By Jim Sullivan
---- — The Newburyport hockey team earned its first win in three weeks Saturday afternoon when it dispatched Pentucket 6-1 at the Graf Rink.
“I like the way we started, I liked the first period,” said Clippers coach Paul Yameen. “But I didn’t like the second period. I’m not happy with that. We got away from our game plan a little bit, and that is something that we have to work on.”
Newburyport (2-4 overall, 2-1 CAL) hit the ice like its collective life depended on it with a blistering first-period attack on Pentucket’s freshman goalie, Robert Porter. Less than a minute and half in, Nick Federico started the scoring attack, assisted by Andrew Williams and Tyson Gudaitis. Tim Brennan was the next Clipper to hit the back of the net less than two minutes later. Senior Travis Wile scored the third goal 10 minutes later, and then quickly assisted Matt Kelleher along with Ben Ventura in the fourth Clipper goal of the opening stanza.
“The last couple of games that we won, Robert came through,” Sachems coach Bill Burns said of Porter. “He’ll be back in there too. It’s going to be one of those tandem type of things that we play. I think coming from the net out, we’ll improve.”
Porter came out of the game in the second period in lieu of fellow freshman net-minder Andrew Orlando, who held steady until the third.
“They are both good goaltenders, and they are both freshmen,” Burns said of Porter and Orlando. “So we expect them to get some good time this year. We’ve got two freshmen that have stepped up and done a great job, so we are going with the youth movement.”
The Pentucket offense got on the board at the tail end of the second period when Mike Kutcher lit the lamp off Clippers freshman goalie Robbie Federico, assisted by Braydon Carney and Ben Klosowski.
Newburyport added a pair of goals six minutes into the third period, the first courtesy of Wile, assisted by Ventura. The second was scored less than 30 seconds later by Brennan, assisted by Austin Roy and Ben Mirageas.
“It’s good to see Trav get on the board,” Yameen said of his senior co-captain, who was one goal shy of a hat trick on Saturday. “It’s good to see a few of these guys get on the board. They have been a little snake-bitten, but it will come. As long as we stay positive, it will come.”
Pentucket (2-3 overall, 0-3 CAL) has had success outside the Cape Ann League this season, and Burns promised his team will be a factor come tournament time.
“Our ultimate goal is, of course, to make the tournament,” said Burns. “Amesbury looks good, they beat us 3-1 the first time out. That’s a good team in Newburyport. Triton is always strong. North Reading is really good this year. Those are the teams that we have to bring our ‘A game’ against, and we hope to do that.
“I think we will be in the hunt and we are going to steal some games,” Burns added. “I think we will surprise some people. We will get some goaltending as we did today in the second and third periods.”
The Clippers still have a long way to go if they want to make the state tournament, but Yameen was quick to point out that his team started the season 1-4-1 just two years ago.
“That doesn’t matter to me right now,” Yameen said of the Clippers’ record. “I’m worried about a month from now. I think if we stick to the game plan, which is just playing simple, consistent hockey, shift by shift, day by day, we’ll get better. If we get away from it, like we did in the second period, things are going to continue to be inconsistent for us.”