SALEM — The clock had just passed 10:30 p.m. when Jake Pappalardo left the ice and headed towards the Salem Icenter locker room following a tough late-night practice. But the evening was far from over for the Blue Devils’ budding star.
“Midterms are coming up so I have to go home and study,” said Pappalardo, who has a 3.9 GPA on a 4.0 scale. “I’ll probably get to bed around 12:30 (a.m.). I’m tired, but there’s plenty of time to sleep after the season. There’s nowhere else I’d rather be.”
With Pappalardo leading a red-hot top line, the Salem High hockey team has made the rink a thrilling place this season.
Just a sophomore, Pappalardo has emerged as one of the most exciting players in the region with 11 goals as the Blue Devils have surged to an 8-2-1 record, their best start since the 2007-08 season, and their 7-1-1 league mark is tops in New Hampshire Division 1
“Jake is a very dynamic player,” said Salem coach Mark McGinn. “He has really elevated his game and has become an all-around threat this season. He can score, but it isn’t just goals. He does everything to make the kids on the team better.”
Pappalardo has shown his all-around abilities with a team-high 21 points as the center for the line of three sophomores that has been unstoppable for in New Hampshire this season, scoring 28 goals.
“We knew this could possibly be a (special) season,” said Pappalardo. “When coach puts me out there I know I have to perform. I want to set the tone for the game, and do what is needed of me.”
Pappalardo began to emerge as a freshman last season, scoring eight goals. But his real breakout was a two-goal performance in a Division 1 quarterfinal loss to Manchester Memorial.