By Greg Phipps
Despite having not collected a victory this season entering this week, Peabody boys’ hockey head coach Mark Leonard was encouraged by the effort of his young Tanners in a 5-1 loss against the Lynnfield Pioneers last Saturday afternoon at the McVann-O’Keefe Rink.
Peabody fell behind by three goals in the first period but stayed pretty much even with the Pioneers over the final two stanzas. Andrew Phillips scored the Tanners’ lone goal about three minutes into period two off an assist from Nathan LePage. That tally made it a 3-1 game and gave the Tanners hope for their first win of the season.
“We played a pretty good game and worked hard,” Leonard told the press afterwards. “We are having trouble putting the puck in the net, but overall I was happy with the way we played.”
Lynnfield scored the final two goals of the contest. Tyler Murphy netted the second of his three scores while a man down to make it 4-1 late in the second period, and his third came about midway through the final session to account for the final margin.
The Tanners did struggle on the power play. They had 15 minutes with the man-advantage but came up empty. They were also unable to cash in on a five-minute major opportunity. “We struggled on the power play the whole game and didn’t have a single shot, maybe one on the five-minute one,” Leonard said. “That short-handed goal really hurt. I mean if we score there it’s a 3-2 game. Instead it’s 4-1. But for an 0-5 team to battle like [we did], I was very happy.”
Leonard cited the play of goalie Lucas DeMild and defenders Zach DeFreitas and Tommy Tilas. On offense, Leonard was pleased with the efforts of Connor McCarron, Nick Capillo and James Guiry.
On the other side, Lynnfield’s other two scores came from George DeRoche and Joey Mack. Jaret Simpson collected three assists, and head coach Jon Gardner mentioned the “phenomenal” play of Chris Flannery and Kyle Nekoroski in the win.
However, Gardner was not pleased with the overall performance of his team. “I like getting the three early goals but there’s not really a good feeling after this one,” he told the press after the contest. “We were 1-1 [in the] second and 1-0 [in the] third. That’s not what we were hoping for.”
Peabody was scheduled to play a home game against Medford this Wednesday (after press deadline), and then travels to play Danvers at Endicott College on Jan. 17.