WINTHROP, Mass. -- Dale Dunbar and his Winthrop Vikings might not have been trying to send a message with its 9-0 win over Peabody (9-3-3) on Wednesday night at Larsen Rink, but the rest of the Northeastern Conference North division is probably paying very close attention to it.
The Vikings (9-2-4) scored two or more goals in every period and extended their unbeaten streak to 11, as they have gone 9-0-2 in that span.
“I don’t know if we are looking to be sending messages as much as we want to make sure that we are not getting ahead of ourselves,” said Dunbar, whose team has already cinched a tournament spot. “We just want to make sure we are focused on each opponent.”
Chris LeBlanc and Joseph Scarfo each had two goals and an assist, while five other Vikings notched a goal in the game.
The Tanners were without their No. 1 goalie Derek Savage because of disciplinary reasons, and the Vikings made sure to pepper the inexperience in between the pipes. The Vikings outshot the Tanners, 12-4, in the period and LeBlanc scooped up a loose puck, turned and wristed a shot past Joe Powers five minutes into the first period.
Scarfo would get his first on the power-play 1:01 later off a nice series of passes from Ryan McKinnon and LeBlanc.
The Tanners picked up the hitting in the period to try and slow down the Winthrop rushes, but the Vikings struck right back and kept the dominant play moving into the second period.
Bobby Clewer made a strong rush to the net and Chris Page made a heads up move to trail the play and collect the loose puck to push the lead to 3-0 at 9:35 of the second.
Matt Todisco’s first attempt at a break up the right side was stoned by Powers, but his persistence on the next trip down the ice resulted differently as he snapped a shot by the sophomore with 2:14 left in the period.
The two goals were a nice addition to the scoreboard, but it was the Vikings ability to force the Tanners into mistakes in their own end and immediately fire shots back on net that helped them keep control of the game.
“One of our adjustments was making sure the third man high was back,” said Dunbar, whose team outshot the Tanners, 35-10. “Peabody likes to stretch the zone wide. They like to switch ice and spring a guy, but they weren’t able to do it tonight. Every pass that was coming towards the middle we were there in position.”
The Vikings popped home five goals on 13 shots in the final period, while holding the Tanners — mostly reserves — to one shot in the period.
Tyler Pettee, Clewer and Mitch Paulson all recorded goals in the third period.
The loss of Savage came at a bad time for Mark Leonard against a hot Vikings team, and the Tanners’ chances of a repeat North division crown could be dwindling, as the top-goalie will miss the next game against Beverly.
However, the Tanners have already clinched a tournament spot, so the pressures of missing Savage won’t be detrimental to a postseason run.
“It’s just one of those nights,” said Leonard, whose team beat the Vikings 3-1 earlier in the year. “Winthrop was on from the start tonight.
“You really need a full team to compete against a team like that.”