Middleton, MA – The Vikings of Winthrop High School traveled to the Essex Sports Center to take on the Hawks of Essex Tech in a non-league matchup. This was the second of two games we viewed today from the Essex, with MassNZ crews in each rink.
The home team (Hawks) carried the play in the first period. Winthrop junior goalie Michael Donahue was clutch for his team in multiple spots during the first stanza. Just a few minutes into the period Essex Tech junior forward Brady Leonard collected a pass and found himself all alone in front of Donahue, made a slick move and tried to get a quick shot off but was denied by Donahue. Essex Tech continued to push the pace and test Donahue. They did a good job cycling and getting in soft areas to create scoring chances. Donahue was up for the challenge, making multiple clutch saves in tight. None better than the save he made on a give-and-go play with under two minutes to go, he squeezed the shot under his pads to keep the score 0-0.
Winthrop found their legs in between periods and came out flying. They played a smart game, getting pucks behind Essex Tech defensemen and going to work. Winthrop controlled the first part of the period, creating some scoring opportunities, but senior goalie Garrett White stood tall and made some timely saves. Winthrop executed a solid trap forecheck that slowed Essex Tech’s breakouts down and created multiple turnovers in the neutral zone. The middle part of the period was up and down with both teams working hard and playing a clean, physical brand of hockey. Essex Tech slowly took back control and the ice would tilt their way for the last part of the period. Unlike the first period, Winthrop buckled down in the defensive zone and kept Essex outside the dots in their zone and limited any prime scoring chances. The period ended 0-0 once again, setting up an important third for all the marbles.
Winthrop started the third on the power play looking to break the tie. Essex Tech picked up where they left off buckling down, getting sticks in lanes and killing off the penalty. Back at even strength, Winthrop controlled the next few minutes. They had good zone time, and White made some saves but ultimately Essex Tech played a tough, disciplined defensive zone and made it tough for Winthrop to get any prime chances. At the 11:00 minute mark, Essex Tech went on the power play, but Winthrop followed their lead and got very stingy on the kill, keeping the game at 0-0. Both teams played hard and had chances over the next five minutes or so and Winthrop would have a great opportunity to get on the board when Essex took a five-minute major penalty. Off the faceoff in Essex’s zone, they tried to clear the puck but it took a weird bounce off a Winthrop player, and onto the stick of junior Anthony Bisenti, who was behind Winthrop’s defenseman. He broke down the left wing, cut in on Donohue, dragging the puck across the crease and beat him to the far post to give Essex Tech a short-handed goal and the 1-0 lead. Essex Tech killed off the first few minutes of the power play but because of a Winthrop penalty, the teams played 4-on-4 for two minutes. With 40 seconds or so to go Winthrop pulled Donahue for the extra attacker but junior Jaydan Vargas found Leonard in the neutral zone who buried the empty net goal to seal the game for Essex 2-0.
- F Anthony Bisenti, Essex Tech
- G Garrett White, Essex Tech
- G Michael Donahue, Winthrop