, Newburyport, MA

February 20, 2013

Fact-finding tourney mission

Triton must fill 'holes' before postseason

By Jim Sullivan

---- — NEWBURYPORT — Triton hockey coach Drew Wile knew what he was doing when he scheduled two of the most dangerous teams in varsity hockey for the tail end of the season. He wanted to see where his team’s weaknesses lie heading into the state tournament.

After taking a 5-1 beating from Franklin Saturday and dropping another, 5-3, to Lincoln-Sudbury (14-2-3) in the 18th annual Newburyport Bank Classic last night, Wile has plenty to go on.

“We’ve got holes,” said Wile. “Lots of them. We’re still giving up four or five goals a game. Five goals to Franklin, five goals to Lincoln and we’re not scoring five, so we’re coming out on the losing end.”

Triton (11-7-1) started the evening out in a hole after Shane Sefton popped one in past Viking goalie Devon Shuman’s right side, assisted by Drew Baker and Eric Holden, seven minutes in.

Warrior forward Ryan Dale was called on an interference penalty three minutes later, and the Vikes made things happen two seconds into the power play, thanks to Kyle Hillick, who brushed one past Warrior goalie Erik Kessler, assisted by Cote Wolcik and Jared Salmon.

But Lincoln-Sudbury wasn’t done for the period, as Lucas Morgan hit the mark from the blue line, assisted by Bryan Becker and Matt Jacobs, to gain the one-goal advantage again.

The Warriors struck again exactly at the second period’s halfway mark when Owen Maron hit the post and the net, all in one shot. A minute and a half later, Lincoln-Sudbury did it again, courtesy of Jake Sacher, assisted by Matt Hall and Dale.

Triton entered the third period at gut-check time, and Tucker Johnson found the net seven minutes in, flipping the rubber biscuit over Kessler’s left shoulder, assisted by Hillick.

Zack D’Agostino scored from down-low with a minute and a half to go, assisted by Derek Donley and Hillick, to put the Vikes down by only one. But that final goal eluded Triton, as Hall scored an empty-netter to end all hope.

“Coaches coach, players play,” Wile said tersely after the game. “I can’t play the games. If that’s something they choose to do, then good for them. If not, we’re just going to continue on this course.”

“They definitely gave us a scare,” Warriors coach Peter Elenbaas said of the Vikes. “They’ve got some good players over there. (Johnson) had a great shot in that second goal over there. I thought they were a really good team. They did a great job near the end of the game there. I think we’ve got to tighten up on defense.”