New London - Say this about the heated Connecticut College-Coast Guard men's soccer rivalry:
No one leaves the field without a battle wound or two.
Conn College earned a 2-0 victory Tuesday at the Coast Guard Track Complex in the latest intensely contested game in the Whale Cup series.
Cooler heads always managed to prevail during a few chippy exchanges, including during a brief skirmish after a hard foul early in the second half. Four yellow cards were issued.
"A bit of a war, huh?" Conn coach Kenny Murphy said.
The Camels (3-1-2) settled down and kept their composure, using two second-half goals from opportunistic freshmen Ibrahim Mutala and Weller Hlinomaz, who also had an assist.
"It was fun," Hlinomaz of his first CGA-Conn rivalry game. "A lot of hard work paid off for us. We got two nice chances in and finished them off."
CGA's scoreless drought stretched to three straight games. The Bears (3-3-1) had trouble breaking down a formidable defensive front and had few quality chances.
"Brutal," CGA coach Chris Parsons said of the drought. "We've conceded now five goals in seven games and we've scored six. We're tough to break down and tough to score against. It took a couple of great goals."
"I was happy with the performance. I thought we played well. We competed and we frustrated them at times. But, in the end, they had a little too much quality for us."
Conn's quality was on display during the goal-scoring plays that developed from the outside.
Hlinomaz sent a perfectly placed low cross in front of the goal where Mutala beat goalie Richie Burns to the ball and one-timed it in from 12 yards out for a 1-0 lead in the 55th minute.
Mutala was the heart of an explosive situation at the start of the second half when he recklessly took down Joe Bodzewski.
Tempers flared, as players from both teams rushed in. Mutala earned a yellow card.
There were several physical takedowns in the game.
In the second half, Burns raced out to steal the ball off the foot of Kevin O'Brien and then flipped the Conn player over his back and onto the turf.
The Camels owned the edge in possession and produced a second goal with a nifty combination. Pat Devlin made a nice through pass to Doug Garabedian who executed a perfect cross right to the foot of Hlinomaz who knocked it home for a 2-0 lead in the 67th minute.
The second goal was a deflating one for the Bears, who lost for the third straight time in the annual series.
"It took the sail out of them," Murphy said. "Because the games are so hard-fought, these typically are one goal games."
Conn goalie Max Nichols made six saves for the shut out. His best stop came about 11 minutes into the game, as he knocked down Bodzewski's hard blast. Burns also had a few quality stops.
Both Murphy and CGA coach Chris Parsons came away satisfied with the effort. The competitive non-conference game should benefit both teams as they head back into league play.
"That's definitely the best team that they've had in my five years," Murphy said.
Parsons was impressed with the Camels.
"I think that's the best Conn team, and that's the problem," Parsons said. "We're getting better but they're getting better."