A single word is all you need to know in describing the makeup of North Shore hockey teams this season: Experience.
It’s all over the rosters of our local teams; guys who have already logged major minutes on the varsity in seasons past and are (for high schoolers, anyway) grizzled rink veterans.
Don’t believe me? Check out the names of these names you’re probably already familiar with ...
Start with Beverly, where a stacked roster of returning guys has many thinking big things for the Orange-and-Black this winter. Sophomore goalie Tim Biarelli is back after playing all but a handful of minutes as a freshman. Juniors Jack Morency, Sean Munzing and Matt Hamor, in addition to sophomore Nick Albano, are back patrolling the blue line.
Up front, cousins Andrew and Connor Irving are back to terrorize opponents on the top line, teaming with junior Ryan Santo; juniors Kevin Lally and Graham Doherty are the left wing-center combo on the Panthers’ second unit; and guys like senior Tom Lindgren, sophomore Teddy Leathersich, and juniors Jake Straw and J.J. Bachini, among others, make this a deep, feared squad.
In Danvers, the only newcomer among the top two lines is Adam Merry — who played junior hockey the past two seasons and has provided an immediate offensive spark. Joe Strangie centers Merry and A.J. Couto (4 goals and 6 points in just 2 games thus far) to form a potent all-senior trio. There’s not much dropoff when the next group hops over the boards; junior left wing Matt Flynn could have a breakout year playing with Rob Buchanan on the right side and Jay Calcagno in the middle.
Seniors Kevin Anderson and Shea Doyle, and sophomore Mike Disciullo (who logged big minutes as a freshman), add more veteran talent on the Falcons’ defense.