LYNN– When the Lynn Jets came together during the preseason the first goal they set for themselves was to qualify for the Division 3 North state tournament. Wednesday afternoon at William P. Connery Rink, they reached that goal with a 6-1 non-conference win over Hamilton-Wenham. Better yet, Lynn’s playing some of its best hockey as the postseason nears.
“It’s a great feeling,” Jets coach Mike Roberts said. “It’s something we’ve been talking about as one of our main goals for the season. Tonight I thought they played the best game they’ve played in at least four or five weeks. We wanted to come out and get back to being physical in the forecheck, back to dumping pucks down low. I thought we did exactly that.”
John DiFilippo scored two goals with one assist to pace Lynn’s offense. Brian Clougherty scored a goal with two assists, Owen Downey scored a goal with one assist, Paul Papageorgiou scored one goal and Andrew Patrie dished two assists. Jets goalie Jack Gallant made 15 saves and came one tough-luck bounce away from a shutout win.
Hamilton-Wenham’s lone goal of the game was scored by Luke McClintock (unassisted) in the second period. McClintock sent a shot Gallant’s way that hit the boards, landed on Gallant’s skate and made its way into the net.
“Jack played pretty decent,” Roberts said. “If not for that one crazy bounce off the glass he would’ve had a shutout. I thought our defense played very well, moving the puck side to side. That’s something we’ve kind of struggled with.
“It was a complete game, top to bottom. Everyone out there played well. It feels unbelievable to get in (the state tournament) with six games to spare. We’re getting back to the basics. The kids have all bought in and they’re working hard.”
It didn’t take long for the Jets to set the tone. After two minutes of scoreless play, Clougherty (who sits at 147 career points) took advantage of a one-on-one for Lynn’s first goal of the game. Downey followed suit 30 seconds later, making it a 2-0 Jets lead. DiFilippo took charge with a pair of goals (with 8:33 and 2:30 left in the period) and the Jets were rocking and rolling with a 4-0 lead. That’s where it stood at the first intermission.
“We could tell they had the vibe going early,” Roberts said. “They were banging on the boards before the start. They were laying hits in the first two shifts. You get a couple goals and people feed off each other. It really amps people up to play a full 45 minutes which is promising moving forward.”
Papageorgiou joined in on the fun halfway through the second period with a slapshot that found the back of the net, boosting Lynn’s lead to 5-0. The Generals held down the fort for the rest of the period but came up empty on a pair of power plays. McClintock’s goal with 45.0 to go in the second period put Hamilton-Wenham on the board. Lynn carried a 5-1 lead into the second intermission.
Things quieted down in the third period. Lynn killed another penalty, this time with 6:01 to play, and kept the Generals at bay through the closing stretch for the 5-1 win.
The Jets (9-3-2) host Revere Saturday (4) during their annual Lynn Youth Hockey Night. Boston Bruins Mascot Blades will be on hand for photos and any Lynn Youth Hockey players who wear their jerseys will be admitted free.
“We’re proud of the guys for what they’ve accomplished,” Roberts said. “We have a couple more games here. We have Revere Saturday. We have two tough ones next week with Latin Academy and Shawsheen on back-to-back nights. Now we’re playing for seeding. We’re going to approach every game like a playoff game.”