By Jerry DiStefano
The Saugus High Sachems boys’ hockey team has been continuing to improve in 2013, but mishaps in the third period are becoming an unfortunate factor for the Sachems, game in and game out.
They had a battle against rival Peabody last Thursday, January 10. The Sachems got off to a tremendous start in the game, mainly because of Anthony Cieri’s great play. Cieri gave Saugus a quick 1–0 lead just two minutes into the game, and Cieri also assisted on a pretty goal by Chris Sanderson late in the second period. The Sachems led 2–1 at the end of the first period. They scored two goals in the final 36 seconds of the second period to surge to a 4–2 at the end of two periods.
The final period was dominated by the Tanners. Peabody scored an early goal in the third period to cut the Saugus lead to just one (4–3). With 1:14 remaining in the game, Peabody’s Chris Minter screened a slap shot from the point that found its way into the Saugus net, to tie the game (4–4). That was the score when the final whistle blew.
Saugus Head Coach Jeff Natalucci felt they let one slip away. “We took some bad penalties late in the game and got away from our system. When we played our style we did very well, but [in] the final period we never got in it. Peabody capitalized on their opportunities, so give them credit,” Natalucci said.
Four days later, on Monday, January 14, Saugus had a great start against another NEC rival, Swampscott. The Sachems held a 2–0 lead at the end of two periods. Saugus scored one goal in each period (by Steve Kay and Cieri). The Sachem woes in the third period once again came to fruition. The Big Blue scored a quick goal to cut the Saugus lead to one (2–1, 10 minutes left). Five minutes later Swampscott tied the game at 2–2, and with three minutes remaining in the game, the Big Blue took its first lead at 3–2 and never relinquished it.
“We have to give a complete effort in all three periods. We can’t afford to play just two really good periods and hope that’s good enough to win. I am not quitting on this season. We have to get back to work in practice,” Natalucci said.
The Sachems will get back to work this week and will strive to play well in all three periods in order to turn around their recent misfortune.