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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)

“A few keys to our success was definitely the way we came together as a team throughout the season,” said Kulevich. “We all got along great and pushed each other to accomplish the goals we had set coming into the season.

“I also think we had great depth; each line brought something different to the game. We never found ourselves relying on anyone to take over. We all had confidence in one another and the coaches’ system that if we just played hard, we would be successful.”

They were. With few hiccups along the way (a 5-3 setback at Lynn two days before Christmas was a real wake up call), the Headers breezed to another NEC South crown, entered the playoffs as a No. 2 seed and set about claiming what they felt was rightfully theirs. They dispatched Latin Academy (5-3), Dracut (5-1) and finally top-seeded Shawsheen (6-2) for the North title. In that Shawsheen game, Marblehead actually rolled out five defensemen on the power play; that’s how confident they were not only in their systems, but also their talent level.

At Harvard University’s Bright Center, they survived a late rally by Pembroke to finally prevail in the state semifinal, 3-2, before heading to the Garden for the program’s third state title appearance. Taking on Western Mass. champ Westfield, they fell behind 2-1 after one period before exploding for four second-period goals, winning 6-3 behind a goal and three assists from McLeod in an outstanding final-game-of-his-career performance.

Following the title victory, the Header seniors finished a combined 67-25-10 over their four years. They pointed then, and now, to their coaching staff — Mark Tarmey, Tom Colby, Gary Conn, Pat Flynn and head coach Bob Jackson — as being a huge reason why they achieved as much as they did.

“Our coaches made us successful. We had some of the best coaches, if not the best in the league,” said Koopman.

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