, Newburyport, MA


February 18, 2013

Newburyport plays to level of competition

Heading into the final week of the regular season, the Newburyport hockey team has to be the hardest team to predict going forward.

It’s not hard to imagine a scenario in which the Clippers (10-3-5) make a deep run in the state tournament, one that could end at the TD Garden for the third time in five years. It’s also not hard to imagine a scenario in which the Clippers fall in the opening round of the tournament for the third year in a row.

The up-and-down Clippers gave another glimpse at what they could potentially become Saturday when they tied Canton 2-2 at Canton Metropolis Rink. The tie can be considered nothing short of a huge success for a Clipper team that made the journey down to the South Shore to play the team it faced in both 2010 and 2011 in the state title game at the Garden. Canton entered the game 9-0-0 at home and was riding an 11-game winning streak. During that streak, Canton scored seven or more goals in six games.

Canton (14-3-1) held a 2-0 lead after two periods before the Clippers stormed back. Jay Dylingowski and Tyler Cusack had the Newburyport goals. Nick Mombello, Robert Padellaro, Ben Ventura and Connor Wile had assists.

“It was a real good high school hockey game,” said Newburyport coach Paul Yameen. “It was fast-placed, physical, and it was a great atmosphere.”

Newburyport’s performance was both predictable and unpredictable at the same time. The Clippers didn’t have an inch of momentum following a 5-3 loss to Amesbury Wednesday night, so a blowout in Canton’s favor was certainly in the cards. However, Newburyport has proved all season it’s capable of playing with any team — in a good and bad way — and it certainly has been a team that responds after poor performances.

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