By Jim Sullivan
---- — NEWBURYPORT — This season’s Cape Ann League champion Newburyport hockey team collected yet another prize on its way to the state tournament when it took down former CAL adversary North Andover last night in the final of the Bresnahan Division at the 18th annual Newburyport Bank Classic.
The Clippers (12-3-5) posted a 4-2 victory in their regular-season finale at the Graf Rink.
“Three losses with a very difficult schedule, with no excuses,” said Yameen. “We lost over 10 games of manpower due to injuries, sickness, disqualifications and suspensions. In other words, an average high school season and somebody stepped up and did the job. That’s what makes us a good team. No superstars, no excuses. We play for each other. We win as a team, we lose as a team. No excuses. Let the games begin. I’m very proud of this team.”
Both teams hit the ice with some heat, going up and down for five minutes until Newburyport’s A.J. Williams hit the mark past Scarlet Knights goalie Ben Ryan’s left skate, assisted by hot-shot youngster Tyler Therrien and Connor Wile.
Two and a half minutes later, Wile lit the lamp for a top-shelfer over Ryan’s left shoulder, assisted by Connor Brennan and Pat Crowley.
The Knights started the second period off well four minutes in when Dan Rivet scored coming off a face-off on Port goalie Alex Buckley, assisted by Jake Silk. But Newburyport bounced back thanks to a one-timer from Williams for his second goal of the night, assisted by Therrien.
North Andover (8-13-0) struck again in the last 40 seconds of the second period to put some tension back into things when Silk dumped it in past a diving Buckley, assisted Derek Hunter. But that would be about it as the Clippers’ regular season came to a close after an empty-netter in the last 20 seconds of play from Nate Hickman.
“That’s kind of been the story of the season we’ve had, a couple of bad bounces here and there,” said Scarlet Knights coach Peter Marfione. “We’re not going to the state tournament this year, but I’m proud of my seniors. They left it all out on the ice, they have nothing to be ashamed of. I’m proud of the way they played.”
After the game, Clippers coach Paul Yameen was all business, looking ahead to the state tournament. He read from a prepared statement.
“I don’t think people understand what our guys are up against night in and night out,” Yameen said. “When you have numerous coaches telling you they look forward to playing your team night in and night out, it is a huge challenge for us. We get everybody’s best, night in and night out. I’m proud of this team.”