Beverly will now face Lincoln-Sudbury in the Division 2 North semifinals Monday at the Chelmsford Forum (time TBA). The fourth-seeded Warriors (13-2-5) defeated Winthrop last night, 2-1.
"They're a really good playoff team. They just bring it," Irving said of Danvers. "They matched our intensity the entire way. The biggest thing for us was not getting frustrated; it was all positives on the bench and guys believing we'd find a way to get it done."
Danvers head coach Kevin Brown, whose club knocked off top-seeded Beverly in the quarterfinals a year ago, said while the ending was difficult, the overall effort from his players was to be lauded.
"I'm just proud of who we were tonight," said Brown. "We played with a purpose, our leaders stepped up and every one of our players left everything they had on the ice."
Cahill got the underdog Falcons on the scoreboard first, beating Birarelli far post just 3:14 into the game for his third goal of the season. Linemate James Curley (who was wearing a 1920s style bowler hat before the game) earned the assist.
But Beverly responded immediately as Irving ripped twine for the 17th time this winter. Taking a pass from left wing Ryan Santo, he bore down on Taylor and beat him cleanly to tie the score. It was the 187th point of Irving’s BHS career.
For the rest of the first period and all of the second, the Falcons stuck to their game plan of slowing the game down and hitting anything in an orange-and-cream-colored sweater any chance they got. Danvers dumped the puck whenever there was trouble, clogged passing lanes and made it a chore for Beverly to bring the puck through the neutral zone. Offensively, they were content to chip the puck out of their zone and pick their spots to make a rush offensively, looking for odd-man rushes.