"Teddy filled in a big void for us in the offensive end," said Gilligan.
The Panthers’ checking line of Lally with wings Jake Straw and J.J. Bachini are normally matched up against their opponents’ top scoring line, but last night it was the Ryan Santo-Irving-MacLaughlin trio given that task. That trio not only did their jobs defensively but also wore down the Warriors’ Conor Lewis-Matt Jacobs-Eric Holden unit by forcing them to spend so much time in their own zone defending a constant Beverly barrage.
"It was probably our best forechecking game of the season," Lally acknowledged. "We really went after it."
Irving and the Panthers picked up right where they left off in the second period, adding to their lead just 19 seconds in. The senior centerman, who was robbed by an Ashe glove save right after the faceoff to begin the frame, got the better of the netminder seconds later when he tipped an Albano blast into the twine for a 4-1 advantage.
Capping off a brilliant night, Albano broke into the L-S zone on a 2-on-1 break with Leathersich on the left side and fed the junior winger with a perfect pass for a tap-in goal, making it 5-1 for the Garden City boys.
"This feels great, to be honest," said Albano, who now has 40 points on the season. "Now we can just go out and play our game and put all that other stuff (i.e., first round playoff losses the last two seasons) behind us."
Beverly 5, Lincoln-Sudbury 1
at Chelsmford Forum
Lincoln-Sudbury: 1 0 0 — 1
Beverly: 3 1 1 — 5
First period: LS, Myles Cohen (Ryan Dale, Matt Caso), :59; B, Brenden Boyle (Graham Doherty, Nick Albano), 5:00; B, Kevin Lally (Albano, Matt Hamor), 5:15; B, Connor Irving (Teddy Leathersich, Albano), 10:31;
Second Period: B, Irving (Albano), :19.
Third Period: B, Leathersich (Albano),
Saves: B, Tim Birarelli 18; LS, Derek Ashe 20, Justin Koulalis 10.
Records: B, 20-1-1; LS, 13-4-5