Because the penalty on Feeley was a major, the goalie had to go to the penalty box and Winthrop’s Tommy DiBenedetto came on to play net. He stopped all five shots Beverly threw at him on the ensuing power play and Feeley (20 total saves) returned to the cage after his penalty time expired.
The score was tied 1-1 when the fracas occurred and it remained that way through two periods. Just 1:28 into the third stanza, Feeley came out of his crease to stop Beverly captain Connor Irving’s bid, but he couldn’t fully control the puck. Santo jammed it free and into the net for the winning goal.
Late in the third, Irving was issued a 4-minute major for slashing with just 4:13 to play. Beverly’s penalty killers — primarily Santo, Jesse McLaughlin, Straw, Kevin Lally, Sean Munzing, Matt Hamor and Nick Albano — did the job to hold Winthrop off. Junior netminder Tim Birarelli stopped Winthrop’s Chris Page on the side of the cage (”That thing looked in. He held the fort,” Gilligan said) and finished with 16 saves.
“With the minutes some of the kids played (because of penalties), those kills were good team efforts,” Gilligan said. “We had to juggle things a bit. At times we were down to just two defensemen.”
Straw broke in and scored a shorthanded goal with just 34 seconds left to ice the win for Beverly, which is 9-0 in NEC games this winter and a sterling 39-9-1 in conference play over the last four years.
After a tightly-checked but relatively disciplined scoreless first, Beverly junior Brendan Boyle opened the scoring early in the second. He redirected Morency’s shot from the point to put his team ahead, 1-0, just 39 seconds into the middle frame. Winthrop tied it when Page scored a power play goal 1:49 later.