Salem duo steals the show at NEC hockey all-star game

SALEM – Saturday afternoon at Salem State University, the best hockey players from the Northeastern Conference squared off in the annual All-Star game, and when the final whistle blew, it was two players from Salem High who were the stars of the show.
With the White team, made up of stars from Saugus, Gloucester, Salem, Peabody and Danvers getting a goal from the Witches? Derek Zwiercan with 1:52 left in the game, it squeaked by the Dark team, made up of Beverly, Marblehead, Swampscott, Lynn and Winthrop, by a 4-3 score.
The win was preserved when Salem?s Nick Holt, whose team will face Bedford in the state tournament, stopped Marblehead?s Cam McDonald with two seconds left in the game. Holt, who had league MVP Patrick Todisco bust down the wing on him twice when the score was 3-3, making one save with the other shot clanging off the far post, said it was okay that the game wasn?t settled until the final seconds.
?(I was) happy I was in there to make the saves,” Holt said. “We?ve had a lot of games this year where it came down to the last shot. I just stayed focused until the end, really a fun time.”
Danvers goalie Alex Taylor, who was sitting next to Holt in the winner?s locker room, said it was a great game, a lot of fun all afternoon.
?Great time, great game to play in,” Taylor said. “Good for Nick, he played well, now we get ready for the tournament.”
Danvers will take on league foe Peabody Wednesday (7:30) at the Stoneham Arena.
Winthrop head coach Dale Dunbar, who was named the NEC Coach of the Year by his peers, said it was a great afternoon, just a lot of fun to be part of.
?Really a great time,” he said. ” As a coach you roll out four lines of great players, just a fun game to be part of, something I know these kids will never forget.”
The Vikings will hit the ice against St. Bernard?s Wednesday (7:45) in Watertown, but Dunbar said he?s never, ever concerned about tournament opponents.
?I?m focused on my team, not any other team,” he said. “I want to focus on getting my team prepared as best week can, whoever we play.
?I don?t care who we?re playing, when we?re playing or where we?re playing, we?re glad to be in the tournament, and our focus will be on our preparation,” he said.
Reed Foster from Peabody, Jared Favazza from Gloucester, and Saugus winger Nik Straticos scored for the winners. Straticos also had an assist in his final high school game.
?I had a lot of fun, it was great, playing on a line with (Saugus teammate Chris Sanderson) Sands. We had a tough season, (and) it was nice to finish up this way, I had a really good time,” Straticos said.
Jesse McLaughlin from Beverly, Tim Kalinowski from Marblehead and Alex Anzouni from Winthrop scored for team Dark. Kalinowski, who finished .23 seconds behind Danvers forward Robert Tibbetts in the speed part of the skills competition, also hit the post three times during the game.
?Man, it was like wind chimes out there for me,” Kalinowski said. “I?m going to hear clanging in my sleep for a while.”
Kalinowski’s teammates had a solid showing in the skills competition, Braden Haley won the shootout, and P. J. Roy won the obstacle course. The Magicians will take on Somerville Wednesday (6) at the O?Brien Rink in Woburn.Marblehead, Winthrop, Gloucester, Lynn, Salem, Swampscott, Danvers and Peabody all qualified. Eight out of 10 NEC teams will play on in the tournament.

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