March 2 2018,  Peabody,  Peabody Sports,  Sports

Young Tanners hockey team shows fight despite tough season

By Greg Phipps

The Peabody boys’ hockey team had one final opportunity to earn a win last Friday at Revere but came up short, 9-5. Tied 3-3 early in the second period, Peabody saw the chance for a victory slip away when the hosts tallied four straight times to pull out to a 7-3 lead.  The Tanners scored twice more but couldn’t come all the way back. The defeat left Peabody with a 0-20 record for the season. But the young Tanners showed fight and actually outshot Revere, 40-25, in last Friday’s contest.

Tanners head coach Mark Leonard liked his team’s compete level, not only in the season finale but throughout the 2017-18 campaign. “We kept coming back. We were down 3-1 and kept coming back,” he told the press after the Revere game. “We pulled the goalie at the end of the game and they put one in. We outshot them [and] it shows a lot of character, being 0-19 and not giving up.”

Nick Capillo netted a hat trick while Andrew Phillips and Jack McKelvey scored the other goals. Leonard was happy to see McKelvey score in his final Peabody game, and acknowledged that Capillo, the team’s leading scorer, had a memorable season. “Jack hasn’t scored much so I’m glad he scored in his last game,” said Leonard. “Nick has a tremendous shot and he has some speed. Hopefully, he’ll have another big year next year.”

The Tanners lose just three seniors – McKelvey, Zack Defreitas and Christian Jones – to graduation and return most their roster next year. Eleven of this year’s 24-player squad were sophomores or below. Junior co-captains Capillo and Connor McCarron are both returning, as are underclassmen Caleb Dollin (forward), Lucas DeMild (goalie), Phillips (forward) and defenseman Austin Higinbotham among others.

Leonard sounded optimistic about next year’s prospects, as his team gained valuable varsity experience this winter. “Most of our kids return,” he pointed out. “We have six freshmen and two eighth graders, so we have a young team. It was a very long year but [the team] played hard. They battled hard today and I’m proud of them.”

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