By Jim Sullivan
---- — HAVERHILL — Looking to bounce back after falling 4-1 to Masconomet earlier in the week, the Newburyport hockey team headed to Pentucket. And bounce back they did, treating the Sachems to a crushing loss 6-1.
“Six goals is good,” said Clippers’ coach Paul Yameen. “That’s a start. Hopefully we can keep it going.”
The Clippers didn’t waste any time, scoring three minutes into the game when freshman Ben Mirageas skipped a quick one past Sachems’ freshman goalie Robert Porter, assisted by Scott Webster and Matty Kelleher. Two minutes later, junior Ben Ventura lit the lamp, assisted by Mirageas and senior Travis Wile. With less than two minutes left in the first period, sophomore Scott Webster scored on Porter, assisted by senior Nick Federico, to give Newburyport the 3-0 lead.
The Clippers have had a good variety of players making a difference this season and the first period reflected that.
“It was a good opportunity to get some guys some ice time,” said Yameen. “They work hard every day at practice. They’re deserving. We have a lot of confidence in them, so we thought we’d get a lot of guys out there and I think they did pretty well.”
The second period found the Clippers camped out in the Pentucket end of the ice until Austin Roy caught a penalty for roughing, giving Pentucket the man advantage. John Moner capitalized, shooting one past Clipper goalie Robbie Federico’s right pad, assisted by Mike Klosowski.
Wile scored a pair on new Pentucket goalie Anthony Orlando to celebrate the third period, the first coming two minutes in, assisted by Ventura, and the second with six minutes to go, assisted by Ventura and AJ Williams. With one and a half minutes left in the game, Newburyport senior Travis “The Alien” O’Brien scored his first varsity goal, assisted by Williams, to give the Clippers the five-point lead.
Newburyport (7-6-1 overall, 6-3-1 in the CAL) put a string of four big wins together in mid- to late January, beating Saugus, Amesbury, Triton and their two-time state championship rival, Canton. But a tie to a rebuilding Lynnfield and the loss at Masco last Wednesday made Saturday’s game all the more important with six points to go and seven games left in the season to make the state tournament.
“We need points,” said Yameen. “I don’t think we’ve been playing bad hockey, we’ve just been a little snake-bitten. So, the two points are big, it’s a league win. We come right back on Monday (against Gloucester), so we are looking for two more points to get closer to our goal, which is the tournament.”
A post-season berth is also possible for the Sachems (5-8 overall, 2-7 in the CAL) with eight games to go till the final buzzer of the regular season, but they will have to find a groove very soon.
“We got outplayed by a better team (tonight),” said Sachems’ coach Bill Burns. “We have to bring our A game when we play a team like this and when we don’t, we are going to lose 6-1. Right now we are thinking about improving our game. We have to put the puck in the net and we’re not doing that. We are not finishing. We have to finish our chances, we have to play a little bit better defensively and we have to concentrate on being consistent.”