, Salem, MA

December 16, 2013

Danvers hockey wins home opener

By Phil Stacey
Sports editor

---- — SALEM – They’re mostly going to be ugly, unsightly and unattractive.

But if that’s the best method for the Danvers High hockey team to score goals this season, then you better believe the Falcons will consider them beautiful works of art every time the red light flashes behind an opposing netminder.

Getting a pair of special teams goals -- one on the power play, the other shorthanded -- in the second period proved to be enough as Danvers held off Winthrop, 3-2, in its season opener Saturday at the Rockett Arena.

“I was happy scoring three goals against that team,” opined Danvers head coach Kevin Brown. “Winthrop’s a real good team with strong defense and an all-star goalie.

“I told our guys after the game that everyone was part of this victory, whether you played one shift or a bunch. We’re all in this together, and that’s how it’s going to be for us all winter.”

Danvers’ three tallies Saturday came off of a goalmouth scrum, a power play rebound that popped out loose from the pack out front; and a smartly timed pick and breakaway backhand for a man-down score.

The last of those three goals was pretty; third line center Trevor Daly timed it perfectly where he cleanly stole the puck from a Winthrop player at the blue line, walked in alone on netminder Ray Feeley and tucked a backhand inside the near post. But the other two goals -- Kyle Cahill’s stuff-in shot to tie the game at 1-1 in the first, and junior defenseman Stephen Ganley’s slapshot off a rebound scramble from captain Jay Calcagno -- while not elegant, were the result of the same hard work that Brown has been preaching to his team since Day of practice.

“If you give good effort, good things will come. And I thought our guys gave a great effort,” said Brown.

“The intangibles you bring with you to the ice are as important, if not more important, than some of the statistics that’ll show up on the scoreboard. But it takes a little bit of work to make the scoreboard show up in your favor. Our guys believe in that.”

Junior netminder Alex Taylor, now in his second season as the Falcons’ main man between the pipes, was steady in making 18 saves for the win. He was rock solid when he had to be; with about six minutes to play he quickly shot across the crease, going left to right, and denied Johnny Orlando’s point-blank bid on the doorstep with a glove stop. Then, with 12 seconds to go, he stopped back-to-back bids from Winthrop captain Chris Page on the doorstep.

“AT was AT,” Brown said of Taylor, who finished with 18 saves (same as Feeley). “That stop on (Orlando) was terrific.”

The visiting Vikings, whose goals came from Page (1st period) and Orlando (with 1:13 to go on the power play), had a chance to cut in Danvers’ lead when Daly was whistled off for a 4-minute major penalty (contact to the head) late in the second period. The man advantage carried over into the third, but Winthrop couldn’t get one by Taylor as the Falcons had as many blocked shots (4) during that time as shots allowed.

Senior defenseman Ryan Cassidy had a strong game for the Falcons, who take on Marblehead Wednesday (5:30 p.m.) back at Salem State.