SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

Sports

February 5, 2014

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

(Continued)

Marshfield, Andover, Beverly (in the Carlin Cup, where Peabody is the defending champions) are left on Peabody’s docket. Continued hot streaks up front from captains Derek DeMild (4 goals in his last two games) and Andrew ‘Biscuits’ Bisconti (goals in back-to-back contests) can only help.

”I hope our seniors can finish strong and our young guys continue to get the experience they’ll need for next season,” said Leonard.

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The odds aren’t in St. John’s Prep’s favor as far as qualifying for state tournament play. The Eagles are 5-8-1 and need nine of a possible 12 points in their last six games, and their next five foes, beginning tomorrow against Austin Prep in Wilmington (8 p.m.), are a combined 46-14-16 this winter.

But it’s not as dire a situation as you might think.

St. John’s Prep didn’t win a game in the Catholic Conference (0-7-1), but it has gone 5-1 in their non-league tilts so far; the remainder of its schedule are against non-league foes. Head coach Kristian Hanson has coached the Eagles to six tournament berths in his six seasons; including his previous 7-year stint at Salem High (which had never been to the playoffs prior to his arrival there), his teams have earned postseason invitations in 11 of his 13 seasons behind the bench.

The Eagles have also made the tournament for a school record 12 straight seasons and obviously want to keep that going.

A couple of things would go a long ways towards going on a late-season run that they desperately need. For starters, the power play has to start clicking; the Eagles have just six man-up goals this winter. Secondary scoring is also needed; the first line of captains Jimmy Currier and Mark Etherington with sophomore right wing Kyle Lynch have 21 of the Prep’s 41 goals and 55 of their 107 total points, and they could use some support.

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