If there is one positive to be taken from the first two games for Newburyport, it is the play of its freshman class. Freshmen Ben Mirageas and Tanner Derby are both playing 20-plus minutes per game on defense, and they are making the transition to high school look easy. Freshman goaltender Robert Federico also logged a shutout in net against Lynnfield in the opener, although he wasn’t tested as much as sophomore goaltender Noah Kolesha last night.
The last time the Clippers boasted a freshman class that saw this much ice time right away was 2008, when Billy Boudreau, Billy Eiserman, Gaven LaValley and Anthony Federico all played significant roles as freshman. The Clippers won the state championship the following season with those four continuing to play significant roles as sophomores.
Kolesha, who made his first varsity start, had some positive moments early and late in the game, although he had a rocky second period. The three second-period goals came on a variety of scoring opportunities. The first was a redirected shot from the point, the second was on a rebound in front of the net, and the third was a 1-on-1 situation on a breakaway. Kolesha also finished off the period with a penalty for a cross check.
Still, after last night, the fact that Newburyport entered the season without a single goaltender who had logged a varsity minute no longer ranks as the highest concern moving forward.