There Is Nothing Better Than Hockey In New England


Mark Norris and Keith Townsend

The ice is heating up in New England. The Bruins are off to a scorching 32-4-4 start to the season, holding an 11 point lead against the next closest team in the entire league. Meanwhile, at Talbot Rink in Gloucester, The Ipswich-Rockport-Manchester-Essex hockey team is looking to make some noise of their own.

The Boston Bruins have one of the most impressive starts to a season in recent history with a now 32-4-4 record. With lots of returning veterans and some familiar faces like Krejci back in the lineup, the Bruins have been playing like a well-oiled machine under new head coach Jim Montgomery. With plenty of depth scoring the bruins are definitely a feared team to play against. When Dylan was asked about the team’s future he said “No idea, but you can only hope we keep this historic run going.” with a strong, supportive fan base behind the B’s everyone has high hopes for this year.

If the Bruins can hold this strength throughout the rest of the season they are definitely a cup contender at the top of the charts. But staying healthy is always the hardest part of the season for lots of teams with JD going out with a fibula injury during the winter classic game. You hope it’s just a quick one and done for the Bruins and we stay healthy but that means all players have to step up more than ever. When being asked what the key to success has been thus far in the season, Bruins fan Dylan Eaton said “I also feel like it just took our guys developing. Players like DeBrusk, Clifton, Forbort, and Coyle, have all stood out this year. When everyone buys in and plays with that next man up mentality, our team’s depth has proven to be really, really good.” With mindsets like this, not a lot can hold the Bruins back from an amazing season. 


With 3 months still remaining in the season there is lots of time for the Bruins to stay on top and grow their lead but it’s important that everyone steps up and plays with high intensity no matter who the opponent is with the trade deadline coming up the Bruins could be in the position to make some movies Dylan said “If I’m Don Sweeney, I’m looking at Patrick Kane as a potential steal before the deadline. He wants one last chance at a cup, and that could be in Boston, especially if we can make the space for him throwing JD on LTIR (Long Term Injury Reserve).” If the Bruins expand and take in right-wing Patrick Kane this would mix up the lines a bit but we don’t want to ruin the flow and chemistry that we have built this far in the season.

The Vikings have had a tough start to the year coming in at 3-5 at the time of writing this. The team consists of players from Ipswich, Rockport, and Manchester-Essex school districts, allowing them to field a complete and competitive hockey team. Coming off a trip to the tournament in the 2021-2022 season where the boys were bounced by Winthrop 4-0, they are looking to come back even stronger. 

Despite the under .500 start to the year. They hold a 2-0 record in the Cape Ann Baker division, placing them in first alongside Amesbury. There is lots of work to be done but sophomore first-line center Ryan Meaney remains positive about the outlook. “We started off pretty well but we need to keep it going. We started off [4-5]  but I feel like we could be doing a lot better.” When asked what aspects of the game they have found success in, Ryan answered, “We have seen a lot of success in the offensive zone. We are doing a good job keeping it in the zone and staying on the attack.” The boys just need to keep the puck above the blue line and they are playing their game.

As the boys approached the midpoint of the season I had junior first-line d-man Chris Burns as well as Ryan reflect on what they need to address as a team moving into the second half of the season. “We get [the puck] caught in our zone and we have a hard time getting it out quickly. That and just passing”, Ryan answered. “We are not passing much and using each other like we should be.” Another issue facing the team is a lack of chemistry between players on each line. I asked Chris if this was due to the team being a combination of players from 3 different schools. “Not really, a lot of the kids know each other well; we get over that in the preseason practices. There is something that hasn’t clicked; People individually click but in games, people freak out and that kinda goes out the window.” He also added that this is something that will come along as the season progresses.

With half the season remaining, it’s not unreasonable to look ahead to the postseason for the Vikings. Chris told me “We stand a really good chance; we definitely have our division. If everyone is healthy, and we beat Amesbury, we are set in the division. For the state tournament, we need to dial in, fix the small errors and we will have a good shot.” The boys are looking to turn it up in the second half and find their stride. They are due to settle in and make some noise.