, Salem, MA


April 30, 2013

Brotherly Love: Heckman, Ouellette lead tight-knit Tanners

Lax Lowdown

Matt Jenkins

PEABODY — There’s a real sense of family surrounding the Peabody High boys lacrosse team, a togetherness that blossomed in the preseason and has only continued to grow since the season began a month ago.

No one symbolizes that family theme more than senior attackmen Keifer Heckman and Nick Ouellette.

Stepbrothers whose parents met through Peabody Youth Lacrosse in 2006, Heckman and Ouellette have become the most dangerous scoring duo on the North Shore.

Through 12 games, Heckman and Ouellette have combined for 138 points. The pair connected for the two goals that allowed Heckman to tie, then break Peabody’s all-time scoring record over the weekend against Smithfield, R.I.

Scoring records are typically viewed as strictly individual accomplishments, but the stepbrothers took a different look at Heckman’s ability to supplant Greg Welch as the Tanners’ all-time leading scorer.

“Truly, I wasn’t thinking about it; I was just thinking about winning,” said Heckman. “We’re all a family and we’re all joined together. The whole family helped me out; it wasn’t just me who got it.”

Heckman scored four goals in Peabody’s 8-6 win over Gloucester yesterday to increase his program-high total to 235 points — 10 more than Welch, who is currently an assistant coach with the Tanners.

Adding to the excitement of the record-breaking moment was the way it all went down.

Heckman missed out on a chance to set the mark at home, but it seems fitting that he got it done while the Tanners were together at Bryant University for a team bonding experience that included watching the Bulldogs practice and play a game against Sacred Heart. On Saturday, Peabody played Smithfield, the two-time defending Division 3 state champs of Rhode Island, at Bryant.

The Tanners came up with a 17-4 win, and in the first quarter Heckman assisted on an Ouellette goal to tie Welch’s record. Later in the quarter it was Ouellette’s turn to set up Heckman, which produced the memorable goal.

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