By Dan Harrison
---- — SALEM — Members of the Marblehead High boys hockey team have a choice in front of them in the wake of Saturday’s 1-0 shutout loss to Winthrop.
The Headers, who couldn’t break through a Vikings’ defense that packed it in tight to goalie Ray Feeley, can either move past Saturday’s offensive frustrations ... or fester in them.
At 10-3 overall, Marblehead is on top of the Northeastern Conference South standings (4-0 in league play) and is poised for another deep run in the Division 3 state tournament if it can look forward and move past this setback.
“It is what it is: It’s a high school game. The sun will rise tomorrow, and we’ll come back and work at it,” noted Headers skipper Bob Jackson.
“Let’s use this as a learning curve. We get a second chance; we get to live for tomorrow. Come the end of February or early March, you lose a 1-0 game and you don’t have tomorrow. People just need to do what we expect of them day in and day out. They’re young men and high school kids, so mistakes will happen. We just have to work hard to improve.”
It was a mistake on a line change in the second period that ultimately cost Marblehead in this contest.
Jackson called for a change with the puck in the offensive zone, but a turnover caused by Winthrop’s Stephen Goddard and a quick outlet pass to Chris Page in the neutral zone sent the latter in on a 2-on-1. Page fired a quick shot that beat Headers netminder Harrison Young short side, and the Vikings were able to go even more conservative from that point on to preserve the win.
Winthrop (6-2-4) had held a 1-0 lead going into the third period the last time these two teams met two weeks ago, but Marblehead was able to tie the game, then score the game-winner on a power play goal. This time, the Vikings stayed out of the penalty box in the third and remained disciplined in front of Feeley, who made 27 saves.
“We have great goaltending and our team defense is very good. We want to make sure teams have to earn their wins against us and earn their points,” said Winthrop head coach Dale Dunbar.
“We’re pretty good at stifling teams, especially offensively gifted teams. If we can do that, it does frustrate them and they try to adjust, and it’s tough to do that midstream. We frustrated them and played our game plan to a T.”
Outside of the one Winthrop goal, the Marblehead defense and Young (16 saves) in goal were phenomenal throughout. Guys like Liam Gillis, Zac Cuzner, Kyle Koopman and Cam Rowe did a good job of limiting the Vikings’ scoring chances and clearing away rebounds.
“Defensively, we were fine. We had a couple lapses in the defensive zone, but we didn’t give up a lot of second and third opportunities on the scoring chances,” Jackson said. “The shots they did have seem to come from the perimeter, and we’re happy with that.
“We just need bear down in practice. Every time we shoot the puck over the net or wide in practice, it becomes a domino effect into the games.”