GLOUCESTER — A lopsided, 10-0 loss to Melrose was obviously far from the way the Gloucester hockey team hoped to end its season last night.
But while the Fishermen’s season ended on that sour note on the team’s Senior Night at Talbot Rink last night, it was far from indicative of the strides Gloucester had taken this season.
Depleted by injury, the Fishermen you may have seen last night was not the team that Gloucester trotted out day in and day out during this season.
And while the Fishermen (8-11-1) will find themselves left out of the Division 2 North tournament for the third-straight season (fourth time in the last five seasons) when the postseason kicks off next week, this season was a clear step in the right direction.
Take, for instance, the Fishermen’s rebound after a horrendous start to the season. At 0-4-1 after a loss to a middling Saugus team Jan. 3, it seemed we might be in for a disastrous season.
Instead, though, this year’s Fishermen embraced the tough, gritty approach to the game that had been missing in recent years’ teams.
Gloucester got its first win in the game immediately following that ugly loss to Saugus, knocking off Peabody in a back-and-forth game behind two third-period goals.
From there, the Fishermen won five of their next six, and the team that appeared all-but out of the running just weeks into the season had transformed itself into a tournament contender.
Gloucester may have struggled down the stretch, going through the gauntlet of the NEC North and dealing with a brutal non-league schedule that included the likes of Triton (twice), Newburyport and Melrose while dealing with a rash of injuries, most notably to senior captain defenseman Mike Muniz, who missed several games with an injury late in the season.