Boys’ hockey: Even at 10-0-1, Concord’s 4-2 win over Trinity shows there’s still more work to do

Concord junior Rowan Arndt fires the puck past Trinity goalie Brendan Heppler during Wednesday's 4-2 win for the Tide.

Concord junior Rowan Arndt fires the puck past Trinity goalie Brendan Heppler during Wednesday's 4-2 win for the Tide. Chip Griffin—Photos By Chip

The Tide celebrate freshman Jaden Haas' 13th goal of the season, scored just 19 seconds into the first period of Concord's 4-2 win over Trinity on Wednesday, Feb. 7, 2024.

The Tide celebrate freshman Jaden Haas' 13th goal of the season, scored just 19 seconds into the first period of Concord's 4-2 win over Trinity on Wednesday, Feb. 7, 2024. Chip Griffin—Photos By Chip

Concord junior Rowan Arndt tries to work the puck around Trinity goalie Brendan Heppler during Wednesday's matchup. Arndt scored twice in the Tide's 4-2 win.

Concord junior Rowan Arndt tries to work the puck around Trinity goalie Brendan Heppler during Wednesday's matchup. Arndt scored twice in the Tide's 4-2 win. Chip Griffin—Photos By Chip

Concord senior defenseman Jordan Dustin brings the puck up the ice for the Tide during its 4-2 victory over Trinity on Wednesday, Feb. 7, 2024.

Concord senior defenseman Jordan Dustin brings the puck up the ice for the Tide during its 4-2 victory over Trinity on Wednesday, Feb. 7, 2024. Chip Griffin—Photos By Chip

By ERIC RYNSTON-LOBEL

Monitor staff

Published: 02-08-2024 12:07 AM

CONCORD – Head coach Dunc Walsh’s Concord teams are known for many things. Chief among them: discipline and defense.

On Wednesday in a 4-2 win over Trinity (3-11-0), the Tide were clearly the better team, but it strayed away from those core characteristics. With two weeks to play in the regular season, Concord’s still far from a finished product.

“We were just too careless with the puck,” Walsh said of his team’s play on Wednesday. “We turned the puck over way too much. (Trinity) kind of packed it in. They had four guys in front. We’re trying to throw the puck to the slot. Guys are covered. They’re passing to the covered guys. Just gotta move our feet more and use the points more. Teams do that against us because they know that we forecheck pretty well, so they protect the front of the net like they should. I thought tonight, we tried to force it way too many times.”

Concord led 2-0 after the first period on Jaden Haas’ 13th goal of the season (Michael Barry and Carter Doherty assists) 19 seconds in and Rowan Arndt’s fifth goal of the year (Dawson Fancher and A.J. Dow assists) at 10:02. The Tide doubled the lead in the second with Doherty’s eighth goal (Cam Chandonnet assist) at 6:53 and Arndt’s second of the night (Trevor Craigue and Doherty assists), this one on the power play at 9:47. 

The Pioneers received goals from Sam Maurice (12:15 of the second period) and Bobby Kinsella (8:10 of the third period), but the Tide did enough to hold them off. 

Still, Walsh emerged from the Concord locker room having just reminded his team that even at 10-0-1 now this season, the hard work has only begun.

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“We need to keep working,” he said. “Trinity played us hard. We knew their goalie was good, but it’s not going to be easy. It gets harder this time of the year. Teams get better. Even the bottom teams get better. And teams get up to play us. We haven’t lost a lot in the last four or five years. It’s not going to be easy. Having a tough game is not the worst thing in the world. Kind of refocus a little bit.”

The refocusing, Walsh added, is doubly important because even though Concord might sit atop the Division I standings, they’re not far-and-away better than the rest of the league. He estimated eight or nine teams in D-I that could beat them on any given night.

But the mere fact that this group has put itself in this position after graduating Brooks Craigue and relying heavily on several young players like Haas and Doherty underscores how impressive this run has been so far, even if it hasn’t been the smoothest ride.

“We’re way ahead of where I thought we’d be,” Walsh said. “Our kids, they play hard, they’ve been consistent, they’ve gotten better. But we’re still at a point where we gotta continue to get better. Because like I said, every year, it gets harder in the tournament. Everything tightens up.”