, Salem, MA


August 30, 2013

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


Ryan Dempsey, who led the team in both goals (24) and points (47), and Chris McLeod (22-17-39) were two senior centers who saw the ice brilliantly and knew when to carry the puck into the offensive zone, when to dish it off and when to dump it into the corners and set up shop. Three of their classmates — Alex Whitmore (7-20-27), Hunter Graves (11-11-22) and Tyler Gelineau (4-11-15) skated with them on the top two lines, as did junior left wing Austin Haley (16-11-27).

The third line was not only their biggest in terms of size, but also capable of lighting up the scoreboard too; skilled freshman portsider Tom Koopman (4-12-16) lined up with sophomores Ian Maag (8-7-15) at center and Tyler Bates (10-8-18) on the right side to form a trio that could hop over the boards at any time against any other line and more than hold their own.

As strong as Marblehead was offensively, however, defense was this team’s bread and butter.

The graceful Kulevich, at 6-foot-2 and 190 pounds, combined speed and power to become one of the dominant reargards in Eastern Mass.; he finished with 32 points. Ben Koopman (Kulevich’s cousin) was an absolute monster at 6-foot-3 and 263 pounds, but was surpsingly agile on his skates and was never, ever out of position. He, too, could spark the offense, as his 3-26-29 line attests.

Hunter Whitmore, Alex’s twin brother, was another senior standout on the back line (3-14-17); paired with Kulevich, they kept opponents from crossing into the Headers’ zone like border guards on patrol. Freshman Liam Gillis certainly belonged in the top four and found a home partnered with Ben Koopman; senior Brenden Lydon and sophomore Ben Katzman were the third pairing.

Calm, cool and collected on the outside, Cuzner was the last line of defense in goal. In a position that has produced some of Marblehead’s greatest-ever players, the senior etched his name among the greats with a 17-3-2 season, turning in a 1.97 GAA and three shutouts.

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