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February 19, 2014

The Blue Line Report: Desperation mode in Danvers: Falcons, Eagles both fighting for their playoff lives

It’s a town that can match up with any other on the North Shore in terms of high school hockey history.

Between Danvers High School and St. John’s Prep, Danvers is blessed to have a pair of hockey programs with traditions as rich as Bill Gates. The Falcons have won a pair of Division 2 state championships (1994 and 2001) and have qualified for postseason play 24 times in the last 25 years, while the Eagles have been to the playoffs 12 straight seasons (nine times as a Super 8 participant) and also have two state crowns (1979 and 1985).

The last time these two storied squads both missed the state tournament? You’ve got to go all the way back to 1987 — the year Tim Tebow, Lionel Messi and Maria Sharapova were born.

But unless all the cards fall in their favor over the next three days, that’s exactly what could transpire by Friday evening.

Currently sporting a 8-9-1 record for tournament purposes, Danvers High will hit the ice at the Graf Rink in Newburyport this afternoon knowing it must produce two wins, or one win and a tie, in its final two games to earn the requisite 20 points needed for postseason inclusion. (Their overall record is 8-10-1, but one of the losses was an ‘exclusion’ game that doesn’t count against their MIAA record — ironically, played against St. John’s Prep).

The Falcons take on 7-10-2 North Andover (which just saw its own postseason chances dashed Monday) at 1 p.m. today in the opening round of the Newburyport Bank Classic’s Fournier Division. Win and they’ll get Saugus (which beat Lincoln-Sudbury via forfeit) in the tournament final Friday night; lose today and they’ll take on Lincoln-Sudbury (12-2-4) in Friday’s consolation game.

It’s important to note, however, that because this is a regular season tournament, shootouts can be used to determine a winner if the game is tied after 45 minutes. But because the MIAA does not recognize regular season shootouts (and nor should they), the contest would officially be considered a tie.

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