The Revere High (RHS) hockey team turned in two of its best games of the season this past week to clinch second place in the Northeastern Conferenceâ€™s North Division (and second best record overall), finishing just two points behind league champ Winthrop.
Coach Jim Palumboâ€™s Patriots opened the week with a 7-1 pasting of Danvers last Wednesday. Jonathan Tran opened the scoring at 4:47 of the first period, assisted by Matt Vazquez and Andrew Sullivan. Although Danvers evened the count with a marker about four minutes later, the contest belonged to the Patriots from there on.
Chris Mastropietro made it 2-1 at 11:52, assisted by Vazquez, and then Jay Sasso lit the lamp at 14:00, assisted by Mastropietro, for a 3-1 Revere lead at the first horn.
After a scoreless second frame, the Pats poured it on in the final 15 minutes. Mastropietro (from Anthony Noel), Sasso (from Zach Babo), Sean Dean (from Mastropietro and Sasso), and Vazquez (from Tran), all got in on the party scene for the 7-1 finale.
However, the Patriots may have saved their finest 45 minutes of hockey for their last NEC game of the season in Saturdayâ€™s encounter at Peabody.
Both teams had a lot at stake entering the contest because the Tanners had knocked off Winthrop a few days earlier, handing the Vikings their first loss of the season, which meant depending on the outcome of the Winthrop-Beverly game that day, the NEC championship (or a share of it) was at stake.
However, even if Winthrop won (which it did), second place in the NEC was on the line.
The teams started tentatively, with Mastropietro notching the lone goal of the opening period at 9:21, assisted by Dean and Sasso.
But the next 15 minutes provided what Palumbo termed â€œan unbelievable period, the best weâ€™ve played this season,â€ as his charges did it all at both ends of the ice. After Peabody tied matters with a goal just :22 into the period, Revere rang in three unanswered markers while overcoming all kinds of adversity.
The Patriots fought off two 5 on 3 advantages for Peabody and saw Dean break a skate when he slid into the net.
But through it all, a pair of lamplighters by Mastropietro and a tally by sophomore Joe Corbett, his first varsity goal, kept the Revere ship on course en route to a 4-1 advantage at the next horn. Nick Adreani, Vazquez, and Dean assisted on the three goals.
Revere continued to build its lead in the final stanza, with Dean (assisted by Sasso and Adreani) and Vazquez (assisted by George Weiner)lighting the red lamp, more than offsetting the one Peabody goal of the period.
RHS goalie Nick DiMare meanwhile, as always, was a stopper at the other end, eventually turning aside 26 Peabody shots on goal.
â€œIt was a great win for us,â€ Palumbo said afterwards. â€œThe team played their hearts out, and it paid off.â€
However, the victory was a costly one, as the Pats lost the services of their leading goal scorer, Jay Sasso, who suffered what appears to be a wrenched knee.
The triumph also marked a milestone for NEC MVP candidate Chris Mastropietro, who reached the 100 career point level, only the seventh player in RHS history to do so.
Palumbo and crew, who finished the NEC season at 12-2-1, will close out the regular season this week in the Newburyport Bank Tournament. The Pats then will await their seeding and first round pairing for the state tournament.