SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

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December 18, 2013

The Blue Line Report: Milestones, not mistletoe, coming up this hockey holiday season

While tens of thousands of children across the North Shore gleefully count down the days until Christmas, area hockeyologists are focusing on numbers of a different sort.

There are a slew of milestones that can be reached and/or broken by local skaters, goaltenders and even coaches this coming season. So let’s reach into the enormous hockey bag atop Santa’s sleigh and see what we can find ...

With five points in his team’s first two games, Beverly co-captain Connor Irving now has 146 career points (52 goals, 94 assists), moving him into second place all-time in Panther scoring annals ahead of Brendan Fullerton (143 points). Next up: the school’s all-time scoring record held by Roger LeBlanc Jr., who scored 172 career points from 1996-99. Irving, a senior center, already holds the BHS career mark for assists.

Barring anything unforeseen, the only local player who looks like he could reach 100 career points this season is Marblehead’s Tom Koopman. The senior left winger takes 68 career points (29 goals, 39 assists) into tonight’s clash with Danvers, and getting top line minutes for the explosive Headers could certainly help in his century quest.

We should have a handful of players hit the 50-point career mark this winter: Beverly senior Graham Doherty (he needs 10 points for 50); Marblehead senior defenseman Liam Gillis (15 points needed); senior forward Sam Petri of Salem (21 points needed), Ryan Santo, another Beverly senior wing (22 points needed) and even high scoring sophomore center Matt Koopman of the Headers (22 points needed).

Four others who skate on the top lines for their respective teams and see significant power play time could also hit 50 career points with big senior seasons: center Jay Calcagno of Danvers (26 points needed), Peabody linemates Mike Vadala (26 points needed) and Derek DeMild (28 points needed); and Salem’s Danny Heck (30 points needed).

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