GLOUCESTER-- The Rockport hockey team has continued to raise the bar of success over the past five seasons. On Wednesday, Rockport set the bar a little higher but achieving something it has yet to attain during its recent run of success, a Commonwealth Athletic Conference title.
With a 6-5 win over Northeast last night at the Talbot Rink the Vikings finished off the conference season at an unbeaten 7-0-1 (7-7-2 overall) clinching the conference title and the automatic Division 3 North state tournament bid that comes with it.
“We certainly don’t make it easy on ourselves,” Rockport coach Derek Papalegis said. “I thought we did a good job putting pucks in the net, but we struggled defensively. We’ll take it.”
Wednesday night’s game was certainly not easy on the eyes, as both squads had trouble in their own end, but when the final horn sounded Rockport had simply taken care of business.
Heading into the second frame tied at 1-1, the game took a crazy turn as both teams ramped up the offense for a seven combined second period goals.
Northeast took a 2-1 lead 5:47 into the frame when Jonah Hadley scored his second goal of the game on a soft backhand shot in front of the Vikings goal. Rockport, however, evened things up just 18 seconds later when Mike Tupper put home a Josh Guertin rebound after a lengthy possession in the offensive zone.
The Vikings struck again just 32 seconds later when Alex Amoroso walked out of the corner and in front of the Golden Knights goal untouched for the score and a 3-2 Vikings lead.
Northeast tied the score back up just under two minutes later on Hadley’s third goal of the game, a blast from the slot. The teams would trade goals again late in the frame from Guertin and Steve Czarnota to make it 4-4 before John Tucker ended the frame by giving the Vikings a 5-4 lead blowing past the Northeast defense and scoring on a nifty backhand.