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Sports

March 1, 2014

Beverly prevails in shootout victory over gritty Danvers

(Continued)

"Our defensive philsophy was strong," said Brown.

But Beverly steadfastly refused to get drawn into a trap or take foolish penalties. Instead, it stuck to its own game plan of trying to use its speed along the walls, get the puck in deep and generate offense from there. 

Birarelli came up with a big save with three minutes to go in the middle stanza to keep it tied, darting left-to-right to deny Falcons’ freshman winger Robert Tibbetts on the doorstep.

For a moment it looked like Beverly took the lead at the tail end of an early third period power play, but Taylor spun around and gloved the puck before it crossed the goal line. Exactly a minute later, Hodgkins sprung himself free for a breakaway, but his deke and backhand bid were turned away by the right pad of Birarelli for his game’s biggest save.

Taylor was sublime in the third period, making a total of 18 saves. He helped turn aside two Beverly power plays (stopping a total of 6 shots on them) while his teammates blocked shot after shot.

"(Taylor) played out of his trees," ackwoledged his counterpart, Birarelli. "Some of those saves, I was like 'How did he get to that?'"

"When the game is bigger, Alex rises to the top," said Brown. "(Assistant) Coach (Kevin) McNeill told him earlier this week he was going to have the game of his life -- and he did. He should be proud of what he did."

Birarelli absolutely robbed Hodgkins three minutes into overtime after the former took a pass from behind the net and fired a one-timer from just outside the blue paint. But Birarelli didn’t panic, stayed square to the shot and turned it aside.

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