GLOUCESTER-- The Gloucester hockey team officially has its back up against the wall.
With Wednesday’s 3-1 loss to Winthrop at the Dorothy Talbot Rink the Fishermen no longer have any room for error if they want to qualify for the state tournament. At 4-9-1 on the season, Gloucester needs 11 points over its final six games meaning one more loss or two more ties will eliminate it from playoff contention. The Fishermen can finish no worse than 5-0-1 down the stretch run to get into the postseason.
The Fishermen came into Talbot Rink on Wednesday night looking to prove that they are better than their would make them out to be.
Things weren’t getting any easier either with Winthrop coming into town. The last time the two NEC North rivals met Winthrop came away with a hard fought 2-1 win on its home ice.
The Fishermen came out and played right with the favored Vikings, who have been almost unbeatable as of late winning six in a row including an impressive 5-1 win over Marblehead this past weekend, for most of the night. The scoresheet, however, does not show just how hard Gloucester played as Winthrop proved to be too much and lived up to its defensive reputation allowing just 12 shots on goalie Raymond Feeley.
Led by their senior captain Chris Page’s two points, a goal and an assist, the Vikings were able to pull out the victory and improve to 11-4 on the year, 7-2 in the conference just two points behind front runner Beverly.
When the puck dropped for the opening face-off Gloucester was ready to play physical and get its hands dirty. Winthrop was there to answer the Fishermen’s toughness though and 5:16 into the game the Vikings’ Jonny Orlando scored on an assist from Page to make it 1-0 Winthrop. Gloucester junior goalie Derek Morris was able to keep his team in the game making a few big saves to in the frame to keep it a one goal game at the first intermission.
The second period was even more physical with both teams finishing numerous clean checks. But the Vikings defense was pretty much impenetrable for the rest of the frame as Feeley only saw four shots in the entire second period.
About seven minutes into the middle frame Page would put home what ended up being the game-winner giving Winthrop a 2-0 lead heading into the final period.
Winthrop knew the Fishermen were not going away without a fight and it stepped up its offensive play when Charlie Page set-up Patrick Todisco for another insurance goal and a 3-0 lead.
Gloucester fought until the end as senior captain Casey Noyes scored with 6:19 to play breaking up Feeley’s shutout. But Winthrop’s defense was at it again in the last period allowing just seven shots on goal en route to the 3-1 win.
“I thought we had a pretty good effort tonight,” said Fishermen head coach Donnie Lowe. “We hit a couple posts, we have a couple bounces go the other way we may have a different game. But I thought everybody worked hard.”
Winthrop now moves to 11-4 and is 9-1 in its last ten. The Vikings will look to gain ground in the NEC North Standings on Saturday at home against 14-0-1 Beverly (6:30 p.m.).
The Fishermen, on the other hand, will look to stay alive in the postseason race against rival Danvers Saturday at Salem State University’s Rockett Arena (2:50 p.m.). A win or tie will keep the Fishermen afloat while a loss will eliminate them from postseason contention.
Gloucester’s next two games are on the road before coming back home for the final four games of the season.
Winthrop 3 Gloucester 1
at Dorothy Talbot Rink, Gloucester
1st Period: W, Orlando (Chris Page) 5:16.
2nd Period: W, Chris Page (Deeb) 6:59.
3rd Period: W, Todisco (Charlie Page, Orlando) PPG 0:33; G, Noyes (Un.) 8:41.
Saves: W, Feeley 11; G, Morris 21
Records: Winthrop 11-4; Gloucester 4-9-1.