Solid as a rock.
That may be the best way to describe Souhegan High School hockey defenseman and team captain Alex Maresco, both on and off the ice.
“He’s been a nice rock for us to lean on,” Souhegan coach Dan Belliveau said. “Overall, his game has been just tremendous, but like I said, he’s the rock we’ve been leaning on.”
The 5-foot-11, 210-pound Saber senior has had to shoulder a lot of leadership in the wake of some players opting not to return from last year’s Division III state championship team.
“It’s definitely fun to have a bigger role on this team, I needed to step up,” Maresco said. “I wanted to give the team a little leadership and help the team out where I can.”
And it’s been invaluable.
“He brings that uncanny level of maturity you don’t always get at the high school level,” Belliveau said. “The ability to work with and motivate the kids on a level they understand.”
Maresco said it’s fun working with the younger players.
“I enjoy it,” he said. “I like it. I’ve learned a lot from the captains I’ve had in the past. I’ve just tried to do my best to keep that going for the younger kids and teach them a little bit as well.”
The role seems to have fit him like a glove.
“A natural captain,” Belliveau said. “He’s shouldering this. He’s doing a fantastic job at a it. Everyone leans on him. He’s approachable. They come to him with questions, and he’ll answer it.”
As a defenseman? Belliveau feels he has few peers in Division III.
“He’s fantastic,” he said. “One of the best in the league, I think. Not many people get around him. You can’t really fool him on the odd man rushes. He knows how to play it well.”
Maresco says repetition and experience helps.
“I think every time you have a game, every time you have a practice, it just feels better,” he said. “I have a lot of confidence out there. I wanted to get more involved after we lost a bunch of players.”
Belliveau noticed that right away this season.
“Experience, he has that work ethic, he’s worked hard to get to where he is,” he said. “He was a big cog in that state championship last year.”
Where has he improved? In fundamentals, taking his defensive game to a new level with improved basics.
“His vision is one that really, really comes to mind,” Belliveau said. “Stepping up at the lines, not giving up the red line or the blue line, whatever our system is at the time. Realizing what’s coming at him and know what to do. He’s also improved on his passing – probably the bulk of that came from last season.”
Bellveau also said that Maresco is trying to shoot the puck more from the blue line, as the Sabers need their offense to come from a lot of different areas thanks to all the losses from a year ago. He has two goals and eight assists at last look.
“He’s in the top 25 (in Division III) in terms of goals and assists, and we expect even more,” Belliveau said. “And he’s been snakebit a few times, hitting some posts in the last couple of games. That’s something we have to work on a little bit more, get the puck back to the blue line.”
But Maresco still feels defense is the key.
“I consider myself a defensive defenseman out there,” he said. “I like to throw the body around, try to not get many shots on the goalie, just doing the best I can out there to get away from the net.”
He’s been playing hockey his whole life, from the youth level through high school.
He’d like to study business in college, but isn’t sure where that will take place yet. If there’s a chance to continue his hockey career he will; if not, he’ll “definitely” look into playing on the club level.
“We’ll see,” he said. “Right now, I’m just enjoying playing for this team. It’s great to be a part of this team.”
Not just a part, but a rock. More like a boulder.