* As strong as it was on offense, the football team’s defense may have been even stronger; continually coming up with turnovers, tipped passes, batted down balls and big stops when they were most needed. For all of its scoring wizardry the hockey team is also strongest in its own zone, committed to playing team defense and shackling opponents as soon as they venture over the blue line.
* Much as the football team detested seeing opponents cross their goal line, their ice brethren simply don’t allow their foes to get one goaltenders Tim Biarelli or Bryce Mitchell. Defensemen Sean Munzing, Nick Albano, captain Matt Hamor, Morency and even freshman Sean Hanlon make sure their netminders get clear lanes to see the puck, get horizontal to block shots frequently and keep most that do make it through coming from the perimeter and beyond.
The one difference, of course, is that the Beverly football team had already won a state title two years ago.
The Beverly hockey team has never claimed any state hardware; it’s never even made it to a championship game. The Panthers have gone as far as the state semifinals twice at the old Boston Garden (both as a Division 1 entry), falling to Arlington in 1972 (3-2) and mighty Matignon in 1977 (10-2).
We still haven’t hit the halfway point of the season, so there’s a lot of hockey still to be played. All kinds of things can happen between now and the final Sunday of the season in mid-March on the Garden ice.
Still, with the start that the Panthers are off to ... it makes you think.
The Marblehead boys and girls hockey teams will take part in a special doubleheader this Saturday night at the Larsen Rink in Winthrop when they celebrate ‘Pink the Rink.’
The two games that night — the Marblehead girls meeting Winthrop/Lynn at 5 p.m., followed by the Header boys against Winthrop at 7 p.m. — will take part in fundraisers in support of Leanne Silverman, an amazing woman, wife and hockey mom in her courageous battle against breast cancer. All proceeds from the two games will benefit the Marie C. Petrilli Cancer Research and Treatment Memorial Fund.