It runs in the family.
Scoring goals, that is.
And the family we’re talking about is the Kelleher clan of Kingston.
Markie, a senior co-captain, is the leading scorer (19 goals, 8 assists for 27 points) for the Silver Lake Regional High boys hockey team, which is celebrating the program’s 50th season in grand style by fashioning a 15-5 record. That’s the most wins since Pembroke broke off from Silver Lake to form its own school.
And Shea, a junior captain, is absolutely tearing up the girls’ side of the Patriot League for the Whitman-Hanson/Silver Lake co-op program, scoring 30 goals in 19 games, including the overtime winner in Wednesday’s 3-2 conquest of Mansfield/Oliver Ames/Foxboro.
“It’s just been amazing to watch,” said dad Mark Kelleher, who, like mom Tricia, was a multi-sport athlete at North Quincy High. “As parents we’re so proud of both of them.”
The siblings have had many good days this season, none better than Jan. 5 when Shea scored four times in the third period to rally her team past Marshfield, 4-1, and Markie struck in the closing seconds of overtime to beat Duxbury, 2-1.
“She just took control,” Whitman-Hanson/Silver Lake coach Kevin Marani said. “That’s one of those games where she said, ‘Enough’s enough,’ and she just took control. She’s had a lot of those games.
“The funny thing is — and this is the God’s honest truth — she’s a little snakebit, too. Goalies have made some really nice saves on her. She could almost have double what she has goal-wise; she deserves to have almost double. That Marshfield game, she controlled the game for two periods and the goalie was making some really good saves on her and then she got one by her and that was it. It was like a shark smelling blood. She pounced and got four goals real quick.”
Said Shea: “It was definitely a big game. We were down 1-0 going into the third and I had that feeling I was going to go out there and try my hardest to score.”
Markie did less scoring that day, but he made his goal count. It was the Lakers’ first win over Duxbury since 1997, back when current Silver Lake coach Dan Scott found the net twice for his alma mater.
“Time was winding down,” Scott said of Kelleher’s heroics some 25 years later. “I believe Aidan Dunphy was bringing the puck up. He got it into the zone and then there was a shot on net and a scrum (for the rebound) and Mark kind of popped out on the side and was right there to get the rebound and popped it home right under the goalie. He definitely paid the price for it because he got a nice little face-wash (from a Duxbury player) after the fact.”
“I was out there for a good two and a half, three minutes; I was gassed,” Markie Kelleher said of his shift. “But we had it in the offensive zone, so I didn’t want to change since we had a lot of pressure on them. I just said, ‘I’m going to stay out in front of the net and see what happens.’
“Aidan Dunphy was at the point and took a shot. There were a couple of rebounds. My linemate, Sam Dilley, he hit it again, it hit off the Duxbury goalie’s pad, and I just finished it. Just crazy. Some defenseman just cross-checked me in the face (after the goal went in).”
Was it worth it?
“Yes, it was,” he said with a laugh.
And who got bragging rights in the Kelleher that night?
“He did,” Shea said. “Overtime goal.”
‘OUT OF THE BLUE’
Shea Kelleher definitely came into this season as a known commodity. She scored 13 goals as a freshman and was an All-Scholastic last winter as a sophomore when she had 6 goals and 6 assists in 11 games in a COVID-shortened campaign.
“Just a strong skater, such a strong stride,” Marani said. “Three strides and she’s past somebody. She’s got really good hands and a really good shot. She’s got all the tools. … In my opinion she’s the best player we have in the Patriot League.”
She’s also an accomplished soccer player, to the extent that she will play that sport at the Div. I level in 2023 at Sacred Heart University in Fairfield, Connecticut. An All-Scholastic in soccer this past fall, Shea netted 22 goals in leading the Lakers to the Division 2 state championship game — a 3-1 loss to Patriot League rival Whitman-Hanson.
“It was awesome,” she said of the playoff run. “It was one of the best moments of my life, to be honest. It was fun making it that far with such a good team. We were all best friends. We all hoped that we could go that far, and we did.”
And, yes, that tournament success made her even more eager for hockey.
“It definitely did,” she said. “The feeling after winning (soccer) games made me want to do better at hockey and try to go that far.”
While Shea’s success this winter has be no surprise, Markie Kelleher has been a bit of a revelation for the Silver Lake boys team. Never a prolific scorer over his first three seasons, he’s suddenly blossomed into just that. Witness his hat trick against Pembroke in Wednesday’s 5-1 win.
“Mark’s always been a real creative player, a good player,” Scott said. “He was a little undersized when he was first coming up (to varsity). But he’s gotten a lot taller and put some weight on. This year he’s come into his own. Last year he scored a couple of goals. This year (his production) is kind of out of the blue, I guess you could say.”
“I put in a lot of hard work in the offseason, really caring about my stickhandling and shooting,” Markie said. “I have a lot more confidence with the puck than I did last year. That gives you a boost.”
Kelleher, who alternates between center and wing, has found a home on a line with fellow seniors Brett Evans and Sam Dilley. (Dilley’s sister Caitlin is a standout defenseman on the girls’ co-op.) While Scott calls Sam Dilley the “catalyst” of the trio, it’s Kelleher who has become the finisher — something the Lakers lacked last season when they were 2-10 overall and winless in Patriot League play.
“It’s been huge,” Scott said of Markie Kelleher’s production. “There were question marks coming into the season about who was going to be the goal-scorer. Last year we didn’t score a lot of goals and lost (five) games by one goal (all by scores of 1-0, 2-1 or 3-2). We couldn’t get over the hump.
“That was a huge question — who was going to score for us this year. He’s a kid who’s really stepped up to the plate. He’s always been a talented hockey player. It was just a question of putting it all together, and he’s definitely put it all together this year.”
STRENGTH IN (FEWER) NUMBERS
Being a bigger part of the offense has made the game fun for Markie Kelleher. So has winning. The Lakers were 10th in the latest MIAA power rankings for Div. 2 — quite a contrast to last season, when Silver Lake started 0-9 and didn’t notch its first win until Feb. 15.
“We kind of just forget about last year,” Markie said with a laugh. “(This year) it’s more about the team coming together and being more tight. No bad things go on in the locker room; everyone’s on the same page.”
The Whitman-Hanson/Silver Lake girls team also is in playoff position. At 10-9 the co-op sat at No. 19 in latest Div. 1 power rankings, well above the cut line of 32. The program was bounced in the first round of the 2020 tournament and then went 4-5-2 last winter when the MIAA did not stage playoffs due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
W-H/SL’s biggest issue now is roster size — only 13 players total. Shea Kelleher has mostly skated on a line with Abby Powers and Bridget Cardarelli, but the team has had plenty of games with only five available forwards, so there’s a lot of mixing and matching.
“It’s the first time we’ve ever had this small of a roster,” Marani said. “I was a little afraid that we were going to get worn down (at the end of games). We have played with five forwards and three D four times this year. You would think it would be a problem and you’d think the girls would get worn down, but they don’t. One of the girls says, ‘We don’t have a lot of players, but we have the right players.’ It’s true.”
“We do short shifts and then we get back out there and keep going,” Shea Kelleher said. “We all skate at practice so we’re used to the fitness (level required). We all work very hard.”
Come this weekend, both Shea and Markie Kelleher will find out just where all their hard work has put them when the MIAA releases the playoff brackets.
“Once we get into the tournament,” Shea said, “we’ll just take it from there and see how far we can go.”
“I’m not really worried about (playoff positioning),” Markie said. “I know as a team we’ll come together.”
The Kelleher kids will come together as a family, too. They’ll try to get to each other’s playoff games, as they have done throughout the regular season. And they’ll be keeping tabs on each other’s production.
After all, more bragging rights will be at stake.
“We just support each other, push each other, try to make (each other) better hockey players,” Markie said. “Both of us being captains makes it fun.”