SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

Sports

February 19, 2014

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

(Continued)

St. John’s Prep plays in a much better league (Catholic Conference vs. Middlesex), has an infinitely more difficult schedule and is 7-2-1 against non-league foes this winter. But none of that means much if they can’t put together a complete 45-minute effort tonight from the goal on out and get the two points they so desperately need.

Like their crosstown brethen, St. John’s has been getting the bulk of its scoring of late from the top line of captains Jimmy Currier of Middleton and Mark Etherington from Danvers, as well as junior wing Nick Latham of Salem. Latham has had instant chemistry since being placed with his two older teammates; he has scored in four straight games with five goals, including a pair of game-winners.

While the goal has been problematic for the Eagles at times in 2013-14, they’ll almost certainly go back with the most consistent of their keepers, freshman Zach Laramie, between the pipes tonight.

And if somehow the Eagles do get the four points they need over their final two regular season games, have they done enough to earn a Super 8 berth as a play-in team? Depends on who you ask. Strength of schedule, the fact that they’re a regular participant in the state’s elite hockey tournament and reputation alone says they should. But the Eagles went 0-7-1 in league play and don’t have any ‘signature’ wins, per se, that the tournament committee looks for. There’s also little doubt that should St. John’s qualify for the postseason but aren’t picked for the Super 8, they certainly could win the Division 1 state title.

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While on the topic of the Super 8, that brings us to Beverly.

The Panthers (18-0-1) can complete the school’s second-ever unbeaten regular season with a win tonight at 7-9-3 Weymouth. Should they do so, they’d join the 1969-70 squad (13-0-1) in BHS hockey history.

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