, Newburyport, MA


January 3, 2014

Amesbury's strong December changes local complexion

Paul Yameen and Drew Wile know how this looks.

Yameen, the Newburyport hockey coach, and Wile, the Triton hockey coach, spent the entire offseason fighting to have their programs recognized as Division 1 teams instead of Division 2. There was some opposition from Cape Ann League foes, but the two local coaches eventually won their collective fight, and the Clippers and Vikings are in the midst of playing their first seasons as Division 1 teams.

Through the opening month of the season, the Newburyport and Triton hockey teams have combined to go 1-7-2. By comparison, Cape Ann League rival and Division 2 competitor Amesbury is 3-0-2 with a Palm Division title in the Haverhill Tournament to its record.

“We’ve had tough luck, but the worst thing guys can do is feel sorry for themselves,” Wile said. “I’m sure there are a lot of people with smiles on their faces seeing these two programs with two points each. It’s a matter of staying together as a team. I expect to pull out of this.”

The irony of the slow starts for Newburyport and Triton (0-3-2) is that the struggles have little to do with the teams’ moves from Division 2 to Division 1. Newburyport (1-4-0) has played only two of its five games against Division 1 teams, the same number the team played last season when it participated in the Cape Cod Freeze Out for the first time.

Last year’s team simply performed better en route to a 12-3-5 regular-season record, collecting an overtime victory over Braintree in the opening round of the Cape Cod Freeze Out before falling to Springfield Cathedral in the final. This year’s team was outscored by Barnstable and Braintree by a combined score of 8-0.

“I don’t blame our start on being Division 1,” Yameen said. “I’ve heard the rumblings. The year before we went to the championship (in 2009), we started out very slow. That team ended up losing to Tewksbury in the sectional finals. We’ll stick to the game plan.”

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