NEWBURYPORT — Down two goals in the third period, the Newburyport varsity hockey team scored three unanswered goals to beat Matignon 4-3 in the final of the Newburyport Bank Tournament’s Bresnahan Division Championship.
Ben Mirageas, Ben Ventura and Travis Wile each scored in the third period to help lead the Clippers past the Warriors, taking control late to help send the Newburyport seniors out on their home ice on a high note.
“I just think they realized that they had 15 minutes left, it was their last game in the Graf Rink,” said Newburyport coach Paul Yameen.
“So I think they pulled it together coming out into the third period and played a solid period of hockey.”
Newburyport got out to an early lead after sophomore Robert Lagasse finished a play started by senior Andrew Williams and freshman Ben Mirageas to put the Clippers ahead 1-0 three minutes into the game.
Matignon evened things up shortly afterward on a goal from freshman Matt McPherson, and the Warriors grabbed the lead with 5:33 to play in the period following a goal from sophomore Joe LaPiana to make it 2-1.
Newburyport nearly tied it back up with about two minutes to play in the first period when a scrum in front of the net left the puck sitting in the crease untouched for nearly a full second, but it was cleared away before a Newburyport skater could get his stick on it.
Matignon spent most of the first five minutes of the second period on the power play after Wile was called for back-to-back penalties for laying down some overly aggressive hits.
At the end of the first period, Wile lost his cool after the whistle and knocked a Matignon skater to the ground.
The Clippers killed the penalty, but moments after Wile stepped out of the box, he laid a video game check down on another Matignon skater, knocked him over the boards and into the penalty box, and then got sent back to the box himself.
While Newburyport was able to kill off the second penalty, nearly scoring a shorthanded goal in the process, Matignon extended their lead shortly afterward when junior Cam Monagle sniped a slap shot into the upper left corner over the outstretched glove of Noah Kolesha.
The Warriors carried their 3-1 lead into the third period, but then the Clippers caught fire. Newburyport cut the deficit to one with 10:42 to play after Mirageas scored one of the most impressive goals you’ll ever see, dangling two Matignon defenders on his way to the net before putting the puck past Warrior goalie Ben Parker.
Ventura tied the game with 7:24 to play on a goal assisted by Wile and Scott Webster, and then Wile sent the Graf into a frenzy after scoring the go-ahead goal with 2:53 remaining.
After the game, Yameen gave credit to Matignon for coming out strong early, and then praised his team for having the fortitude to dig themselves out of the two-goal hole.
“I think they played hard,” Yameen said. “They’re a pretty good team, they’re a tournament team. I think one of those goals was tipped, I don’t think [goalie Noah Kolesha] ever saw it, but I give them credit, they played hard and I’m happy with the way we came back.”
Newburyport improves to 11-7-2 with the win, and will wrap up the regular season tomorrow afternoon at Franklin High School.
Following the game, Matignon’s Parker and Jon Andrews were named to the Newburyport Bank Bresnahan Division’s All-Tournament team, as were Newburyport’s Nicholas Federico, Wile and Ventura, who was named tournament MVP.