With the Cape Ann League shrinking by the season, the Newburyport boys hockey team hosted Division 2 South powerhouse Franklin Saturday and found it was matched up well enough to play to a 1-1 defense-heavy tie.
“We play as tough a schedule as we can,” said Clippers coach Paul Yameen. “I’d rather play these guys 20 times a year. We’ve been playing them for six or seven years now, and it is always a battle. It’s always a close game. They are moving to Division 1 next year, and that’s our plan. We want to go DI status independently, and hopefully we’re going to get there.”
Newburyport (3-1-3) started the day hot, getting its first shot off on Franklin goalie Mike Donaldo just 10 seconds in. The Clippers took three more before Franklin (2-1-2) managed one on Port goalie Alex Buckley.
Just under three minutes into play, Clipper junior Travis Wile found himself in front of the net to take a shot from Nate Hickman and flipped the rubber biscuit over Donaldo’s right shoulder, assisted also by Ben Ventura.
The Panthers started the second period with a scare when Dennis Pisani had a nasty meeting with the ice and was removed from the game with a concussion.
“His head hit the ice,” said Panthers coach Chris Spillane. “There was interference, it caught him off guard. But it was the fall on the ice that got him.”
Wile would serve a 4-minute major for elbowing to give Franklin their best chance so far, but the Clipper D held strong, even lucking out with a shot off the post behind Buckley.
“We’re a physical team,” said Yameen. “We’re going to get our penalties. But I think our kill has been excellent, and I think we saw that. We work on it a lot because we want to play physical. So we understand that we have to kill, and if we can kill it like that, I’m fine.”