The boys’ hockey team donned purple and red uniforms in a stroke awareness fundraising effort at the on Wednesday night. However, the new look did little to change the familiar scene on the ice for the Minutemen.
Lexington spotted visiting Belmont High School three goals in the first period en route to a 5-0 loss to the Marauders in Lexington’s final home game of the season.
“That’s kind of been our Achilles heel all year is that we come out flat,” LHS coach Greg Fowke said of the loss, which dropped the Minutemen to 1-16-1 on the year with two games to play. “It’s not for a lack of trying different things before we step on the ice – getting kids to work and to do different things. We just come out flat.”
Belmont, playing its final regular season game before entering the MIAA North Division 1 tournament, wasted little time in cracking the scoreboard.
It took an early lead 1 minute, 30 seconds in when Kevin Sainte beat LHS goaltender Mac Sutton on a shot from the right faceoff circle. An assist was credited to Jake Brown.
“It was important to establish something early,” Belmont coach Dante Muzzioli said. “To get a couple goals it put them down, so it took the wind out of their sails.”
The goal was the first of a hat trick for Sainte, and the start of a bad night for Sutton. The former added his second score on a power play five minutes later with 8:40 to play in the first.
Belmont widened its lead to 3-0 two minutes later on a goal by Mike DiCienzo, which prompted an end to Sutton’s night. DiCienzo collected a pass from Pat Quinn and slid the puck under Sutton’s leg pads from the low right circle. Sainte also collected an assist on the play.
Fowke pulled Sutton following the goal in favor of fellow freshman Cam Massie. It’s a decision, Fowke said, no coach wants to make.
“Mac’s only a freshman, and so isn’t Cam, for that matter, so he’s got a lot (to learn) and he’s a good goalie,” he said. “And being a goalie, you know sometimes you’re going to get pulled. You have to be a little resilient, and it’s a learning process for him to get better.”
Still, it turned out to be the right one. From the time he stepped in the crease, Massie didn’t show a hint of coming off the bench cold. During the final 6:37 of the first, the backup kept the Marauders out of the net, despite facing a 5-on-3 shorthanded situation that lasted 26 seconds.
Belmont fired plenty of pucks on Massie, but he stood tall in keeping the net clean.
The Marauders wouldn’t be denied completely, though, as they increased their lead to 4-0 just 2 minutes into the second period. Brian Gramelini tallied the goal, taking a feed from Joe Moteiro.
Again, Massie came on strong, holding the deficit at four for the rest of period, while the Lexington offense showed a spark.
At 8:58, Minuteman Dylan Meadows crashed the Belmont net and barely missed sneaking the puck past goaltender Jake Egbert. A few minutes later, Lexington co-captain Dave Nardella had an open look from the right post, but slid the puck across the net.
And, finally, with 4:51 to play in the period, Henrik Nilsson skated in on the Belmont crease, but took one too many dribbles and puck was poked away at the last moment.
“We played well, you know we couldn’t buy a goal, but we played well,” Fowke said. “That happens in hockey. Sometimes you switch the goaltender up and it breathes a little bit of life into them.”
While the Minutemen couldn’t convert their opportunities, the Marauders cashed in for one more goal. Sainte completed his hat trick, and capped the scoring, with 6:06 remaining in the game. Chris Poillucci and Quinn earned the assists.
For Belmont, the win over the Minutemen was a nice primer before the games really count.
“We had a great season, from where we were last year,” Muzzioli said. “It was a nice finish to our season to dominate a contest today. We played hard and we played consistent.”
Lexington has two more games left on its schedule, the first of which is at Burlington High School on Saturday night.
The fundraiser hosted by the Minutemen on Wednesday was aimed at highlighting stroke awareness. Proceeds benefited the American Stroke Association and the American Heart Association. The purple and red uniforms worn by the Minutemen matched the posters promoting the event.