STONEHAM — When Ian Maag speaks, he’s not just holding his Marblehead hockey teammates accountable.
The Headers’ captain puts the onus squarely on himself, too.
Giving an impassioned speech in between the first and second period Saturday night at Stoneham Arena, Maag practiced what he preached by scoring two goals in the second period and then completed his night with an empty netter for the hat trick in Marblehead’s 4-2 victory over Rockport in the Division 3 North quarterfinals.
“As a senior, I couldn’t let this be our last game,” said Maag. The Headers were upset by Rockport in last year’s playoffs, 2-0, and were facing them for the fourth time in five seasons. “I got a little emotional ... I had to get the boys fired up.”
Think Mark Messier for the Rangers against the New Jersey Devils in Game 6 of the 1994 Eastern Conference finals, and you get the picture. Maag reached into his soul, then delivered on the ice.
“As a captain, you have to back it up,” said Maag.
“He talked from his heart ... then had one of his best periods of the season,” Marblehead (18-5) coach Bobby Jackson said of Maag. “He was great on faceoffs, too, and made the most of his chances.”
Following a Rockport first period goal by Ipswich resident Josh Guertin, Maag tied it up 1:37 into the second by converting a Ty Bates feed. He then anticipated a seam pass up the middle, picked off the Vikings’ pass, skating in about 10 feet and buried a high wrist shot past netminder Colby Foster (37 saves).
“We wanted to jump out early, which we did, and get some big saves by Colby and hope that would give us momentum,” said Rockport head coach Derek Papalegis, a Salem native whose team won its first-ever league title this winter. “But (Marblehead) just keeps going at you, and we had some trouble getting pucks out of our zone.”