By Conor Walsh
---- — GLOUCESTER — The Triton hockey team was banged up last night as it entered the consolation game of the Cape Ann Savings Bank Holiday Tournament last night.
With two regular skaters out with injury and an additional four sidelined with a sickness floating through the locker room, Triton coach Drew Wile was worried that lack of depth may haunt him as the Vikings squared off with Gloucester.
You’d never have known Triton was undermanned, though, as the Vikings converted three power play goals to pace a 7-2 rout of the Fishermen at the Dorothy Talbot Rink.
“We’re really banged up right now,” Wile said. “Two-thirds of my third line is hurt and I’ve got four guys out sick, so we’ve got to get healthy. But it’s always good to score seven goals. I think, for the most part, we had our way tonight. They didn’t have too many opportunities. You always want to win the tournaments that you’re in, so the second-best thing we could do was to win this game.”
While the score may not have reflected it, Triton was faced with a different Gloucester team than the one that fell to Marblehead in Wednesday’s opening round game.
Two nights ago, the Fishermen were sluggish, struggling to win loose pucks and rarely able to move the puck from their own end.
Last night, Gloucester played fast and physical and even outshot the visiting Vikings (4-1), 31-30.
But with their new found aggression came a lack of discipline, and that hurt the Fishermen (0-3-1) yesterday. Gloucester took eight penalties on the night, preventing them from getting into a consistent rhythm.
And when they gave Triton the man-advantage, the Vikings were sharp. Triton ran its umbrella powerplay to perfection, using tic-tac-toe passing from the blue line down to shred Gloucester’s penalty kill and pepper goaltender Jesse Glidden with shots.
The power play gave Triton an early lead, when Kyle Hillick found a hole in Glidden just 2:38 into the game.
Triton added two third-period tallies — from Tucker Johnson (two goals, two assists) and Jared Salmon (goal, two assists) — on the power play to quell any Gloucester hopes of a comeback.
“That thing’s flying right now,” Wile said. “We’re moving the puck and making the right decisions, which is the key. We’re shooting the puck and the guy in front’s doing what he needs to do. It’s not a complicated power play, but they’re working it to a tee. We spend a tremendous amount of time on it and I’m just really proud of the way they’re handling it.”
Despite spotting Triton a three-goal lead midway through the second period, mostly the result of sloppy defensive zone coverage, Gloucester refused to go away. The Fishermen were pesky all night, challenging Triton on 50/50 pucks and scrapping in the corners.
They were finally rewarded when captain Mike Muniz laced a shot from the blue line past Triton goaltender Devon Shuman (29 saves) as the buzzer sounded at the end of the second period. After a brief conference between the officials, the goal stood.
Gloucester rode the momentum from that goal into the third period when Jack Nicastro — who, as a member of the third line with Jared Favazza and Eddie Mahoney, was a part of Gloucester’s best line for the second straight night — broke through the Triton defense just seconds into the third period.
Nicastro was hauled down, earning him a penalty shot that could have brought the lead to one. He was turned away, though, and when Hillick struck for the second time of the night just 32 seconds later, Gloucester’s momentum had momentarily waned.
The Fishermen bounced back with a goal 25 seconds later from Matthew Lane, who buried a bouncing puck during a scrum in front of the Triton net.
Again, though, Triton responded, as Joe Schickling potted one less than two minutes later.
Starting with Muniz’s goal, there were four goals and an unsuccessful penalty shot in less than three minutes of play.
It was a better effort from the Fishermen last night. The result was the same, though, as the game eventually slipped away from Gloucester in the third with Triton’s two backbreaking power-play goals, and they left their home ice winless on the season and blanked in the Holiday Tournament.
“I don’t think we covered well enough in our own end,” Gloucester coach Don Lowe said. “Third line, same guys played well that played well last night. Got to work a little harder.
Triton 7, Gloucester 2
Dorothy Talbot Rink
Triton 1 2 4 — 7
Gloucester 0 1 1 — 2
First period: T, Kyle Hillick (Tucker Johnson) PPG, 2:38.
Second period: T, Johnson (Jarrod Guertin, Hillick), 2:13; T, Cote Wolcik (Josh Brown), 6:40; G, Mike Muniz (Ryan Whittemore), 14:59.
Third period: T, Hillick (Jared Salmon), :54; G, Matthew Lane (Casey Noyes), 1:19; T, Joe Schickling (Johnson), 2:56; T, Johnson (Salmon, Derek Donley) PPG, 5:11; T, Salmon (Donley) PPG, 14:07.
Saves: G, Jesse Glidden 19, Derek Morris 4; T, Devon Shuman 29.
Records: G 0-3-1; T 4-1.