The Saugus High School hockey team hit a bump in the road after opening the 2021-22 season with two straight wins. After dropping a close 4-2 decision at Essex Tech, their first loss of the season, last Friday, the Sachems came up short twice at the annual Hillie Christmas Tournament in Haverhill. Saugus was blanked by a 7-0 count against Winnacunnet, N.H., in the first round on Monday and followed that up with a 4-1 defeat at the hands of North Andover in Wednesday’s consolation game. The losses put the Sachems at 2-3 overall on the early season.
The trio of defeats was preceded by a 3-1 victory over Pentucket back on Dec. 22 at the Malden Valley Forum. Saugus broke open a 1-1 deadlock with two third-period goals. Captain Massey Ventre netted two scores and Jason Monahan added the other tally.
Head Coach Jeff Natalucci said before the season that this year’s squad is focused on contending for a spot in the postseason tourney. The Sachems finished with four wins in last season’s COVID-shortened campaign. They opened this season with an 8-2 rout of Lynn.
Along with Ventre, Ryan Ragucci and Chris Regnetta are sharing the leadership role as captains, as the Sachems move on to face Marblehead next Wednesday at the Salem State University rink. The Magicians were 1-4 overall as of this week (getting their first win over Beverly on Monday), so the Sachems will have their sights set on achieving victory number three when the two teams collide on Wednesday.
Thus far, Saugus has netted 14 goals and allowed 18 over the first five contests. The seven given up against Winnacunnet contributed a lot to the goals-against number.
Looking ahead, the Sachems have a road game against the Lynn Jets next Saturday, Jan. 8, at Connery Rink and then play their first home game against Swampscott on Jan. 12 at Kasabuski Arena. The Swampscott game kicks off a stretch of six straight home games for the Sachems.