---- — The high school hockey season on Cape Ann has reached its midpoint and both Gloucester and Rockport are very much afloat when it comes to a spot in the postseason.
The first half has been an up and down run for both hockey teams on Cape Ann and the second half of the season has many challenges in store for the Fishermen and Vikings. Here’s a look at what’s been good, what’s been not so good and what is to come for Cape Ann’s high school hockey teams.
Highlights: After a 1-5-1 start the Fishermen played themselves back into state tournament contention with a recent three game winning streak scoring a combined 19 goals in wins over Revere, Methuen and Salem.
In those three wins Gloucester sustained scoring production from the entire lineup while at the same time protecting its own end.
The Fishermen were expected to struggle this season with a very young lineup and while they have dropped a few close games they have also held their own every night. A 5-1 loss to Beverly was really the only game where the Fishermen were outclassed talent wise, they have skated with every other team and been in every other game.
Gloucester’s best win was a 4-2 win over Peabody, an evenly matched game where Gloucester was the superior team down the stretch in crunch time posting two goals in the final three minutes of play. The Peabody win kicked off a strong six game run where Gloucester went 4-2.
Offensively the Fishermen have been led by senior captains Alex Webb and Pete Mondello, who lead the team with 14 and 10 points respectively. Gloucester has also worked in a lot of new starters as Freshman Alex Enes, Stephen Tettoni and Eddie Mahoney have earned regular minutes, Enes on the team’s top line.
Veterans Mike Muniz and Ryan Whittemore have anchored the defensive unit while Jesse Glidden and Owen Parisi have split time and goal and both played well.
Lowlights: A 3-0 loss to Saugus on January 3 is a game that Gloucester would love to have back as it would be at .500 if it had pulled off a win. The Fishermen have also had trouble finding the back of the net against quality opponents.
What’s to come: Gloucester gets the chance to move one step closer to .500 tonight against Rockport before embarking on a brutal eight game stretch to finish the season.
The Fishermen play 10-2 Swampscott next Wednesday before getting back into Northeastern Conference North play with non league contests against Triton and Melrose in the mix as well.
Gloucester needs 11 points over its final nine games and that will be no easy task given its schedule. The Fishermen are going to have to beat a team that they lost to the first time around and pull off an upset along the way to get into the postseason. We will have a good idea where Gloucester’s tournament prospects stand after five game stretch from February 2 to February 13 against Danvers, Winthrop, Saugus, Triton and Peabody respectively.
Outlook: Gloucester certainly has work to do, but given its improvement from game one until midseason it certainly has a chance to sneak into the postseason. The Fishermen, however, don’t have any margin for error and must take care of business in every winnable game on the schedule and some to get in.
Highlights: The Vikings have throttled Commonwealth Athletic Conference competition this season posting a 5-0 record in league play winning those games by a combined score of 32-11. Rockport is in the drivers seat for a conference title that comes with an automatic berth in the Division 3 North State tournament and it is clearly the class of the league.
The Vikings signature win was a 5-3 victory over Shawsheen on December 19, snapping the Rams 47 game conference unbeaten streak.
It comes as no surprise that the veteran Vikings can light the lamp.
Senior captains Conor Douglass, who scored his 100th career point last Wednesday against Minuteman, and Mike Tupper lead the way with 17 and 16 points respectively. Douglass has been a mainstay in the Vikings lineup since he was an eighth grader, Tupper since he was a Freshman.
Alex Amoroso has emerged as a first line player leading the area with 13 assists on the season. Josh Guertin, John Tucker and Jake O’Maley have also scored in bunches on the team’s second line.
Jon Ferrante and Kyle Edmonds anchor the defense while Colby Foster has been his usual rock solid self in goal this season. Rockport not only has the talent, it has the experience to go with it as the entire team returns from last season, where it made the sectional semifinals.
Lowlights: Rockport is still looking for its first win outside of conference plays and all of those losses came to potential Division 3 North tournament opponents. In all of their defeats the Vikings have shown the flashes of strong play that made them one of the preseason favorites in Division 3 North, but they have also been inconsistent in those five games.
A couple out of conference wins in the second half would be a huge confidence boost come tournament time.
What’s to come: Rockport’s schedule does not lighten up in the second half as it plays Division 2 Gloucester tonight along with fellow Division 2 teams Revere and North Reading.
A February 7 matchup on the road at Shawsheen will decide the CAC and a non league tilt against Medfield in the season finale on February 20 will be a good barometer as to where the Vikings are entering the postseason.
Outlook: Rockport will get into the state tournament do to its standing in the league, and when it gets there, it will be one of the more battle tested teams in all of Division 3 North.
If Rockport can turn in some consistent performances against strong non league foes it could be primed for another strong run in the Division 3 North state tournament.
Cape Ann Scoring Leaders Player School G A P Mike Tupper Rockport 7 10 17 Conor Douglass Rockport 12 4 16 Alex Webb Gloucester 10 4 14 Alex Amoroso Rockport 1 12 13 Josh Guertin Rockport 5 6 11 Pete Mondello Gloucester 5 5 10 Jake O'Maley Rockport 5 5 10 Alex Enes Gloucester 4 6 10 John Tucker Rockport 4 5 9