BILLERICA— The early minutes of Thursday’s Division 3 North semifinal between the No. 3 Lynn Jets and No. 2 Lowell indicated that it might’ve been an even game. Then Lowell started to get comfortable and it became clear that Lynn simply ran into a better team.
Lowell’s 6-1 win over the Jets at Chelmsford Forum ended Lynn’s season and sealed the Red Raiders’ bid in the sectional final.
“Lowell has three lines that can really skate,” Jets coach Mike Roberts said. “Their first line’s obviously top-notch. (Thomas Hassett) and (Brendan DeMarco) are really, really good physical, fast, shifty. They have guys that can shoot the puck.”
John DiFilippo scored on assists from Brian Clougherty and Andrew Patrie. Jets goalie Jack Gallant made 25 saves.
The Jets drew the first solid chance at getting on the scoreboard in the opening period. Lowell was whistled for a penalty 30 seconds into the game. Lynn couldn’t make anything of its advantage and had to kill a power play three minutes later. Shortly after Lynn’s fifth man skated on to the ice, Lowell’s Benjamin Asselin lit the lamp with the first goal of the night. DiFilippo answered 16 seconds into a power play, knotting the game at 1-1. The Red Raiders regained the lead when Brendan DeMarco found the back of the net less than a minute later. Initially it seemed as though the Jets were going to be granted a power play but the refs gathered and whistled Lynn for too many men on the ice instead.
Things settled down for the rest of the period and Lowell carried a 2-1 edge at the first intermission.
“We had a good game plan coming in,” Roberts said. “We wanted to crash down on both of their defensemen, switch from where we played the first game, our regular forecheck. I thought we did an excellent job creating turnovers. We had a lot of opportunities to score outside of that first goal. We just couldn’t find the back of the net.
“I thought that call was a huge shift in momentum,” Roberts said. “You think you’re going to get a power play and then you get called for a crosscheck or a board.”
Things didn’t get any better for Lynn in the second period. Ethan Polcari bumped Lowell’s lead to 3-1 with 12:09 remaining in the period on a shot that just slid over the line. A Jets penalty opened the door for another Lowell goal and the Red Raiders took advantage. Thomas Hassett’s power play tally made it 4-1 Lowell. Crucial saves from Gallant through the next nine minutes kept Lynn in the game, down 4-1 at the second intermission.
“At 3-1 that was the separation they needed,” Roberts said. “Even down 3-1, before that fourth goal, I thought we had a lot of chances to get back in. We had chances toward the end of the second period to get back in and it just never came.”
Lynn, in desperate need of a swift spark, was granted a power play with 13:53 to play. The Jets couldn’t get anything going and fell into a 5-1 hole on Nicholas Mandeville’s slapshot four minutes later. Lowell coasted the rest of the way for the win. DeMarco scored the final goal in the closing minutes.
Lynn ends its season at 13-5-4.
“We had an unbelievable year,” Roberts said. “We had back-to-back North semis. We started the season without a goalie last year. We moved a true forward back to defense, a true defenseman into the net. The majority of the seniors, those eight guys played a big part in keeping hockey alive in our community when it could’ve died out. They could’ve made alternative arrangements to play elsewhere but they stuck with me. I’m very proud of that group.”