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Peabody-Saugus hockey: Blending youth and experience for late-season surge

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By Dom Nicastro


The Peabody-Saugus boys hockey team is looking for a strong finish to the season. And based on some recent results, the Tanners are heading in that direction.

Peabody-Saugus is 3-8-1 after 12 games. But it has played well lately. In its last five games, it is 2-2-1, including a 7-1 win over Minuteman and a 5-3 victory over Chicopee.

Coach Jason Marshall reflected on the team’s recent performances, indicating a period of positive results and competitive play, particularly after key games. This momentum is attributed to the team’s ongoing development and efforts to play a complete game, emphasizing the importance of consistency across all periods.

“We’ve jumbled up the lines a little bit going into this past couple of weeks,” Marshall said. “We moved Dom Chianca (senior of Saugus) up to forward coming from defense. And so it’s definitely left our defense a little bit lighter. But it’s really bolstered that second line, and I say second line, very lightly, because both of our top two lines I view as our first line. But that line of Brandon Barone (Peabody sophomore), Dom and freshman Artie O’Leary (of Saugus) … they’ve been lights out over the past three, four games or so.”

Senior Ryan Jones of Saugus, senior Michael Ryan Peabody and Peabody junior Tyson Higgins form the first line.

“They’re very solid defensively,” Marshall said. “I’ve coached Michael Ryan now for four years.   And he’s one of the better defensive forwards that I’ve seen, just at the high school level in general. Ryan Jones has got one of the best shots in our conference. And then Tyson Higgins has been really making huge strides this year, both in terms of puck battling, but really creating his own offense on the rush as well.”

As for the blue line crew, junior Zach Hartnett has been huge, Marshall said.

“He’s logging a ton of minutes,” Marshall added. “He gets some power play time as well. But really just being a stabilizing force for our defense, as well as our senior captain Trevor Pacheco (of Peabody), who’s always just very reliable. In our own zone, he’s really a commanding force, especially in front of our own net. Not many guys are able to get good positioning in front of the net. And he’s been huge for us as well stepping up.”

Sophomore goalie Evan Tybinkowski is still getting most of the looks in net.

“He’s a huge competitor,” Marshall said. “I mean, even on these games where he’s given up a lot of goals, he doesn’t stop, he doesn’t quit for like a single second for a single play. He is someone who wants to be on the ice in the net, as much as possible. Luckily, over the past few games, he’s not seeing as many shots as he has the entire season. I mean, at one point, we had maybe a five- or six-game stretch, where we were seeing easily 45 shots a game. So now we’re back at a good level. And that’s kind of been key for us in keeping us in these games. But he’s been lights out nonstop for us all season.”

Looking ahead, Coach Marshall emphasizes the importance of consistency and the desire to see improvement across all lines and from younger players. The upcoming games present a challenging schedule, but also an opportunity for the team to measure their progress and competitiveness against strong opponents.

“I always tell them — it’s something that was kind of told to me and it’s an old hockey term — but just have a short memory,” Marshall said. “If you’re going to make a mistake, go back out there the next shift and completely forget about it. And just on to the next one. So, I try to reiterate that as much as possible.”

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