By Dan Hogan
---- — METHUEN — Even in defeat, Methuen’s impressive season rolls on.
The Rangers fell 4-2 to a very talented Lincoln-Sudbury team yesterday afternoon at home, snapping a five-game unbeaten streak. The loss is Methuen’s first since it lost to North Reading on Dec. 21.
“We played a lot better in this game than we did in our last game against Lowell and we won that one,” said Methuen head coach Denny Egan. “I think the last two games that we’ve won (Lowell and Boston Latin) we didn’t play that well. But we played better today.”
Methuen was down but never out of this game. The Rangers fell behind 3-0 midway through the second period but scored twice in the final 4:12 of that period to pull within 3-2 on goals by Mark Piccirillo and Nick Yameen.
“There were a couple of miscommunications and things like that, but the boys showed a lot of heart coming back like that,” said Egan. “I thought it was a positive outing for our club.”
Methuen’s heart was never more prevalent than it was before the second goal, when the Rangers managed to kill Lincoln-Sudbury’s 5-on-3 power play. Yameen scored just seconds later to make it 3-2 in what looked to be a turning point for the Rangers.
Unfortunately for Methuen, that penalty kill took a lot of energy that Egan’s squad could have used in the third period.
“We had to kill of the two-man disadvantage and you’re always using your quality guys for that, so you’re burning the tank a little bit,” Egan said. “It’s great to kill it, but it comes back to haunt you in the third period sometimes.”
Despite giving up the four goals, Methuen junior Christian Mazzone made some stellar saves down the stretch. He racked up a season-high 27 saves.
Piccirillo’s goal was his sixth of the season, and Yameen’s goal was his fourth.
Methuen was outshot by Lincoln-Sudbury 31-19.
Methuen will travel to Haverhill on Wednesday.
“It would be good for these guys with all that they’ve been through to be lucky enough to put it all together and make the state tournament,” Egan said.
Lincoln/Sudbury 4, Methuen 2
Lincoln/Sudbury (6-1-2): 1 2 1 — 4
Methuen (4-3-2): 0 2 0 — 2
Goals: Mark Piccirillo, Nick Yameen
Assists: N. Yameen, Dale Armstrong 2, Piccirillo
Saves: Christian Mazzone 27