because we know we can skate harder than that,” Joslyn said. “We’re going to put everything we can in practice, and we’re just going to come out flying next game.”
With only three games left in the regular season, now’s the time to tighten up the play, Sandstrum said.
“I hope [they can],” he said about the boys holding on to the momentum built up in the final two periods Thursday. “I let them talk a little bit afterwards and let them figure it out. It has to come from within for them.”
The Huskies next host Kearsarge High at Keene Ice Saturday at 7 p.m.