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April 28, 2014

Salem/Swampscott Pee Wee's overcome odds, win division

The Salem/Swampscott Pee Wee hockey team almost didn’t even exist this season. They started out with only seven players, but wound up winning the AA Division and Valley Hockey League championship in dramatic fashion.

“In all my years of playing and coaching hockey this team was the most fun,” said head coach Kevin Levesque, who was assisted by Jason Barnes and Dennis Pilotte. “The boys worked hard and believed in themselves. In the end all the conditioning work and extra ice time paid off. We began the season with only seven on the roster, and it was difficult to field a team, but we started off by winning our first four games. It took off from there.”

After the parity round, the team was moved up a division from A to AA. The core group of captain Tyler Sitnikov, goalie Dylan Remon, Colin Levesque, Louis Pilotte, Chris Barnes, Matt St. Pierre, and Riley Croft was soon joined by a few alternates.

“One of our players went to a different program, but the league offered us a couple of alternatives,” said coach Levesque, who played for Arlington High and UMass Boston with a year professionally in the Southern Hockey League. “We added three boys from Salem, twins Austin and William Foglietta, and Jake Miano. They really helped us out.”

Most of the players were from Salem with a couple from Swampscott. As the season went on they brought up Adam St. Pierre, Tyler Geary, and Lilla Bradley from Squirts. Mike Eisner, who played for the Bantams was given a medical release to play some games with the Pee Wees.

“We had to make a big adjustment our first few games in Double A, but once we did we ran with it and won six in a row,” said Levesque. “We played a Triple A team called Northern Cyclones, and they were pretty much undefeated. We only had six forwards and one sub on the bench, and only lost, 3-1. It was a very close game, and we hit the post in the last two minutes. We would have tied it if the puck went in, and they got a late empty netter.

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