SWAMPSCOTT BIG BLUE
Like a steam locomotive rollin’ down the track
He’s gone, he’s gone and nothing’s gonna bring him back.
Analysis: Having lost 11 players to graduation or prep school (including 5 of their top 6 scorers) from the best team in school history last winter — one that reached the Division 3 state final at the TD Garden — the Big Blue can’t worry about who isn’t back. Instead, this young squad (with just 3 seniors) will focus on finding cohesion among the lines, tightening up defensively and allowing their talent to emerge at the varsity level. Sophomore Noah Maercklein scored 29 points last season and will be asked to do even more this time around; so will captain Griffin Hunt, a converted forward now back on the blue line. Goalies Trent Gallagher and Tristan Bradley will be asked to steal a few games, too. Four freshmen (forwards Ryan Donnelly, Mike Johnson and Louis Olivieri, and defenseman David Peterson) should all contribute right away.
ST. JOHN’S PREP EAGLES
”Fire On The Mountain”
The more that you give, why the more it will take
To the thin line beyond which you really can’t fake.
Analysis: No one is going to have any sympathy for the Eagles after the No. 1 seed in last year’s Super 8 tournament lost 18 players to either graduation or prep school (including all but 10 of their 99 goals from a year ago). Playing in the state’s best league against the top non-league foes it can find, St. John’s schedule is again a landmine, something this young squad will need to get accustomed to facing each night or find themselves forever playing catch up. Game situations will tell who’s capable of stepping up and becoming a leader; grinding it out every day in practice and learning the Eagles’ systems will earn playing time from the coaches. Captain Jimmy Currier, fellow senior Mark Etherington and junior Teddy McNamara should lead the offense; sophomores Kyle Lynch and Chris Newton figure to help. Six-foot-4 Ean Mendeszoon and Evan Leclerc are the leaders of a solid defensive corps, and any one of three goalies — seniors Anthony Selvitella and Brian Conry, as well as talented freshman Zach Laramie — could wind up as the No. 1 guy.