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February 25, 2013

The Second Season begins Hockey teams dream of postseason glory after finding out their playoff seedings, matchups

The storylines are seemingly endless.

You have a hockey team that earned its first-ever top billing in the Super 8 tournament and is desperate to capture the state’s elite postseason championship for the first time.

There’s another team in the next town over that stands atop the pack in the Division 2 North draw and wants to bring home the city’s first ever hockey championship. Or another squad that hails from the same town as the Super 8 entry, one that has two state championships in its history books and would love to make it three.

It’s more of the same in Division 3 North, where bitter rivals and neighbors sit in the Nos. 2 and 3 spots, respectively. One is looking for its second state championship in three seasons and by all accounts is the favorite to win the North; the other squad, coming off of a school record tying 15 wins in the regular season, is chomping at the bit to taste postseason success for the first time since February 1969.

Got all that?

That’s the North Shore high school hockey scene on the eve of the 2013 state playoffs, and all five local squads — St. John’s Prep, Beverly, Danvers, Marblehead and Swampscott, in order as described above — have a story to tell ... one they all hope culminates on St. Patrick’s Day at TD Garden in Boston, site of state championship Sunday.

It’s been 48 days since St. John’s Prep suffered a defeat. Since that time, the Eagles have won 12 games and tied another to finish the season 17-2-1 overall and earn the program its first-ever No. 1 seed in the Super 8.

It will be 10 days between games for St. John’s Prep, which opens tournament play Sunday at Tsongas Arena in Lowell. They’ll meet the winner of tomorrow’s play-in game between No. 8 Central Catholic (13-5-3) and ninth seeded Hingham (13-7-2) in a best-of-three series, with the winner moving on to the Super 8 semfinals. The Prep defeated Hingham in its second game of the season (4-1) before suffering one of its two losses in the next game on the road against Central (2-1).

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