Ryan Clark scored four goals in Lynn’s fourth win of the season.
By HAROLD RIVERA
LYNN — After starting the season 0-6, the Lynn Jets could’ve thrown in the towel and called it quits. Instead, the Jets have won four out of their last six games to stand at 4-8 on the season after a 12-11 win over Salem on Monday afternoon at Manning Field.
Monday’s win over the Witches, in many ways, resembles the turnaround the Jets have experienced over the last six games. Lynn trailed after each of the first three quarters, but the Jets never packed it in.
“We’re two fairly evenly-matched teams,” Jets coach Peter Pappagianopoulos said. “It’s good to see our guys finish this one off. It’s just like our season, we were down at the half and could’ve given up. We were down 4-2 at the end of the first quarter, down a few at halftime. We could’ve rolled over but our guys came together.”
Shidley Belice put the Jets on the board and Ryan Clark followed Belice’s lead with a goal of his own in the opening period, which ended with Salem in front, 4-2. Clark teamed up with Jack Stafford to tie the game at 4-4 with 8:09 to play in the second quarter. Thirty seconds later, Clark scored his third goal of the game and gave Lynn its first lead, 5-4.
Clark’s development has been a key component to Lynn’s turnaround over the past six games. Lynn’s leading scorer, Clark has tallied 34 goals this season and Northeastern Conference opponents are starting to notice his talents.
“Ryan’s development has been one of our biggest keys,” Pappagianopoulos said. “Teams are noticing him. It’s not like he’s hiding in the crowd. He’s getting through and getting his shot off. His development as an attackman has really helped our team.”
Added Pappagianopoulos, “A lot of the guys that are new to varsity have stepped up and taken minutes. It’s been a whole team effort.”
Salem closed the second quarter with three goals in a row, and Lynn trailed 7-5 at the half.
Again, the Jets clawed back into the game and showed their resiliency. Stafford’s fourth score of the game made it a two-goal deficit at 8-6 with 8:01 left in the third. Lynn’s Mike Clougherty and Nicky Duong each fired a shot into the back of the net but Salem carried a 9-8 lead into the fourth.
That’s when things started to turn in Lynn’s favor. The Witches got one back to go ahead by two at 10-8 with 7:12 left in the contest, but the Jets woke up and took over the rest of the way.
It started when Quinn Brinkler sliced the Salem advantage back to a goal at 10-9 with 6:40 to play. Duong added his second goal of the game to tie things up at 10-10 with 5:56 remaining. Matt Moorehouse made it three unanswered goals for the Jets with 5:19 on the clock and Stafford finished the rally with a score in the final two minutes. At the end of the Lynn rally, the Jets led 12-10 in a game that Salem controlled through the first three quarters.
“We’re just finally finishing at the end of games,” Pappagianopoulos said. “I don’t think we were that far from being 3-3 after the first six games. We just couldn’t finish games, silly things. Things have changed a lot.”
“We’re finally getting shots on net and finishing plays off,” Pappagianopoulos added. “The guys could’ve easily rolled over and played dead after we lost the first six. We could’ve gone 0-16 but the guys didn’t want to go out that way. We have great senior leadership stepping up and putting the team back together.”
A late Salem goal made it a 12-11 game with 16 seconds left but Lynn’s Belice won the final face-off and sealed the win.
Lynn (4-8) is back on Wednesday when the Jets host Swampscott.