PLAYER OF THE YEAR
St. John's Prep Senior
Ideally, all great athletes learn from their elders at a young age, absorb those lessons and make them their own when it's their time to be the team leader.
Brian Pinho did that job to a T.
A three-year starter on St. John's Prep teams that reached at least the Super 8 semifinals each season, Pinho is this year's Salem News Player of the Year. The third straight Eagle to capture this award, the 6-foot-1/2, 170-pounder emerged as arguably the state's best MIAA hockey player this season and guided St. John's Prep to its first Catholic Conference title in 19 years (when current head coach Kristian Hanson was the team's senior captain).
A North Andover native, Pinho led the Eagles in scoring with 42 points, good for fourth overall on the North Shore. His 27 assists also were tops on the team and third-best in the area. Among his many season highlights, Pinho had a 2-goal, 3-assist night against league rival Xaverian, and also scored the game-winning goal in the third and decisive game of the Super 8 quarterfinals against Central Catholic, snapping a 2-2 tie in an eventual 4-2 Prep victory. That goal was the 100th point of his high school career.
Hanson, who said Pinho was his team's "go-to guy in all situations," called his captain a big reason why the Eagles earned the No. 1 seed in the Super 8 tournament for the first time ever.
"Brian has been the mainstay of our team for the past two years. His leadership and talents will be missed," said Hanson.
A mainstay of the Valley Junior Warriors program, some of Pinho's favorite memories of this past season were sweeping eventual Super 8 champion Malden Catholic twice during the regular season, as well as defeating another conference foe, B.C. High, in the annual Derek Hines Memorial Game.