HAVERHILL — Paul Yameen has never led the Newburyport hockey team to a Cape Ann League title, yet the 10th-year coach isn’t about to celebrate the fact that his team is the lone remaining unbeaten team in the league.
Yameen’s Clippers (3-1-2 overall, 3-0-1 CAL) continued to cruise through their CAL schedule last evening with a 3-1 victory over Pentucket (3-3-1, 1-2-0) at Haverhill’s Veterans Memorial Rink. Tyler Cusack, Travis Wile and Jayson Dylingowski scored the Newburyport goals. Nick Mombello, Ben Ventura, Connor Wile and Sean Hickman, who made his debut after serving a five-game suspension, had the Newburyport assists.
Pentucket’s Zach Graham made the game closer than Newburyport would have liked at 11:21 in the third period when he scored on a power play to make it 2-1. Less than two minutes later, Dylingowski scored on his own rebound to close out the 3-1 win.
Yameen credited Pentucket for “mucking up the game,” but did not express satisfaction in his own team’s play.
“We need to learn to play every game with the same intensity,” Yameen said. “I don’t think we did that. Give credit to Pentucket.”
Yameen has never been one to put much stock in CAL titles, as his coaching philosophy is to schedule difficult nonleague games in hopes that his team is peaking for the state tournament in February and March. That philosophy proved sound when the Clippers won a state title in 2009 and returned to the championship game in 2010.
Yameen’s mild interest in capturing his first CAL title appeared to lose even more steam over the last two seasons, when Wilmington and North Andover disbanded from the league to join larger, more competitive conferences. Yameen and Triton coach Drew Wile petitioned CAL athletic directors prior to this season in hopes of gaining independence as Division 1 teams, but that request was denied due to the lack of teams that would remain in what is already only a seven-team conference.