SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

Sports

January 8, 2014

The Blue Line Report: Headers hope third (or fourth) time could be the charm

(Continued)

That’s what makes these Headers so intriguing; they’ve battled a seasoned Beverly squad twice to the final horn; once having taken a 3-0 first period lead before squandering it; then rallying from a three-goal third period deficit with a pair of strikes, only to come up one tally short.

Think of it this way: Marblehead knows they can play with Beverly. It has scored seven goals in two games against the Orange-and-Black; the rest of Beverly’s seven foes have scored a combined 5 goals in seven games against them.

But can they beat Beverly?

That question will be answered in three weeks — and possibly in the state playoffs come March.

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Too early to say it’s crunch time for the 2-5 Peabody High hockey team?

Not if the Tanners want to fulfill their playoff aspirations it isn’t.

”We have to grab points wherever we can,” Peabody head coach Mark Leonard said after his team’s 4-3 setback of Danvers last weekend at Salem State. “We’ve got a real tough stretch coming up, and it’s at the point where we need to find a way to get points any way possible.”

Peabody, which entertains Marblehead tonight at the McVann-O’Keefe Rink (5:15 p.m.), has lost two straight decisions in which it held third period leads: 2-1 at Methuen (a 4-2 setback) and the aforementioned Danvers game, in which the Tanners led 3-1 with 10 minutes to play but fell, 4-3.

It’s a team that has speed in the forward lines and big defensemen protecting their own end, but also one in need of a killer instinct over the final 15 minutes of play. Yes, they’re a little banged up ... but as Leonard said following Saturday’s loss, that’s not an excuse. If the posteason is their goal, the Tanners have to find a way to close out their foes.

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