LYNN — The Lynn Jets boys hockey team roared back from a two-goal deficit to take down Essex Tech, 6-3, at Connery Rink on Thursday evening. Brian Clougherty was the star of the game, netting his second consecutive four-goal performance in the win. That puts Clougherty at 26 goals on the year (52 points total), good enough for third in the entire state.
“He’s been an absolute beast for us this year,” Lynn coach Mike Roberts said of Clougherty. “He’s our MVP this year for sure, the kid does everything out there. He’s been a big part of our success this season.”
In addition to Clougherty’s four goals, John DiFilippo had one goal and one assist and Sean Devin had one goal. Jack Gallant stopped 16 shots in net.
The Jets appeared to be the more aggressive and physical team for much of the first period, outshooting Essex Tech 14-3. The Hawks didn’t even get their first shot on net until more than seven minutes had passed, but it was a meaningful one. After Colin Levesque picked up a loose puck in his own zone, he flew up the ice on the left side, got an open look at the net and slapped a vicious shot over Gallant’s left shoulder to make it 1-0. The Jets got a few more chances in the latter half of the period, even hitting the post once, but the score stood at 1-0 going into the first break.
“I thought we controlled the pace of play for pretty much the entire first period, we had about 10 minutes of offensive hockey out there,” said Roberts. “We hit a post on the first shift, but we just weren’t able to find the back of the net early on and Essex Tech was able to capitalize.”
The second period didn’t start off too well for Lynn. Just 13 seconds into the period, after Essex Tech won the opening faceoff, Brandon Swaczyk took the puck into the Lynn zone and sent a perfect pass across the middle to Levesque, who was waiting in front of the net to tip in his second goal of the game.
But the Jets didn’t get thrown off. Just three minutes later, Clougherty was able to redirect a blue line shot from Alquinta to cut the deficit in half at 2-1. Lynn then got into some penalty trouble, getting sent to the box three times over the next six minutes including having to play 1:37 with a 5-on-3 disadvantage. Despite killing off all of those penalties, Essex Tech was still able to find the back of the net with 2:34 to go when Joseph Scarpa hit Chris Grout right in front of the net to make it 3-1. But then just as the period was ending, with 5.8 seconds left on the clock, Clougherty scored on an assist from DiFilippo to make it 3-2 Hawks going into the second intermission.
That momentum was all that Lynn needed, as the Jets took control in the third period. Lynn earned its first powerplay about two minutes into the frame and cashed in when Clougherty scored his third goal of the game to tie the score. Less than five minutes later, Clougherty once again found the back of the net to give the Jets the lead, one they would not relinquish.
DiFilippo added another powerplay goal with just over three minutes left to push it to a 5-3 lead, then Devin scored an empty-netter in the final 30 seconds to seal the victory.
Although the Jets technically qualified for the state tournament last week due to their standing in the Northeastern Conference South Division (they’ve locked up second place), Roberts said that he wanted his team to get in by earning more than 20 points on the season. With this win, Lynn (9-4-3) now has 21 points.
“We technically got in last week, but we talked about wanting to earn it this way as well and get to that 20-point threshold,” said Roberts. “These guys earned it out there, they’ve given it their whole heart and soul this whole year and it’s paid off with a trip to the tournament.
It’s all about playing for a higher seed now with four games left in the regular season, starting on Monday at Latin Academy.