SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

Sports

January 2, 2013

The Blue Line Report: Peabody facing big game tonight

(Continued)

Senior Erik Hennessey, centering sophomore Ryan Carney on the left and senior Tyler Gillespie on his right, all have natural speed and the offensive instincts to start contributing to the attack as well.

Pleasant surprises for Peabody have been sophomore third line left wing J.P. Eason, whom Leonard praised for going hard every shift, be it in a game or practice, with a willingless to mix it up physically; and junior defenseman Guiseppe Zarro, a 6-foot-1, 215-pounder who is finally healthy and playing great after having a concussion, then mononucleosis last season.

In a very winnable game Monday, the Tanners hurt themselves with a myriad of mistakes — everything from defensive zone coverage and taking foolish penalties to mistakes on faceoffs — which led to the visitors scoring four straight goals.

The things his team needs to do to improve, said Leonard, are not difficult tasks. It’s about protecting the puck, particularly in their own zone. Delving further into that thought, it’s also about chipping the puck off the glass and out of the zone while on the penalty kill, rather than trying to clear the disc and run the risk of having it blocked and kept in the zone.

It’s about marking guys off the faceoff draw, or covering the opposing center so he doesn’t sneak around the Peabody defense for a clear look at the net. It’s about clearing rebounds, creating more scoring chances at the other end and, quite simply, reacting instead of thinking.

Special teams is an area the Tanners have to fix immediately. Scoring once in nine power play chances isn’t the real issue; surrendering nine goals on 17 man-down chances is. “We’ve got to clear guys away from the net and not allow those second chance rebounds,” Leonard said.

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