Gloucester, MA – In what was the marquee game of the evening in D2 competition, two of the North Shore’s best teams squared off for the first time in regular-season competition. The Fishermen of Gloucester (6-0) were playing host to the Chieftains of Masconomet (5-1) and this looked to be a potential playoff preview based on each team’s record coming in. Thanks to the wonders of the internet, we were able to see this game via the fine folks at Cape Ann Live…home to one of the greatest TV intros we’ve ever seen. But, enough about TV intros…there was a game at hand.
In the first period, the pace of the action was some of the best we’ve seen all season, across any division. Both teams were leaving it all out on the ice and we were impressed both at the skill, confidence and on-ice IQ displayed by both teams. Early in the first period, Masco put on the pressure with hard work below the dots but as the period wore on, Gloucester began to open things up and created a few nice chances on one-timers and odd-man rushes. The team speed of Gloucester did result in a few drawn penalties and a 2-man advantage but despite all that, no goals were scored in the first. One of the main reasons why were some nice saves by the netminders Nick Tarantino for Gloucester and Nick Santangelo for Masconomet: this game was already living up to its hype.
In the second period, we saw more of the same from both teams: lots of speed, aggressive play at both ends and plenty of nifty stickhandling. It was obvious that this game mattered to these two teams. Early in the period, the possession favored the Fishermen and they also were able to earn a couple of power plays, but were unable to capitalize. The game was back and forth for the first ten minutes until we saw our first goal of the frame. With four and a half minutes remaining, sophomore forward Colby Jewell was knocked to the ice below the dots, but maintained possession of the puck. He somehow was able to push it cross-ice, while lying on the ice, to the left post where the ever-dangerous sophomore Emerson Marshall was waiting: 1-0 Gloucester. Masconomet would not sit around and had a response just a minute later. After keeping the puck in twice along the half wall on the left wing the puck was battled for in the crease and eventually drifted out to the top of the circle where senior defender Henry Sorenson let loose a back scratcher which created a rebound in front, multiple Chieftans took a whack at it but it was junior forward Richard Guarino who made the deposit: 1-1 we were all tied up with three minutes to go. Gloucester put forth another charge before the end of the frame, but came up empty. Tie ballgame headed to the third and final period.
In the third period, Masco looked to turn the tide with a tally in the first minute. A turnover in the defensive end by Gloucester was picked up by Guarino and shot in from the right wing. It was turned aside by Tarantino but the rebound found the stick of junior forward Joe Young in front: 2-1 Chieftains. A minute later though, the Fishermen had an answer. On the power play, Marshall drew a defender near the left point and passed through his triangle to the streaking senior sensation Jack Costanzo who rifled one home in the slot to tie this thing back up, 2-2. A few minutes later, Costanzo drew three Chieftain penalties by himself in the span of a minute which led to a goal, the initial pass came from Joseph Orlando for the initial shot by Brett Cunningham, which was stopped, but Marshall came swooping in to bang home the rebound: 3-2 Gloucester with under four and a half minutes to play. But Masco came right back two minutes later, junior Nick McMillan flipped a puck on net that produced a juicy rebound in front of the cage that was banged home by junior forward Mike Bevilacqua following up the play: 3-3 was the score. A late penalty assessed to Gloucester made for some tense final seconds, but this game would be decided in OT.
In the five-minute OT, with 18 seconds remaining on the power play, Masco super sophomore AJ Sacco called game right off the opening faceoff, cutting to the net wide off the left wing and firing a puck short side high for the game-winner on a really nice individual effort. 4-3 Masconomet defeats Gloucester in an instant classic.
- F AJ Sacco, Masconomet
- F Emerson Marshall, Gloucester
- F Jack Costanzo, Gloucester