HAVERHILL, MA — Black & Gold sweaters hung inside of each stall. The nameplates above each locker matched the names on the backs of each jersey. AC/DC blasted over the sound system. To make it official, each player had a one-day contract waiting in a folder in his stall, signed by Bruins GM Peter Chiarelli and team President Cam Neely.
It had all the feelings of a Boston Bruins locker room. Heck, even Head Coach Claude Julien was there.
However, while the occasion had a "professional" feel to it, aided to by the presence of Strength and Conditioning coach John Whitesides and Equipment Manager Keith Robinson flanking the Bruins skipper, the day was more about having fun than earning two points. But it certainly didn’t hurt that Julien led the Winthrop Squirt B team to both a victory and a lifelong memory.
After winning a raffle held by the Boston Bruins Foundation and Mass Hockey, the Winthrop Squirt B youth team was "Coached by Claude” on Sunday at the Valley Forum rink in Haverhill.
Winthrop’s excited youngsters started slowly, but after bearing down defensively, and weathering the Watertown Squirt B storm, a Conor Hurley shot late in the first beat the opposing goalie through the five-hole to give his team the lead.
"It was a great game," said Hurley. "It took a lot of time for me to get that puck, because I really wasn’t playing my position at first, but then, I got the hang of it, and I started playing."
As for what his coach for the day had to say to him when he got back to bench after lighting the lamp?
"He told me great job," said Hurley of Julien, "and try to score another one."
Late in the second period, Thomas Bailey, who’s father won the raffle to put Julien behind his son’s bench, beat the defense up the ice, and slid the puck past the goalie on a breakaway to double Winthrop’s advantage.
Bailey added a second goal early in the third, and Winthrop held off a late Watertown rally to win 3-2.
"Remember before the third period, I said, when you shoot the puck at the net, make sure somebody is in front?" Julien said to the team after the game. "What happens? You scored the third goal.
"That happened to be the game-winning goal, because you were there for a rebound."
Also coming up big for Winthrop was goaltender Anthony Indrisano, the coach’s son.
Anthony kept his team in the game early as they found their footing, making a pair of strong saves on wrap around attempts in the first frame, and flashing the glove in the second to keep his team up a goal.
"In the first period they got a few shots on me," said Anthony, who also stopped a late Watertown bid as the clock ticked down in the third. "One of the kids shot it and it went through [my arm], but it hit the post, so they got lucky, and I also go lucky because I stopped the puck and they couldn’t get the rebound."
As Anthony answered questions for bostonbruinsTV, it was clear he had watched many of his favorite players do so in the past, as he gave composed answers and, of course, made sure not to show too much emotion.
But when asked about the day overall, the winning netminder couldn’t help but crack a grin that was fit for a pro hockey player.
"It was pretty cool," said the goaltender.