Because they skate up to six defensemen (a rarity in Division 3 high school hockey), the Witches have been wearing opponents down with a combination of smart, physical play and their depth. Senior Jackson Jennings (”he’s been unbelievable” said Hanley), junior Eli Spector and sophomores Eamon Williamson and Ishmael Telemaco make up the top four; together, they’ve combined for seven goals and eight assists to go along with minute-munching duties in all situations. Junior Sam Bresnahan (3 assists) and freshman Nathan Rumson provide depth on the back end.
The glue, however, is senior Brett Harring in goal. A four-year starter who missed time earlier this season because of injuries, he’s come back and played some of the best hockey of his high school career with a 4-2-1 mark, a 2.59 goals-against average and a sensational .928 save percentage. He also had his second career shutout in the above-mentioned 5-0 blanking of East Boston last Saturday night.
”Our kids are really pumped,” Hanley said. “A lot of these kids weren’t used to winning beforehand,” — the Witches were 4-30-1 in the two seasons before Hanley came on for the 2012-13 season, “but now that they’re doing it they really like that feeling. It’s been terrific to see.”
Masconomet, which qualified for the playoffs Monday for the first time in three years after a 9-1 rout of Pentucket, has been giving out a ‘Player of the Game’ jacket after victories this season. Tyler Costello got it two games ago in a shutout of Lynnfield, and backup goalie Jon Anderson earned the honors after his team hammered the Sachems.
There’s a nice twist to the jacket, too: every player that earns it has to have a patch sewn onto it (presumably by their moms) before they pass it on. “There are some pretty random patches on there,” mused head coach Andrew Jackson. The jacket itself is an all-black classic wool with leather sleeves and a red ‘M’ on the breast.