By Joe Mitchell
It was the not the start that Lynnfield High School boys’ hockey coach Jon Gardner was hoping for, but on a positive note it was just the first game of many more throughout the next three months.
The Hockey Pioneers took on non-league Gloucester last Saturday at home in Peabody, and while the game was close throughout most of the game the Fishermen broke it open late with three third-period goals to win it, 4-1.
It was all tied up at one after two periods, when Lynnfield junior Sam Pisko lit the lamp assisted by classmate John Simonetti and senior Chris Flannery. But then, the visiting Fishermen broke the tie for good just three minutes into the third period.
But what could have been if the home team would have only finished off its scoring opportunities, according to Gardner.
“We were only trailing 2-1 with five minutes left in the game,” said Gardner. “But we probably should have had the lead, because we had left a lot of offense on the ice. We could have scored at least five or six goals.”
The Lynnfield boys had three power play chances, but did not capitalize on any of them. They also had three partial breakaways that went for naught.
“If anything came out of this game is that we have to bear down a little harder when we have these chances come up,” said Gardner.
But the one player who stood out in Gardner’s mind was senior goalie Aidan Kelly. The shots were pretty much even for both sides, ending up in the low 20’s. But Kelly was busy from the start. He had to stop a breakaway early on in the first period, when his teammates were on the power play.
“[Kelly] played very well, but we didn’t play that well in front of him,” Gardner said.
But the first game jitters are hopefully behind the Pioneers, who had a date with always formidable Masco Dec. 12 after press deadline.
Gardner just had one word for his team after the agonizing Gloucester loss, and before they were set to take on the Chieftains: “Finish.”
After the Masco encounter, the Pioneers will then play host to Pentucket on Saturday, Dec. 15, in Peabody, starting at noon.