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Everett/Revere/Malden Co-Op Hockey Team’s half-season review: tough battles, promising horizons

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By Dom Nicastro


The Everett/Revere/Malden High Schools cooperative boys’ hockey team finished the first half of the season, 4-6. Losing record, yes. But still just one game off the pace in terms of qualifying for the state tournament in March. Everett has 20 games and needs 20 points, or 12 points in its final 10 games.

So not a bad first half in that sense, considering the injuries and illnesses on the squad and the youth throughout the lineup.

Craig Richards, head coach of the cooperative team that includes players from Everett, Malden, Revere and Mystic Valley high schools, has been impressed with the team’s ability to compete when they are at full strength. Their success is often contingent on their physicality.

Now if those illnesses would just go away.

“It seems to be only getting worse, to be honest,” Richards said. “I want to say we’ve had a minimum of one guy out just about every day with some sort of illness. We’ve had everything from conjunctivitis to stomach bugs to upper respiratory. I mean, it’s just been crazy.”

What’s not crazy is when the team puts things together. And that was showcased in the team’s 8-7 win over Nashoba on the road Jan. 10. Everett was clicking on all cylinders on offense and showed the cohesion for which it’s capable. Granted, Richards would have liked to see a better effort on the defensive end, but the victory was huge nonetheless – and should serve as a motivator for the second half of the season.

“Nashoba Tech is a ranked team,” Richards said. “And we took them 8-7 in overtime which was a huge win. It was a big upset and then the next day we come back and a couple guys are out, and you see what happens (8-1 loss to Stoneham). Depth is key in high school sports, and if you don’t have that depth, it’s very tough to compete.”

Richards appreciates the team’s physical style of play, especially during its significant win over Nashoba; he desires to see more of this. He notes the importance of being physical, not allowing opponents to set up their game, and maintaining focus.

The coach identifies several offensive players who have been instrumental in the team’s performance, including senior forward Jake Simpson of Malden, who has shown versatility by playing both defense and forward effectively. Other notable contributors contributing to the scoreboard include senior forward Lucas Deguire of Mystic Valley, sophomore forward Frankie Annunziata of Revere and sophomore forward Michael Brandano of Mystic Valley.

Defensively, the team has been led by senior defenseman Jackie Summers of Malden and freshman defenseman Tommy Cronin of Malden.

Freshman goalie Ray Blauvelt of Everett is gaining experience and has showed promise.

“He’s had his great games, and he’s had his not-so-great games,” Richards said. “But you know, overall he’s definitely given us what we expected if not a little bit more.”

Ultimately, the team comprises a mix of seniors and younger players, including freshmen and sophomores, who are making significant contributions. However, the coach is mindful of the challenge they will face next year with the departure of many seniors.

The team gets into its final portion of Greater Boston League play in Games 11, 12 and 14. It was set to take on Somerville on the road Jan. 17 and has Medford (Jan. 20, on the road, 4 p.m.) and Lynn (Jan. 27, home, 6 p.m.). It added a makeup game against Taunton Jan. 26.

The coach emphasizes the need for the team to be ready and to play with the same intensity and physicality as they have shown in their best games.

“I want to see more physical style of play, which is what made us successful in that Nashoba game,” Richards said. “We have a few games with teams that are ranked higher, so these games are really important for us. These guys need to be ready to come to play.”

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