SALEM — It was a second period unlike anything long-time Marblehead High hockey followers had seen in ages — and something they don’t hope to see again anytime soon.
Defensive breakdowns and mental lapses resulted in the Headers allowing four goals in the middle stanza Saturday during a 5-1 loss to Winthrop in a Northeastern Conference North battle.
“I’m a little bit mystified by what happened in that second period,” admitted Marblehead head coach Bob Jackson.
“I thought we played hard in the first period and outshot them (12-10). So in between the first and second period we said, ‘Don’t change anything; just keep bringing that same intensity.’ I’m not quite sure what happened that we didn’t.”
Winthrop (10-4 overall), which clinched a playoff berth with the victory, solidified its spot in second place within the conference at 6-2 while Marblehead (9-5 overall) remained ensconced in third at 4-3.
The visiting Vikings’ second line caused most of the damage, with freshman Charlie Page scoring three times (including once shorthanded) and adding an assist while linemate Dylan Driscoll had a goal and two assists. Johnny Orlando’s power play goal gave Winthrop a 5-0 lead after two periods, and goalie Ray Feeley made it all stand up with 32 saves.
Marblehead’s only offense came off the stick of assistant captain Dean Fader, who tipped Liam Gillis’ left point shot into the net for a power play goal early in the third period. Harrison Young allowed four goals on 21 shots before being relieved by fellow senior Myles Barry in the second period.
The good news for the Headers is that they’re right back at it tonight with a ‘home’ game at the Connery Rink in Lynn against non-league foe Bishop Fenwick (8 p.m.). Two nights from now, they’ll face NEC North front-runner Beverly back at Salem State, hoping to beat the Panthers for the first time in three tries this season.
“Now we get to see the type of character we have. It’ll be good to get right back on the saddle (tonight) against Fenwick and see how we respond,” Jackson said.