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Sports

January 23, 2013

Newburyport hockey team primed for CAL title

(Continued)

The Clippers haven’t had any tournament success in the last two years. Yameen’s teams are 0-2 in the tournament with first-round losses to Masconomet and Wilmington.

“I know we’ve been one and out in the tournament the last couple of years,” Yameen said. “It’s a one-game playoff. If you don’t play your best game, you don’t win. It just so happens we didn’t play our best game. That’s why we’re stressing consistency this year. If we don’t bring our best performance every night, we’re done.”

If the season ended today, Newburyport would draw the fifth seed in Division 2 North, behind Beverly (11-0-1), Lincoln-Sudbury (9-0-2), Wilmington (10-2-0) and Tewksbury (8-2-1). The Clippers proved they can play with the top team in Division 2 North last Tuesday, when they played Beverly to a scoreless tie at the Graf Rink. Still, Yameen said tournament seeding will be his team’s primary focus over the final eight games, as he would prefer not to see a team like Beverly or Wilmington before the semifinals.

“Right now is when I start to look at that,” Yameen said. “We’re getting to a point in the season when every point is a big point. I told my guys they’ve worked hard to put themselves in a good position. I don’t think I’ve ever been in a position this late in the season with one loss. Ideally, we’ll be a top four seed.”

The biggest positive for the Clippers this season — besides their record — is the play of goaltender Alex Buckley. The senior net minder had an up-and-down year in his first season as a full-time starter last winter. He allowed six goals in the final game of the season, a 6-2 loss to Wilmington in the opening round of the tournament.

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