By Phil Stacey
---- — GLOUCESTER — Eight games, no goals. Danvers hockey captain Matt Flynn couldn’t figure out why he wasn’t putting the puck in the net.
“I was talking to all of the coaches about it, and they said ‘They’re going to come’,” said Flynn, a first line left winger. “I had the chances, but I just wasn’t finishing.”
Consider Flynn’s goal scoring problem officially solved.
The senior recorded his first varsity hat trick, scoring twice in the first period and once more in the opening seconds of the second as the Falcons ran away from Gloucester, 6-1, at the Dorothy Talbot Rink.
In winning its season high third straight game, Danvers (5-4) had big offensive nights from several of its veterans. In addition to Flynn’s trio of tallies, fellow captains Kevin Hodgkins (goal, 3 assists) and Jay Calcagno (goal, 2 assists) also lit up the scoresheet, while freshman Robert Tibbetts had a goal and an assist and defenseman Stephen Ganley chipped in with a pair of assists.
It was Flynn, though, whose relentless net drive last night was the prime catalyst for the Falcons offensively. At one point, he had seven of his team’s 15 shots on goal (the Falcons finished with 26) and almost scored his fourth goal on a 3-on-5 shorthanded breakaway.
“It’s a good feeling to do it here. If I could pick one place to do it, it’d probably be here,” Flynn said of the Talbot Rink. “I’ve seen a lot of games here, so it’s nice to finish my last game here with a hat trick.”
Head coach Kevin Brown said Flynn had played well in Monday afternoon’s win over Lynnfield and had a strong practice Tuesday, traits that carried over against the Fishermen.
“Certainly Matty’s been looking to get on the scoreboard. He’s done his job playing hard all year ... tonight was just a breakout night for him,” Brown said.
“He utilizes his speed and he has heart, too. He might not be the fastest guy, but he has determination and when the puck’s on his stick, he knows what to do with it. It’s a great night and a great memory down here for him.”
Another big factor for the Falcons was coming out strong to take the lead; the three goals they scored in the first period last night equaled the total they had in the first 15 minutes of their previous eight games combined.
“It was the first period we’ve needed all year ... and tonight we got it,” said Brown.
Flynn got the scoring started at 8:52 of the first period, going down the right side on his off wing before puting a shot in tight of Gloucester keeper Derek Morris’ glove hand. Morris caught the puck, but it was already over the line.
Immediately off the ensuing faceoff, Danvers struck again as Hodgkins buried a Flynn pass out front just 12 seconds later and a 2-0 lead. It swelled to 3-0 in the final minute of the opening stanza when Flynn tipped a point shot out front and past Morris.
Flynn didn’t waste any time turning his trick, beating Gloucester’s Owen Parisi 22 seconds into the middle period by converting a neutral zone turnover into a pretty backhand goal.
“Once I got the first one, they just started rolling,” Flynn said of his scoring outburst.
Gloucester (2-5) freshman Liam Lyons got his team on the scoresheet at 1:45 of the second, but the hosts couldn’t beat goaltender Alex Taylor (21 saves) again. Calcagno and Tibbetts added power play goals for Danvers in the third period to complete the scoring.
With 4:14 to play, eighth grade backup goalie Cam Libby relieved Taylor (the first time all season he had come out of a game) and made two saves, including racing out of his crease and diving to knock away a loose puck that Gloucester’s Brian Bos was trying to beat him to and knock into the net.