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December 26, 2013

The Blue Line Report: Balanced scoring could pay big dividends for Masconomet this winter

It wasn’t that long ago — seven years, to be precise — that New York Ranger Chris Kreider was scoring 28 goals and 41 points as a sophomore for the Masconomet hockey team.

Is there a potential Kreider on this year’s Chieftains roster? Perhaps, but more than likely no.

The 2013-14 squad is one that will rely on offense from any number of sources, using a scoring-by-committee approach to succeed. So far it’s working as Masconomet, a team that desperately wants to return to the postseason, is unbeaten (2-0-1) after three games.

“It’s a process that we’re building on towards getting better,” said head coach Andrew Jackson, whose team has scored back-to-back wins over Newburyport (4-2) and, in its home opener, Danvers (2-1) heading into tonight’s matchup with rival North Andover in the first round of the Hillies Christmas Tournament in Haverhill.

“We can see flashes where we’re really clicking (offensively), and want to become more consistent in doing those things. And it’s not just one guy or one line; it’s everyone that can — and will have to — contribute for us to have the kind of success that we want.”

Like the majority of high school teams, Masconomet’s best chance to find the back of the opposing net won’t come off of highlight reel snipes or end-to-end rushes that leave fans’ mouths agape. Instead, it’s the so-called ugly goals that will bear the most fruit for the Chieftains: crashing the crease for rebounds, having a willingness to battle and pay the price for prime position out front, and throwing everything at the net.

Where Masconomet has a leg up on many of their foes is overall team speed. That allows them to come aggressively through the neutral zone, whether it’s going wide down the wings and funneling the puck into the slot through one-time passes or aggressively attacking head-on through the center of the ice.

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