“Marblehead is the type of team with players who are never going to back down or give up,” said Beverly head coach Bob Gilligan, whose team was outshot (31-28) for the first time this season. “They put a lot of pressure on us in the third and had us running around at the end. We needed Timmy to make some real big saves for us down the stretch.”
The biggest of those was left pad save on Marblehead senior captain Tom Koopman with 13.7 seconds to play; Koopman took a feed from his brother, sophomore Matt Koopman (2 goals) and went forehand-to-backhand out front, but Birarelli flashed his leg out and denied the chance.
“To hold that team to 28 shots, with a lot of those shots from the perimeter, says something about the way we played. And I thought (senior goaltender) Myles Barry had his best game of the year,” Marblehead (5-3) head coach Bobby Jackson said.
“However, we need a full 45-minute effort, and we didn’t play well in the second period. It seemed like when we made a mistake or didn’t play as hard as we can, bang! We gave up a goal.”
Tied at one after goals by defenseman Kyle Koopman for the hosts and winger Brenden Boyle for Beverly, the Headers started the second period on a 5-on-3 power play for 52 seconds. But they only put two shots on Birarelli without scoring, and four-and-a-half minutes in Irving and MacLaughlin worked some give-and-go passing that resulted in an Irving score from the slot.
“We didn’t process what we should have been processing (on the 2-man advantage),” said Jackson. “We were trying to do too much individual stuff.”
MacLaughlin then scored with 40 seconds to go before the second intermission, making it 3-1. “(Barry) was looking for a fastball but I gave him a circle change,” MacLaughlin said, using baseball paralance to describe his 5-hole goal.