NEWBURYPORT — If the coaches can use this as a teaching tool moving forward, then there will be a silver lining from Saturday night’s game for the Masconomet Regional hockey team.
Otherwise, it’s better to just forget this one and move forward.
The Chieftains had been red hot, having gone 7-1-1 in their previous nine games and only allowing a grand total of nine goals in those contests. But host Triton, a gritty club playing for their playoff lives, didn’t care about any of that and tallied once in each period to knock off Masconomet, 3-1, at Graf Rink.
“We told our guys in practice and we told them before the game, ‘Every team is going to be coming after you from this point on’,” said Masconomet (10-4-2) head coach Andrew Jackson. “I really thought we were past this point.”
The loss also ended Masconomet’s reign atop the CAL standings at a mere 24 hours. They had taken over the top spot when North Reading lost to Newburyport Friday night, but slipped back into second place Saturday night after own loss, making them 8-2-2 in leageu play, combined with North Reading (9-2-1 CAL) toppling Pentucket.
It was a strange dichotomy Saturday night for the Chieftains. On one hand, they’re a senior-laden team that’s big, fast and deep, rolling 10 forwards and six defenseman against Triton. When they’re rolling it’s a sight to see, such as the third period when they completely controlled play.
But the flip side is that virtually none of those 15 Masconomet seniors have much big-game experience, having not qualified for the state tournament in three years prior to doing so last week. And a big part of that is learning how to come back from early deficits, adjust to different looks (Triton threw two different forechecks at them) and fight through adversity.