SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

Sports

February 5, 2014

The Blue Line Report: Witches sweeping in on a coveted playoff berth

If you had the Salem High hockey team just four points away from a playoff berth will seven games still remaining in the regular season, well then you ...

Ah, who are we kidding? Nobody had the Witches in the position they currently find themselves in.

With a 7-5-2 record heading into tomorrow’s home game vs. Lowell, Salem can draw closer to something they haven’t achieved in seven years: earn a hockey postseason bid.

”They’re on a mission and playing so well lately,” second-year head coach Ted Hanley said of his Witches, who have seven regular season games remaining. “I’m really, really proud of them.”

Salem has won three straight and is 4-1-1 in its last six games, having also picked up another two points when Revere was forced to forfeit its first 10 games (including a season opening win over the Witches). In summary, they picked up 11 points in just 17 days.

Since switching the lines up prior to a 5-3 win over Swampscott last week, Salem has racked up 18 goals. Freshman Mike Gillis had a game-winning goal against O’Bryant and followed that up with two goals and two assists in a shutout win over East Boston; he’s skating first line right wing with offensive gifted senior Danny Heck (6 goals, 7 assists) at center and another offensive talent, junior left wing Sam Petri (5-6-11).

Junior Jake Quarles, who recently scored in back-to-back contests, is playing left wing on the second line with freshman center Cam Twomey (2-3-5) and senior captain Matt Jalbert (3-6-9) on the right side. Jalbert also plays the point on Salem’s power play. Junior Killian Fitzpatrick has been the pivot on an aggressive checking unit that includes Derek Zwiercan (a sneaky-good scorer at 4-4-8) at right wing and fellow junior Adam Ngo on the left side.

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