MIDSEASON REPORT: Cape Ann hockey squads in different spots after first half of regular season

·6 min read

Jan. 21—Through the first half of the regular season, Cape Ann three ice hockey teams find themselves in three different spots.

The Gloucester boys have high expectations this season after an 8-2 start. Rockport boys will be fighting for a postseason berth at 4-6. The Gloucester girls, on the other hand, are in building mode with a young squad in just its second season of varsity action.

Here's a look at what each team has brought to the table in the first half of the season and what awaits in the second half.


First half overview: The Fishermen have been a goal-scoring juggernaut over the first 10 games of the year averaging six goals per game and doing it against strong competition. Head coach Derek Geary has the area's top two scorers on his squad as Emerson Marshall leads the entire North Shore with 20 goals and 34 points on the year, averaging more than three points per game. Senior captain Jack Costanzo has also lit the lamp with regularity as he has 15 goals and 23 points on the season. Costanzo is currently tied with Andrew Fulford for fifth on the school's all time scoring list with 134, one point behind Jason Harrington for fourth all time. The Fishermen have also given their star forwards some support as Brett Cunningham (20 points), Colby Jewell (14 points) and Joseph Orlando (12 points) are all averaging more than a point per game. Nick White, Drew White and Dan O'Leary have also played key roles and have given Gloucester the depth to work three lines. Defensively, the top pairing of Ryan Frates and Robbie Schuster have provided consistent play in all three zones while Chris LoJacono, James Sanfilippo and Derek Elms have all logged important minutes on the blue line. Nick Tarantino has established himself as the team's No. 1 goalie with a goals against average under three.

Gloucester hit one bump in the road in the first half with back-to-back losses against Masco and Winthrop, but are currently riding a two game win streak while outscoring opponents 17-5 in that stretch. So far Winthrop is the only team to hold Gloucester under three goals this season.

Second half outlook: Gloucester played a difficult first half schedule, and the second half schedule remains that way. Not only will the Fishermen be making a second run through the Northeastern Conference Dunn Division with a third meeting against Marblehead, a second meeting with Winthrop and Masco and two meetings with Danvers, they also have a tough non-league slate. A make-up game with Woburn is on the horizon as is a second meeting with both Triton and Lynnfield and a date with state Division 1 powerhouse Boston College High School next month.

With eight wins, Gloucester has basically wrapped up a postseason berth as 32 of 40 teams in Division 2 will qualify. The Fishermen are playing for seeding and will be battle tested when the tournament rolls around. Given its high end talent and ability to score goals in bunches against quality opposition, this team is a threat to beat any team it lines up against.


First half overview: It was a bit of an up and down first half for the Vikings but they hit the midway point of the season riding a two-game win streak with victories over Swampscott and Lynn. In both of those wins the Vikings dominated play in all three zones. Rockport has held its own against all comers but are still looking to land a win in Cape Ann League Baker Division action in the second half.

The Vikings are led by a balanced attack as head coach Kyle Nelson will roll four lines and all of them have contributed. Aiden Arnold and Dougie Pratt are tied for the team lead with seven points each. Rockport has gotten contributions from a wide array of forwards including Gio Recupero, Hayden Brady, Michael Murphy, T.J. Brunner and Jack Guelli. On the blue line, Andrew Amigo and Benji DiFluri have chipped in offensively as they are tied for the team lead with six assists. Mike Nocella and Nick Nocella have also been rock solid on defense. In goal, junior Jack Crompton has been one of the team's biggest strengths along with its forward depth. Crompton's play in net has kept his team in every game and he has a knack for making a few spectacular stops each night.

The Vikings are a physical squad that plays their system well and comes at opponents for three quarters. They may not have eye popping offensive numbers but they make opponents earn every inch of the ice.

Second half outlook: The Vikings are currently on the tournament bubble but they have the chance to solidify their spot in the second half with nine games remaining. Rockport has six CAL games remaining including two with North Reading and Pentucket and one with Hamilton-Wenham and Amesbury. The Vikings dropped close games with the Generals and Indians the first time around and will need to reverse those results in the rematch. Rockport also has two important non-league games with Northeast that could be key for tournament positioning.

Rockport is a fundamentally sound team that has no problem out-working opponents with its forecheck. If the Vikings continue to score the way they have in recent weeks they should be able to pick up enough wins to get into the State Tournament.


First half overview: In their second varsity season the Fishermen have taken their share of lumps. Playing in an established league, the Northeast Hockey League, Gloucester has a lineup that is filled with mostly sophomores and eighth graders. Head coach Caitlyn Bernick's squad has performed admirably against some tough competition, but sometimes the older, more experienced teams have the edge.

The Fishermen have tons of young talent on the roster that look to be budding into future stars. Sophomore Abby Lowthers leads the team in scoring with five points on the season. Fellow sophomores Ella Costa and Brooke McNiff have been two-way standouts on the blue line. Junior Aria Caputo and sophomores Sydney Bouchie, Halle Wentworth, Jenna Connelly and Ari Scola have also been key contributors on the forward lines. Head coach Caitlyn Bernick also has a few middle schoolers playing key roles. Kaydin Cusumano has been a staple in the Gloucester goal since game one and is already proving to be a formidable net minder. Keagan Jewell and Mya Jewell have also established themselves as two of the best skaters and go-to forwards on the team.

Second half outlook: With 11 games remaining Gloucester has some chances to build on that win total. The Fishermen have a winnable game on Saturday at Talbot Rink against Shawsheen, the first of two meetings between the two teams in the second half. The Fishermen also play Marblehead, the team it beat the first time around, Medford and Masconomet. Gloucester is not on the level of league powerhouse programs such as Peabody, Beverly and Winthrop just yet, but they have gained valuable experience against those opponents and have shown some serious signs of potential against those elite squads.

Gloucester looks to be a year away from competing regularly with the entire league, but the program is well on its way to being a team to look out for in the Northeast Hockey League.

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