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February 12, 2014

The Blue Line Report: Playoff performance will ultimately determine Panthers' legacy

(Continued)

Now that’s a team rich in history and with a legacy that can’t be questioned.

Do these Panthers have the same — or better — story to ultimately tell?

Whether or not they finish unbeaten in the regular season isn’t important; sure, it’d be nice, but it ultimately doesn’t decide state championships.

How they fare in the playoffs will.

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Can’t remember the last time — if ever — a freshman defenseman potted three goals in one game, but that’s exactly what Bishop Fenwick’s Greg McGunigle did over the weekend. The Melrose resident had all three of Fenwick’s goals in a loss to Lowell Catholic, scoring once in the first period and twice more in the middle stanza.

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Speaking of hat tricks, this might be the first year since Moses wore short pants that no local skater will have multiple 3-goal games during the regular season. All told, 15 players have turned the trick this winter (Derek DeMild and Reed Foster of Peabody; Danny Heck, Tarik Shahin and Ben Kippen of Salem; Matt Flynn of Danvers; Graham Doherty and Connor Irving of Beverly; Mike Castro of Masconomet; Tom Koopman and Erik Powers of Marblehead; Ryan Cresta, Ryan Donnelly and Mike Johnson of Swamspcott; and McGunigle), but nobody has done so more than once.

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Bet you didn’t know that Marblehead has outscored its seven non-NEC North foes by a ridiculous 46-3 margin. They still have three more such contests: Saturday at Nantucket (a team they’ve already hammered, 10-0), Monday against Amesbury in the first round of the Newburyport Bank Tournament; then either Bishop Fenwick (whom they’ve beaten this season, 3-0) or Masconomet in the tournament consolation or championship game two nights later.

Technically, Marblehead is 8-1 in its non-league games; they defeated Gloucester and lost to Beverly in the Cape Ann Savings Bank Tournament, both of which were consdered out of conference tilts.

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