NORTH BILLERICA — Perseverance, it appears, most certainly does pay off.
Scoring three times in the final period, the Danvers High hockey team shook off an early two-goal deficit and scored a decisive victory in the Division 2 North hockey playoffs by knocking off Amesbury, 4-2, last night at the Chelmsford Forum.
Defenseman Jon Milne’s goal with 10:45 to go tied the game at 2-2 before captains Kevin Hodgkins and Matt Flynn each had unassisted goals in the final five minutes to give the eighth-seeded Falcons (11-9-1) a dramatic win.
“We stayed calm and kept after it,” is how head coach Kevin Brown explained his team’s comeback triumph. “We just wanted to keep after it; that’s been our attitude all season because we haven’t scored a ton of goals, so we do have to keep going and going.”
Getting a loose puck in the slot, Hodgkins turned a fired a wrist shot high over goalie Jake Harlow’s stick shoulder with 4:23 remaining, sending the Danvers fans into euphoria. Flynn (1 goal, 3 assists) connected on a wrist shot of his own out front 73 seconds later, ensured that victory would come for the Blue-and-White.
Alex Taylor, the junior goaltender who has played all but five minutes for Danvers this winter, made it stand up with 13 saves.
The victory for Danvers (11-9-1) sets up a rematch with Northeastern Conference archrival and top seed Beverly Friday night in Stoneham (7:45 p.m.) in the Division 2 North quarterfinals. A year ago, the Falcons pulled off one of the greatest upsets in program history by knocking off the top-seeded Panthers, 4-3, en route to an appearance in the Division 2 North final. Beverly (18-1-1) is once again the No. 1 seed in Division 2 North this winter and, having a first round bye, will be playing its first postseason game at that time.