By Nick Curcuru
---- — GLOUCESTER-- The Gloucester hockey team continues to hang on by a thread when it comes to its state tournament hopes.
Following Tuesday’s 7-1 loss at Triton the Fishermen faced a scenario where they needed seven points in their final four contests to qualify for the postseason. With Peabody visiting the Talbot Rink on Wednesday, Gloucester took care of business to the tune of a gutsy 2-1 win. At 7-9-1, the Fishermen now need to pick up five points in their final three games (vs. Saugus, at Beverly and at Melrose) to make the tournament.
“We worked hard tonight and got the win we needed,” Gloucester head coach Don Lowe said.
The Fishermen needed to give a little extra effort on Wednesday as they were clearly tired from the previous night’s contest. But that didn’t stop the Fishermen from battling from start to finish not giving the Tanners an inch on each end of the ice.
Gloucester thrived on the penalty kill successfully killing off all seven of Peabody’s power play opportunities while goalie Owen Parisi had one of his best outings of the year in net with 34 saves, including several difficult stops with the clock winding down in the third.
“It was all hard work and good goaltending,” Lowe said of Gloucester’s success on the penalty kill. “We needed to kill of every one of those penalties.”
With the team’s knotted at 1-1 heading into the third period, Casey Noyes scored what turned out to be the game winning goal 1:40 into the frame after some nice work in the offensive zone. Defenseman Max Vittands made a nice play on the half wall, winning a battle for the puck and getting it to Pete Mondello in the face-off circle, who immediately fired a pass to Noyes, who broke in all alone on goalie Joe Powers for the lead.
Parisi and the defense would take care of the rest.
The Tanners put 11 shots on goal in the third frame and the sophomore net minder turned away all of them. His glove save on the power play in the final two minutes of play helped preserve the win, as did a pair of hustle plays from senior captains Mondello and Alex Webb with the Tanners net empty. Both Mondello and Webb outraced a Peabody defenseman to the puck just before crossing the goal line for an icing. While the puck did not find its way to the net on either play, keeping the Tanners pinned in their own end and as far away from their own goal as possible helped preserve the much needed win.
Peabody came out of the gates on fire dominating the first period and peppering Parisi with 15 shots on goal. The Tanners took the lead with 5:30 to play in the frame when Reed Foster was rewarded for aggressively crashing the net beating Parisi for the only time of the night in the middle of a scrum in front of the Gloucester goal.
The Tanners continued to carry play throughout the frame but Gloucester was able to take advantage of some good fortune to tie the score. Mondello won a battle along the half wall to Peabody goalie Joe Powers’ right. The senior captain turned and put a fluttering wrist shot on goal that Powers misjudged giving the Fishermen a goal and a 1-1 tie.
“We were fortunate to come out of the first tied,” Lowe said. “Peabody played well but we did a good job holding them to one goal. I think we came out a little tired from the night before but we got better as the game went on.”
The second period saw both goalies make big saves to keep the game knotted at 1-1. Parisi turned away Peabody’s Derek DeMild on a two-on-none breakaway opportunity in the middle of the second with a sprawling pad save. A short time later Noyes broke free behind the Tanners defense only to be stoned by Powers, who quickly shut down his five-hole.
With the win Gloucester now focuses its attention on Saugus, which visits the Talbot Rink on Friday (7:00 p.m.) in another must win game.
“We are taking it one game at a time,” Lowe said. “We just need to continue to put in the hard work.”
Gloucester 2 Peabody 1
at Dorothy Talbot Rink, Gloucester
First Period: P, Reed Foster (Derek DeMild, Ryan Carney) 9:30; G, Pete Mondello (un.) 13:35.
Second Period: no scoring
Third Period: G, Casey Noyes (Mondello, Max Vittands) 1:40.
Saves: P, Joe Powers 25; G, Owen Parisi 34.
Records: P, 4-10-2; G, 7-9-1.