Typically, when a team ends up with eight minutes of penalties within the first period and a half of a game, things probably aren’t going to end up well.
That statement couldn’t have been farther from the truth for Marblehead’s boys hockey team Monday night. In fact. It almost seemed like they preferred to be on the penalty kill.
Two of Marblehead’s seven goals came short handed against Beverly at Talbot Rink in Gloucester in the first match of the Cape Ann Savings Bank Holiday Hockey Tournament.
Marblehead forward Jacob Aizanmen says the penalty kill has been something the team has focused on in practice and liked what he saw from it against Beverly.
“We’ve been working a lot on penalty kill and it showed yesterday the improvements and I think it’s only going to get better,” Aizanmen said.
The Magicians came out of the gate looking like the faster and stronger team and dominated possession for most of the first period. The Panthers however were able to foil a few of Marblehead’s scoring chances and created some of their own through the first ten minutes of the game but with 7:10 remaining, the onslaught began.
The Magicians moved the puck into the attacking zone and the puck found its way to the front of the net with passes from Cam Waldman and James Mackenzie to Aizanmen who was able to sneak the puck past Beverly’s goalie. The Magicians continued to pepper Beverly’s netminder with shots, even when on the penalty kill, though Marblehead Head Coach Mark Marfione says the team needs to commit less penalties moving forward.
“We got to just not take as many penalties. Every time we take a penalty, we’re wasting the energy of our best players, they only have so much gas in the tank,” he said. “When we play more experienced teams, they’re going to beat us because of that.”
A late penalty on Marblehead in the first appeared to have given the Panthers some much needed momentum going into the second period, but senior captain Chris Locke squashed those hopes with one shot. Locke forced a turnover in Marblehead’s defensive zone and flipped a pass to James Caeran who saw that Locke had a lane and immediately passed it back. Locke raced around two Beverly defenders to get a breakaway, and buried a shot into the back of the net with just five seconds remaining in the first period.
The Magicians immediately picked up where they left off in the second. The puck found Captain Hogan Sedky after Marblehead won the face off. He flew up the ice on the left side and found space at the top of the face-off circle when he wristed a shot towards the top-right corner of the net. When the puck hit the back of the goal, only 11 seconds had come off the clock, and it was another short handed goal.
All night long, Marblehead was able to turn defense into offense. The Magicians would generate a turnover in the defensive zone and then press on, using their speed to glide down the ice and put pucks in the back of the net. Marfione joked that scoring short handed might not be in the cards every contest and commented on how everything starts with getting stops on defense.
“I don’t think scoring short handed is going to be a normal thing for us, but it all starts in the defensive zone,” he said. “Offense is important, but everything else has to go into place before offense goes.”
Four minutes later, the Magicians became the ones that had a man advantage, and capitalized with Sedky’s second goal of the game to make it 4-0. With each goal, they began playing more loosely and more confident and Locke’s second goal with 7:46 to play in the second buried any chance of Beverly making a comeback, Marblehead went into the third with a 5-0 advantage.
Aizanmen scored his second goal of the evening on a backhand shot to make it 6-0 with 8:33 to play and the Magicians tacked on one more late in the third to finish off what was a dominant effort on both sides of the ice from start to finish.