Next it was Thompson. He was an Eagle-Tribune All-Star as a sophomore at Pinkerton in 2005 (25 goals), before starring for the New Hampshire Jr. Monarchs then for four seasons at UNH, finishing as a finalist for the Hobey Baker Award — college hockey’s Heisman Trophy — as a senior.
“We were always at the rink watching Paul play,” said Licciardello. “I was at just about every one of his high school and junior hockey games. One year he was named to the New England All-Star team, and we traveled to Rochester, N.Y. to watch him play, because my family is crazy like that. We were at all his home games in college, and traveled a few times for games. It was awesome.”
Licciardello began to emerge as a hockey player in his own right in his youth, and as a freshman skated on the second line for the Amesbury/Whittier varsity team. He moved up to first line as a sophomore, scoring 11 goals and adding nine assists.
As a junior, he had scored three goals in his first five games, but in game No. 6 his suffered a separated right shoulder and his season was over.
“It was just a weird check,” he said. “I wasn’t ready for it, I hit the ice and just heard a pop. The next day I went to the doctor and he said it would eventually be fine, but I was done playing for the season. It was horrible. I was the captain and I felt like I had let my team down.”
Licciardello then set his eyes on recovery, including weight training and a fine baseball season. When the winter arrived, he wasted no time showing his talent, scoring the game-winner in the team’s season-opener against North Reading.