HANFORD — Locked in a defensive battle, the Huskies found themselves one goal short on Tuesday.
Hanford West (10-7, 3-1 CSL) called a timeout with 18.04 seconds to go and trailing 4-3 at home. They needed a goal to send the game into overtime, but Kingsburg’s defense held steady on the final possession and a last-gasp attempt by Logan Flemming from the left wing was easily saved.
“We did really well as a team we just weren’t able to get that extra offensive output that we needed to take us over the edge,” Hanford West coach Anthony Castellani said.
The Huskies were shut out in the fourth quarter after the two teams entered the final stanza tied 3-3. Kingsburg’s decisive goal came on a counter. After gaining possession and advancing, the Vikings swung the ball before scoring from the right wing with 3:22 left in the fourth.
“I think they wanted it more than us in that fourth quarter,” Hanford West’s Forrest Thompson said. “We wanted it, but defense really got it for them.”
Thompson added that some of the shots the team took in the fourth were “selfish but had to be taken,” especially in the defensive game the Huskies were in. The Huskies had lots of shots go just wide or saved by Kingsburg’s goalkeeper.
“Just finish,” Castellani said about what his team needed to score. “We had shots, but we just couldn’t put them in. Their goalie did a great job so I tip my hat off to him. He blocked a lot of shots.”
After a scoreless first quarter, Hanford West’s Aidan Apgar struck first in the second quarter on a straightaway attempt into the right corner.
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“I just saw it open,” Apgar said. “The goalie was in the middle, I figured I might as well try.”
It was the only lead of the match for the Huskies and one that didn’t last long, as the Vikings responded with two goals to close the quarter and took a 2-1 lead at halftime.
After allowing another goal to start the third quarter, Apgar scored again, this time on a broken play during a man-up situation. Less than two minutes later, Thompson had a turnaround shot in the hole to tie the match.
“I just saw the open shot as soon as I got the ball,” Thompson said.
Hanford West was unable to score for the final 9:12 of the match.
“It was a tough game,” Apgar said. “They had very good defense. They pressed a lot and they wanted it bad.”
Apgar finished the match with two goals and Thompson with one.
Hanford West has another home game against Dinuba today at 7 p.m. According to Scorebook Live, the Emperors are 1-9 overall.