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August 30, 2013

Fantasy Matchups: Blades of Steel State champion hockey squads Danvers, Marblehead would be an epic ice battle

(Continued)

McCullough had one of the great individual seasons in DHS hockey history with 37 goals and 64 points. Duggan led in assists (43) and was second with 56 points, while Hayes’ contributions (21 goals, 28 assists) were plentiful. Gotts (9-14-23, including 3 big goals in the playoffs) and Valentine (7-12-19) were no slouches, either; McCormick (5-21-26) and Bettencourt (0-12-12) showed why they were regarded as excellent two-way defensemen.

Bevan wound up playing all but 60 minutes that season, going 18-4-3 with a 2.11 goals-against average, .907 save percentage and four shutouts. He is the school’s all-time leader in career victories, with 37.

“To this day, the camaraderie on that team, it’s still strong. Half those guys were at my wedding this summer,” said Hayes, now 28 and a physical education teacher in Danvers. “A lot of us played college hockey, but you never get that feeling back you had of playing with your high school buddies. We did something none of us will ever forget.”

HEADERS WERE FOCUSED

Marblehead was also a team on a mission. Ten seniors who had been on the varsity since their freshmen season had already experienced a bounty of riches in their careers: three NEC South crowns, a pair of Division 3 North titles, the chance to play a game under the lights at Fenway Park against Winthrop. But the one thing they all craved still eluded them: skating on the Garden ice, championship hardware in hand.

“We were playing together since freshman year, so when Coach Jackson and (assistant coach Mark) Tarmey gave us all chances to play as freshmen, we tried our best. And after four years of jelling and meshing together, it paid off when we won that championship,” said hulking defenseman Ben Koopman, now a junior at Holy Cross.

The Headers’ depth was simply amazing; a dozen players had at least 15 points that season, including all three scoring lines and its top three defensemen. There were also 10 players who had a plus-minus rating of +20 or better (led by Koopman’s ridiculous +38), unheard of for a public school hockey team.

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