Mike Tupper was forced to adapt in the middle of the hockey season.
Tupper’s long time line-mate and fellow senior captain Conor Douglass went down for the season with a leg injury in a late January tilt with Gloucester. The injury forced Tupper to play with a new line-mate and make the adjustment on the fly without the other half of the most dynamic duo in the Commonwealth Athletic Conference.
Douglass’ injury certainly had an effect on Tupper, but it ended up being a positive effect as he has essentially carried the Vikings over the second half of the season to a fifth straight berth in the state tournament.
The Vikings senior captain not only continued to lead the team in scoring over the second half of the season, he also established himself as the team’s unquestioned leader both on and off the ice. With the help of Tupper’s leadership and his usual strong play on the ice Rockport is playing some of its best hockey of the season just in time for the Division 3 North State Tournament, which kicks off tonight when the tenth seeded Vikings travel to Stoneham Arena to take on No. 7 Wayland (5:30 p.m.).
“What’s impressed me the most about Tup this season is that he’s been a leader both on and off the ice,” Vikings head coach Derek Papalegis said. “He puts goals in the net when we need him to and he’s been a great teammate to the guys lifting everyone up on the bench and in the locker room.
Him and Conor were our two leaders and after Conor went down it was his team. We needed him to be the leader and he’s ran with it and done everything we’ve asked and some.”