STONEHAM — The Newburyport varsity hockey team’s season came to a disappointing end last night, as the Clippers fell to Winchester 3-2 in the first round of the Division I North tournament.
Though Newburyport has qualified for the postseason in 10 consecutive seasons, this was the school’s first appearance as a Division I program, and despite the loss, head coach Paul Yameen said he felt that his team opened a lot of eyes with their strong performance.
“I think we proved we belong tonight,” Yameen said.
“I think there are a lot of people who doubted us, and in my eyes, the only place they beat us tonight was on the scoreboard.”
“I think we won every other facet of the game, but that’s the way it goes sometimes,” he continued. “We’re going to keep our heads up and be proud.”
Newburyport set the tone for the game early by coming out of the gate strong and outplaying the Sachems during the game’s opening minutes.
The Clippers held the puck in the Winchester zone for the majority of the first 10 minutes, but despite numerous scoring chances, seemingly every shot the Clippers took bounced harmlessly off Winchester goalie James Offner’s chest.
While Newburyport struggled to convert on its early chances, Winchester made the most of theirs.
The Sachems grabbed a 1-0 lead about midway through the period when senior Andrew Chalas found the puck in the middle of a scrum and got off a wrist shot that beat Newburyport goalie Noah Kolesha. Junior David Farioli and senior captain Bobby Keane were each credited with assists on the play.
Winchester picked up its play after the goal and nearly extended their lead on a couple of occasions toward the end of the first period.
Newburyport finished the period strong, nearly tied the score with about 30 seconds left, but the score would remain 1-0 until the midway point in the second period, when both teams scored within 14 seconds of one another.