The offense took advantage of its opportunities while the Beverly defense severely limited any chances the Witches had in front of keeper Kevin Lally, who made six first half saves before giving way to Ryan Hagerty. Ty Marks held the always dangerous Chad Coehlo in check while Andrew Irving, Mike Dooling and the Beverly midfielders were aggressive, but disciplined as a unit.
“We’ve been playing great team defense the last few games. We’ve been (giving up) under five goals since the Westford game,” noted Pynchon. “The whole defense really played well and they’ve really worked on it. It’s hard to run by us 1-on-1 and when we’re sliding it forces teams to move the ball.”
The unsung hero of the game and for much of the season was Conor Leahy, who is one of the Panthers top all-around players.
“He’s a guy who’s never going to show on the score sheet,” Pynchon said of Leahy. “But he does everything for us.”
There weren’t many highlights for Salem, which scored three of its four goals with the Beverly starters on the bench. Craig Denehy had a pair of markers with Coehlo and Mitchell Osgood contributing a goal each for the Witches.
The only area Salem didn’t get dominated in was on faceoffs thanks to a gritty performance from Matt Willson, who was visibly fighting through an injury just to take draws for Salem.