The Winthrop High hockey team won both of its games this past week, defeating Salem 7-0 Saturday and St. Maryâ€™s of Lynn 2-0 on Monday. The victories improve the Vikingsâ€™ record to a sterling 10-1-1 on the season (which qualifies them for the state tournament) and sets up a showdown at first place Peabody this Saturday.
Winthrop had little trouble disposing of Salem, as Joe Casey potted a hat trick to lead the way in the goal scoring department. Other offensive highlights were provided by Nick Clewer with a goal and two assists and Joe Scarfo with a goal and an assist.
The triumph also marked the first career shutout for sophomore netminder Stephen Waites, who was subbing for regular starter Pat Feeley, who has been out of action thanks to a bout with mononucleosis.
Two days later the Vikings took on a strong St. Maryâ€™s squad of the competitive Catholic Central League at Larsen. Once again, as has been the case all season, the Winthrop defense provided a bulwark in front of Waites, who made it two shutouts in a row.
â€œThe defense really has been getting the job done,â€ lauded Dunbar, whose blue line crew has limited the opposition to an average of less than one goal per game.
Waites preserved the shutout late in the fray with a superb glove save. Stephen also made some brilliant saves earlier in the contest.
However, it was not until Billy Clewer lit the lamp for the first Winthrop goal, assisted by cousin Nick and Kyle Cummings, with about four minutes left to play that the Vikings finally moved into the lead.
Less than two minutes later, Chris LeBlanc gave Winthrop some breathing room with nifty goal off a pass from Brendan Fitzpatrick on the power play.
â€œChris has been playing superbly lately and his goal was a thing of beauty,â€ marveled Dunbar of LeBlancâ€™s break- in on the St. Maryâ€™s goalie and quick wrist shot that zinged into the top of the net just under the cross bar. â€œThe entire first line of Chris, Joe (Scarfo), and Brendan (Loomis) has been doing a great job and our second line of Nick and Bobby (Clewer) and Alex (Hamilton) also has been buzzing,â€ added the coach.
Winthrop was set to host Bishop Fenwick last night (Wednesday) in a non league tilt and then will journey to Peabody for a rematch with the first place Tanners.
Peabody, which is undefeated in the NEC and features 100 point career scorers in Matt Rodgers and Andrew Bucci, defeated Winthrop 4-1 in the second week of the season in a contest that was 2-1 until two late Tanner goals put the game on ice.
Face off time is 6:00 p.m. for what rates as the game of the year in the NEC and perhaps the North Shore. Although a Winthrop victory still will leave the Vikings a point out of first place, it certainly will put the pressure on the Tanners over the remaining third of the season.