by Blake Krantz
Boys’ hockey, 6-2-2, has not lost in its last seven games and “has really come together as a unit and has been starting to have a lot more chemistry” as the season progresses, according to senior Thomas Joyce, a captain with seniors Mike Hart and Dante Leone.
Joyce added that “this year’s team has a lot of leadership from everyone,” in a tight-knit group with everyone contributing to the team’s goals.
Leone emphasized the difference that a year has made for the team, explaining that “everyone is a year older and has more experience, and it is more of a confident group. We all know each other and know how we play together, and we are more comfortable with each other.”
Recent games against Weymouth, Framingham, and Natick were key milestones for the team this season, according to coach Jamie Gresser. Against Weymouth, the Tigers overcame a 3-0 deficit in the third period to “secure a critical point,” as Gresser put it.
The Tigers’ penalty kill proved crucial in a 1-0 victory over Framingham January 2, as the team was able to hold onto its lead while starting a large portion of the third period shorthanded due to penalties. In their recent game against Natick January 13, the Tigers overcame a 2-1 deficit on the road, another encouraging effort in the team’s goal to qualify for the state tournament and make a deep run.
According to Gresser, the team’s “depth at forward” has proven to be a strength this season for the Tigers’ offense, with “three lines that can match up well against any line from any team.” Gresser also added that players such as junior Ben Lublin and sophomores Kiernan Stone and Will Thompson have stepped into larger roles this year to help the team.
Moving forward, Joyce does not want the team to lose its focus on the ice, even with the recent success in many games.
“We need to focus on playing our best every game and not taking any plays off, because that’s when we get ourselves into trouble,” he said.
There is also still room for improvement, according to Leone, who labeled the Tigers’ breakout from the defensive zone as a skill to improve as a unit in the coming weeks.
As Gresser put it, there are many more equally important challenges left ahead. “The players and coaches see every game as a key game,” he explained, “the Bay State League is loaded with good hockey teams, including us, so we need to prepare to play our best hockey no matter who the opponent is.”