GLOUCESTER — High school hockey games have 45 minutes in regulation. But 4 minutes and 18 seconds made all the difference on Saturday night.
Visiting Revere (8-6-2) stunned Gloucester (10-4-2, 9-2-2) with three straight goals in that time span, turning a 2-1 Gloucester lead into a 4-2 Patriots advantage. Revere went on to defeat Gloucester, 5-3, in the Northeastern Conference battle.
Gloucester stayed winless in its last four games as the state tournament inches closer and the Fishermen desperately try to regain their swagger.
"We didn't come out with any intensity or emotion," said Gloucester head coach Don Lowe. "We have to regain the desire to play. Tonight there was nothing there."
"That (second period) was the best period we've played all year, not just in this game. We caught fire," said Revere head coach James Palumbo. "We could tell a few of their guys were hurt and they were a little nicked up. We tried to bring it to the net as often as we could, that was our game plan."
Gloucester played without starting goaltender Bradley Robertson (dislocated shoulder) while junior sniper Tom Salah was suited but only skated a few shifts. Salah is trying to recover from a leg injury suffered in the Newburyport game last weekend and the broken wrist he had early in the season.
Things looked promising early when the Fishermen got off to a fast start as they scored 1:01 into the game. There was a scramble out front of Revere goalie Nick DiMare (22 saves) and Gloucester sophomore forward Conor Ressel put in the loose puck, off an assist from junior forward Brett Biondo.
Fishermen sophomore goalie Dom Novello (22 saves) made a few sprawling stops to keep the Patriots off the board in the first period.
It didn't take long, though, for Revere to break Novello's shutout in the second period as Jay Sasso (2 goals, 2 assists) roofed a shot over Novello from in close. Gloucester was called for a delayed penalty, allowing Revere to pull DiMare for an extra-skater before scoring the goal.
On the ensuing penalty kill, Ressel almost caught DiMare napping as the goaltender was caught far out of his crease, but Ressel's short-handed bid trickled wide.
Gloucester got its last lead of the game midway through the second as senior forward Jeremy Fanning put a shot over DiMare to make it 2-1. Biondo and defenseman Paul Russo assisted as Fanning stuck with the play and put home the third rebound.
Less than three minutes later, Revere tied it up as junior defenseman Chris Mastropietro skated in and wristed a shot over Novello, starting the Patriots quick barrage of goals.
Another Revere defenseman showed some offensive flair as Nick Adreani followed his own shot and shoveled in the rebound while sliding on the ice.
Revere's final strike of the period was the backbreaker as Sasso scored on a backhander from Paul Pellitier and Anthony Noel. The goal came with 27 seconds left in the period and put the home team down 4-2 heading into the final frame.
"Going into the third period, we said, 'Don't sit back on your heels, be aggressive,'" Palumbo noted.
Palumbo's words proved prophetic when his team put the game away 2:14 into the third as Pellitier scored a power play goal on a snap shot, making it 5-2 Revere.
Nothing was going Gloucester's way as a goal by Fanning was negated by a quick whistle by the referee. DiMare seemed to cover the puck (drawing the whistle) but it squirted loose.
The Fishermen potted the last goal with less than three minutes remaining. Biondo scored on a rebound with assists from Andrew Fulford and Fanning.
"This is a great win for us, I'd put this up with the Peabody win (7-1 on Jan. 26 in Peabody) as well," said Palumbo. "It's been a helter-skelter season. We lose to teams on the other end. Hopefully, we can build a little momentum off of this. We have four more games. We need to win one to get into the tournament."
Gloucester will look to regroup as it has three tough games remaining in the regular season: at Peabody on Wednesday, at Danvers Saturday and home to Arlington next Monday.