Whittier Wildcats Boys Ice Hockey '12-'13

Wed, Jan 30, 2013 08:10 PM @ Whittier
Team 1 2 3 Final
Pentucket 2 4 0 6
Whittier 3 3 1 7

Amesbury-Whittier rally for CAC victory

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Wednesday, January, 30 By Jeff Hamrick

HAVERHILL – What had been an offensive battle the first two periods between a pair of hockey coops turned defensive when it mattered most.

Amesbury-Whittier used a couple of goals in the final 36 seconds of the second to tie the match then scored the only one in the final frame to eke out a much-needed 7-6 victory over Cape Ann Conference rival Pentucket-Georgetown at the Haverhill Valley Forum.

The victory snapped a five-game winless streak, during which Whittier (7-7-1 overall, 4-5 conference) managed only five goals. In fact, the only non-loss during the run was a scoreless tie against Lexington.

“It was absolutely huge,” said Whittier senior AnthonyLicciardello, who provided the bulk of the scoring with a four-goal night. “The last couple games we haven’t won many but this was a big comeback win. It’s a good time to get hot. We have to keep it going to get into the state tournament.”

Pentucket's starting line of Ian Mitchell and Georgetown’s Tom Pingree and John Orlando almost was enough to overcome Licciardello’s huge night. The three combined for five goals and seven assists.

But Licciardello proved to be more timely. His first goal came on a breakaway to tie the match at 1. His second tied the match at 4 midway through the second period, while the third came with 3.5 seconds left in the second – 36 seconds after a breakaway score by Tabor Smith – and tied the match at 6.”

“I asked him to put the game on his shoulders and he did,”Whittier coach Chris Kuchar said. “Anthony’s a leader and a captain who’s been with us since we’ve tried to change the program around. I told him leaders lead and tonight he had to lead.”

Licciardello scored the game winner 2:08 into the final period after taking a nice diagonal pass through the neutral zone from Bradley Kelleher then elbowing his way past a defender.

Whittier goalie Jeff Bucyk, who entered the game with 4 minutes remaining in the second, stopped all eight shots he faced in the third, including a couple one on ones down the stretch against Mitchell and Pingree.

“It was an ugly hockey game,” said Kuchar, whose squad had allowed an average of 2.1 goals per game entering the match. “That’s not the type of hockey we play. We’re a team that prides ourselves on defense … But we talked to the kids before the game and told them this is playoff hockey right now. They just got indoctrinated into playoff hockey.”

Game Statistics:

Goals: P — Ian Mitchell 3, Tom Pingree 2, John Moner; W — Anthony Licciardello 4, Tabor Smith 2, Travis Motsis

Assists: P — John Orlando 3, Mitchell 2, Pingree 2, Branscombe Dubina; W — Smith 2, Michael Duggan, Benjamin Clifford, Tucker Holt, Bradley Kelleher

Saves: P — Sammantha Bomba 23; W — Evan King/Jeff Bucyk 25

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