NEWBURYPORT -- The long dormant Newburyport/Amesbury hockey rivalry woke up at the Graf rink Saturday night thanks to a reborn Indians squad (6-4 overall, 3-3 CAL) but the current CAL-leading Clippers (5-1-3 overall, 5-0-1 in the CAL) sent the Amesbury fans a reminder things might not be that easy in the second half of the season, skating away with the win, 3-1.
Clippers coach Paul Yameen was happy with the win, but not with his team’s play.
“Give credit to Amesbury,” said Yameen. “I thought they played very well. That’s a good team. But I don’t think we had our A-game tonight. We’ve got a lot of work to do. We’re not a very good team right now. But we’ll take the two points.”
Both teams hit the ice with amped-up fans on both sides, recalling the games of the last decade. The Amesbury fans were outnumbered 2 to 1 but twice as boisterous at the start, as the Indians ripped off a shot on Clippers goalie Alex Buckley in the first 30 seconds. The Indians played with fire in their souls as Newburyport came out clumsy, attempting to heat up along the way by taking eight shots on the Indians’ Evan King, but the proceedings remained scoreless into the first intermission.
The second period started out all Amesbury, taking five shots to Newburyport’s one. But Buckley was having none of it and carried his offense until they began chipping away at King, who himself was in no mood, eventually stopping 13 to Buckley’s six.
With the game scoreless as the final period began, Newburyport came out hot, scoring in the first minute as Nate Hickman flipped the puck directly in front of King to find Travis Wile waiting. Wile buried deep past King’s left side, also assisted by older brother Connor to break the stalemate before the Indians could take a shot.