By Lorenzo Recupero
It’s been a long four years since Everett High School put a team on the ice in the postseason.
And now, a win or a draw away from clinching a tournament berth, there’s no one better to tell the tale of how the Crimson Tide have turned it around than senior captain and goalie, DJ Schovanec.
“I know it sounds crazy to think about [EHS in the playoffs] because when you hear Everett you don’t really think about hockey, ” said Schovanec, who was semi-part of the last team to make the postseason four years ago as an eighth grader that participated in practices for the junior varsity.
He was watching that game from the stands four years ago, and his recollections tell him he’s got to make sure he changes how he remembers things.
“[The playoff loss] wasn’t even pretty, as an eighth grader watching I could see that we were getting blown out of the water,” recalled Schovanec, who is 9-4-1 overall in net this season and looking to change Everett hockey’s fortunes for the better this time around.
“Right now, we are so close to the playoffs and having a lot of fun,” said Schovanec, who just came off a 30-plus save performance in a 0-0 tie against Revere High school. “I’m having a lot of fun, seeing the ice better. I get to be out there the entire game, and the best part is, when you make a play the whole team gets hyped,” he said.
After all, he spent the majority of his high school career (and eighth grade) behind upperclassman while waiting for his time to hold down fort.
“Being a four-year player helps a lot,” said Schovanec. “I’ve seen the obvious and got plenty of time to prepare watching behind guys like Brandon Calderon, who was a star goalie for EHS. I made sure since then I was preparing myself for when I got my chance,” he said.
It’s been four years since EHS made the postseason, and even longer since they got out of the first round. We are talking over 20 years.
But second-year head coach Alex Naumann is confident that he’s got the players, including Schovanec, to not only clinch a spot but also make a deep run.
“In the last two years DJ has really come on. He is our vocal leader,” said Naumann. “He’s pure Crimson Tide Pride and has been for a while. He’s the type of goalie to go out there and steal you a game. He’s full-tilt Crimson Tide Hockey,” said Naumann of his senior captain.
And for as great as DJ Schovanec has been all season, you still cannot win a game without scoring. That’s where the teams formidable trio of scorers comes into play.
“A big part of our success is our scorers. We have guys that can fill the back of the net and they have speed,” said Naumann, referring to point leaders Max Brown, Brendan Currie (15 goals, 11 assist), and freshman David Saia (11 goals, 14 assist).
“Those guys are our top line in points and they go after it,” said Naumann, who noted Brown, who leads the team in points (30) and goals scored (18), is a silent leader. “He may not be the vocal leader like DJ, but he is friends with everyone. He’s a good natured guy, and a talented scorer. He knows when to shoot.”
Naumann and the Tide are undefeated in the last four games, going 3-0-1 in that span. They’ll have six more chances to clinch the postseason.