Newburyport Clippers Boys Ice Hockey '07-'08

Thu, Feb 21, 2008 07:00 PM @ Newburyport
Team Final
Pentucket 2
Newburyport 4
Ben Laing, Staff PhotographerMore photos

Newburyport outclasses Pentucket

  • Currently 1.0 with 1 vote.
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5

Friday, February, 22 By John Shimer
Staff writer

Something changed seven games ago when Newburyport beat a rolling Gloucester club. Now the Clippers may just be the team to beat heading into the Division 2 state tournament.

Last night at the 13th annual Newburyport Bank Hockey Tournament, the red-hot Clippers repeated as champs, toppling Pentucket, 4-2, to close out the regular season on a seven-game winning streak.

Following their most recent big win | a 4-1 victory on the road against Franklin Tuesday night | the Clippers looked off during last night's first period.

Newburyport missed several good scoring chances in the opening minutes while committing five penalties. That allowed the Sachems to score first on the power play. Alex Roberts combined with John Gavin to find Matt McCarthy for the period's only goal.

The second period opened just like the first with the Clippers taking it to Pentucket at even strength. But Pentucket goalie Andrew Mueskes was equal to the task, stoning Bill Eiserman on a breakaway before Sean Hickman missed a pair of easy tap-ins for Newburyport.

Midway through the second, the Sachems went on their first power play of the period. On the man-advantage, Roberts worked the puck from the left corner to Gavin at the point, who one-timed it back to Roberts. The Sachems forward passed the puck to the far side of the goal to a wide-open Andrew Barba for an easy one-timer and a 2-0 Pentucket lead.

With just under two minutes to play in the period, Newburyport finally broke through following an active power play. Eiserman threw the puck at the net, which was redirected by Kevin Holmes to Kyle McElroy. His first attempt was stopped by Mueskes, but on McElroy slipped the puck home on his own rebound.

Only seconds later, Pentucket was back on the power play, but David Freeman cut off the Sachems attack and found Collin Cusack wide open for a 2-on-1 rush with Holmes. After quick passing between the twosome, Cusack nearly lost the puck, but made a spectacular move to get around a Sachems defenseman before burying the puck in the top shelf to tie the score with only 25 seconds remaining in the period. That goal seemed to spark the Clippers back to life in the third with some big hitting, crisper passing and better finishing.

"We really just needed to get some momentum going at some point," said Clippers coach Paul Yameen of the big short-handed goal that tied the score late in the second period. "We had plenty of opportunities in the first two periods. I thought if we just kept working hard eventually we would be OK."

Worn down by the bigger and faster Newburyport club, Pentucket finally cracked in the third period. With a little under 10 minutes to play, the Sachems got caught on a line change with the puck in their own zone. Gavin LaValley was able to tie up the Pentucket defenseman while kicking the puck out to Holmes. He then alertly found Cusack skating in alone, and the crafty forward surgically picked out the top left corner for the Clippers' first lead of the night, 3-2.

"I just fed my buddy Cusack the puck and he put it in, simple as that," said Holmes modestly of his brilliant four-assist performance. "We've been playing together since we were 7. When we started crashing the net, the puck started going in."

A part of all four Newburyport goals, Holmes was not quite finished. After Kevin Ryan kept the puck in the offensive zone, it found its way to big No. 19's stick again. Holmes made one move to get by the defenseman before attempting a spectacular backhanded shot. Mueskes was equal to the task, making an amazing split save with the toe of his skate, but McElroy was there for the easy rebound and the game's final goal.

"I think Kevin and Collin's line played really well tonight. What's great about our team is I feel like we have two first lines," said Yameen, whose second line of Holmes, Cusack and McElroy was responsible for all the Clippers scoring. "In high school, you need two really good lines to do well in the tournament, and I think our two really compliment each other well. If one is not scoring, the other line usually picks our team up."

On the flip side, Pentucket coach Bill Burns said he felt good about the way his young club ended up the season with a win over Triton and a solid performance against Newburyport in the season finale.

"We have a young group with 12 freshmen and a ton of sophomores, and tonight we hung with a really good Newburyport team that should make some noise in the state tournament," stated Burns. "I do have to compliment my three seniors tonight | Adam (Roberts), Alex (Roberts), and Andrew (Barba) | and my goalie Andrew (Mueskes). They all did a whale of a job."

1 Story Comments

0         jonol111

cmon people. how about a decent article that says something good about Pentucket hockey? Give them some credit. Had a reporter gone to a few games they may have noticed the incredible efforts of the captains and the heart of the inexperienced underclassmen, who are by far the smallest kids in the region. They may have noticed, too, that the Sachems improved beyond measure as the season progressed. Three Seniors on the team. Three juniors, one of whom quit, and another who was injured most of the season. Thats not enough for even one line. The rest of the team often would not have a day off, having to practice all week, play Varsity on Saturday, then fill in on JV Sunday, or else there would not have been enough kids. This is a challenge to the daily news. Report fair or don't report at all. If your going to ignore the real story for something so exaggerated as this article, dripping with laziness and amature analysis, then I cant trust you to offer unbiased articles on politics, the economy, or any other sports.

Report! #1 02/25/2008 11:04 PM