GLOUCESTER — On paper, last night’s matchup between the Gloucester and Newburyport hockey teams was a mismatch.
While the Fishermen have come on strong over recent weeks and were pushing to get back to .500, Newburyport had established itself among the brass of Division 2 with just one loss — and that coming at the hands of Division 1 state frontrunner Springfield Cathedral.
But for the majority of the game, the teams skated evenly in what has grown into a spirited non-league rivalry over the years. The five minutes where the Clippers separated themselves, however, proved to be the difference. Newburyport exploded for three goals in the first 2:26 of the second period and never looked back, cruising to a 4-2 victory at the Talbot Rink.
“We had five minutes of poor hockey and other than that we skated with them,” Gloucester coach Don Lowe said. “Newburyport might be undefeated, I’m not sure, but it’s a good sign.”
After entering the first intermission with the score knotted at 1-1, Newburyport coach Paul Yameen was visibly upset with his team as he walked to the locker room.
Whatever was said during that break, though, did the trick. The Clippers (7-1-4) came flying out of the gates to start the second period, taking the lead just 19 seconds into the frame when Nick Mombello banged a rebound past Gloucester goalie Owen Parisi (31 saves).
Newburyport kept the heat on, and 1:19 later converted on another rebound, this time off the stick of Tim Brennan.
And by the time the next shift concluded with Ben Ventura splitting the Gloucester defense and burying a breakaway goal, the damage had been done. It was fewer than three minutes into the period and any momentum Gloucester had built was a distant memory.
“Just not doing their jobs, that’s all,” Lowe said. “We let them get away a couple of times on breakaways and just couldn’t keep it out of the net.”