By Jim Sullivan
---- — The Newburyport hockey team made the most of its first matchup with Triton this year at the Graf Rink Saturday night, climbing to .500 on the season for the first time.
The Clippers (5-5-0) outlasted the Vikings (2-6-2) by a score of 5-3.
“It’s always a good win when you beat Triton,” said Clippers coach Paul Yameen. “They are our biggest rivals, and I thought they worked very hard tonight. We were lucky in the first and second periods to come out of there with a lead. I tip my hat to them.”
The game did not pass without incident, however; Viking senior Josh Janvrin was removed from the game via stretcher after a boarding incident in the third period.
“J.J. is a tough kid,” Vikings coach Drew Wile said of Janvrin. “He is a solid, big, strong kid, a joy to coach this year. It’s just unfortunate what happened there. He got caught in an awkward situation.”
A fan blackout from both fan bases greeted the teams as they hit the ice, and Clipper Connor Brennan was the first to light the lamp, scoring on Triton goalie Devon Shuman four minutes into the first period assisted by Scott Webster and Tyson Gudaitis.
But just as these meetings have a way of going, the Vikings answered right back when senior Kyle Hillick shot it past Port goalie Robbie Federico, assisted by Jarrod Guertin and Brian McCaffrey.
Newburyport’s AJ Williams regained his team’s lead with a little more than three minutes left in the period, assisted by Ben Ventura.
The Vikes tied things up with eight minutes left to go in the second period when Joe Schickling lit the lamp assisted by Andrew Sheerin. The Clippers regained the lead a minute and a half later, courtesy of Tim Brennan, assisted by Austin Roy and Nick Federico.
Both teams have had a tough go of it so far this season, but are beginning to show signs of life heading into February. Newburyport dispatched red-hot Amesbury 5-2 Thursday night, and Triton blanked Pentucket 5-0 on Wednesday. Saturday night was the perfect opportunity for both teams to turn up the heat. But sometimes the heat can get a bit too hot, and things turned ugly in the third period when Janvrin and Clipper Travis Wile collided in a corner. Wile drew a boarding call, and Janvrin remained prone on the ice and was eventually removed with the assistance of paramedics.
“It was a pretty physical game,” said Yameen. “Travis is a marked man. Teams want to bang him around, and he is going to give it back. I don’t think it was anything dirty, I just think it was one of those things. Hopefully the kid is OK. He seemed to be OK. He was moving down there, and that is a good sign.”
Janvrin was immediately taken to Anna Jaques Hospital, where his father, Jeff, said the pain was mostly in his shoulder. His son was given a CAT scan, and X-rays were taken.
“It’s just tough for kids to let up when it gets physical like that,” said Jeff Janvrin. “It’s too bad that something like that had to stop the whole game and everything. The kids need to learn a little bit to back off. You hear it all the time about kids getting hit, and it kind of gives a scare to you. He’s a tough kid, he’ll rebound and we will see how the test results come out.”
Newburyport took advantage of a power play three minutes after the game resumed as Williams scored his second goal of the night assisted by Matty Kelleher and Ben Mirageas, who scored his own goal next, assisted by Williams and Tim Brennan.
Jack Norton scored on a power play with just over two minutes left, assisted by Shea Capolupo and Josh Brown. But that was all the Vikes could muster as the night came to a close.
“You make mistakes, little mistakes,” said Wile. “Not necessarily in your own zone, but in the other two zones. That can come back and when you face a team like that that is well-coached and well-disciplined, they know how to win. (Newburyport) knows how to win and they just made a couple more plays than we did.”