PEABODY – Both the Saugus and Peabody High hockey teams desperately needed a win yesterday, but had to settle for a hard fought tie instead.
The come-from-behind stalemate was satisfying for Peabody coach Mark Leonard, who liked the way his team fought back by scoring twice in the final period to salvage a 4-4 draw. But it was disappointing for Saugus coach Jeff Natalucci after his club couldn’t protect a two-goal lead.
The Tanners capitalized on a four-minute major penalty for boarding to get the tying goal with just over a minute remainin. Junior Derek DeMild, (2 goals, giving him a team-leading 9 points in 7 games) fought hard to gain possession behind the Saugus net before passing to linemate Mike Vadala. He slid the puck back to the point for senior defenseman Chris Minter, who uncorked a wicked slapshot that Saugus goalie David Aiken never saw.
Peabody remained on the power play, but it was Saugus that had the last bid to win the game when Anthony Cieri went in alone on a shorthanded breakaway with seconds remaining. Tanner goalie Joe Powers made a great kick save, however, to keep the game tied and deny Cieri a hat trick.
“We came back and outplayed Saugus in the third period,” said Leonard. “We had a horrible first period and were outplayed late in the second giving up two quick goals, but I’m so proud of the kids for responding the way they did. This team showed a lot of character because it would have been easy to quit when we fell behind. We’re glad to get the point ... and we’ll build off it.”
The Tanners totally dominated play in the final 15 minutes, outshooting the Sachems 19-4. They cut the deficit to 4-3 when DeMild picked up his second goal of the game at the 59-second mark.