THE PIONEERS are back-to-back CAL champions for the first time in nearly 20 years. Lynnfield clinched the 2022-23 league title with an OT win over Newburyport on Saturday. (File Photo)



PEABODY — It was a memorable day for the Lynnfield High boys’ hockey team last Saturday afternoon as they clinched their second-consecutive Cape Ann League title beating guest Newburyport, 5-4, in overtime at the McVann-O’Keefe Rink in front of the biggest crowd of the season.

“I was really happy for the kids,” said Pioneers head coach Jon Gardner, as Lynnfield won its first back-to-back league titles since the 2004 and 2005 seasons.

Jarret Scoppettuolo was the hero in this game scoring the game-winner in front of the Clipper net on a nice pass from the left side from Jack Carpenter setting off a wild celebration 41 seconds into overtime.

With the victory, the Pioneers improved to 11-0-1 and 6-0 in the CAL. The Clippers, meanwhile, fell to 6-6-2 overall and 3-2 in the league.

Lynnfield opened the game strong as they led 2-0 after the first period. Will Norton scored the first one 3:20 in assisted by Drew Damiani. Carpenter then scored on the power play with 47 seconds remaining assisted by Lucas Cook and Damiani.

The Clippers, however, stormed back scoring three times in the first six minutes to take a 3-2 second-period advantage.

“We left our game in the locker room after the first period,” said Gardner.

Newburyport scored 1:22 in and tied it 2:25 in. The third goal came with nine minutes left.

With 5:46 left in the second, Joe Raffa tied the game, again, assisted by Scoppettuolo.

In the third, Carpenter scored another power-play goal with 3:30 left with Cooke and Raffa assisting.

Newburyport tied the game up at four with 2:06 left in regulation.

Zach McHugh scored two of the Clipper goals while Tristan Joyce and Max Puleo had the other two goals.

Pioneer goalie, Dan McSweeney, had 28 saves as the Clippers outshot the Pioneers 32-30.

“This is the biggest regular-season win in my 11 years here,” stated Gardner.

On Jan. 25, the Pioneers doubled up host Triton, 4-2, at the Graf Rink in Newburyport to complete the season sweep over the Vikings.

In the first period, the host scored first as Luke Sullivan lit the lamp on the power play just 43 seconds into the game.

In the second period, Raffa got the locals on the scoreboard tipping home a shot by Aidan Norton on the power play to tie the game three minutes in.

Quinn Fidler gave Triton the lead again with 9:17 remaining in the second. The next Pioneer goal came on a 2-on-1 break as Evan Rocha’s wrist shot found the back of the Viking net to tie the game at two with 5:56 left. Nick Lucich and Aiden Norton both assisted.

Carpenter had the third goal on a feed from Raffa to give Lynnfield its first lead with 3:19 left in the second.

Will Norton had the final Pioneer tally with 1:50 left in the game and that goal was unassisted.

“We came out flat after a nine-day layoff and there were a lot of penalties called early that kept us off track,” said Carpenter.

McSweeney had 20 saves in net as the Pioneers outshot the Vikings 28-22.

On Feb. 1, the Pioneers hosted Hamilton-Wenham at 8:15 p.m. They then welcomed North Reading on Feb. 4 with that game starting at noon as they look for the season sweep against the Hornets.