, Salem, MA


March 13, 2014

Secretaries of defense

Beverly foursome giving opponents the blues on the blue line


Matt Hamor’s mentality of chasing the title for both his teammates and his town exemplifies Beverly.

“It’s our last chance and it feels great to be going to the Garden,” he said. “I feel really lucky to be able to do something my brother couldn’t do. I’m sure we’ll be talking about it this week.”

A mobile defender, Hamor is adept at pokechecking to take the puck away from the other team. That’s true of Munzing, Albano and Morency as well; they’re all good at puck management and are even better at covering up for one another on the occasional turnover.

“They’re great at blocking shots. They eat up everything so I never have to worry about the front of the net,” said Birarelli. “Those guys make sure I can see everything.”

Knowing the strengths and tendencies of their defensive partners, and their goaltender, has developed over time for Beverly.

“It’s been really good,” Birarelli said. “My first year we just started talking, and we knew we’d get the feel for it. By the end of that year we had a great understanding and it’s gotten better and better every year.”

‘Our last shot’

Any one of the defensemen is capable of delivering an open ice hit, though Morency seems to have the knack for bringing the Orange-and-Black crowd to its feet with the most frequency. “Jack is an intimidator. He drops one kid and that’s it for the rest of the game. No one comes near the crease again,” Birarelli said.

“We love to make those hits that get the crowd going,” said Hamor. “We play the body, throw the puck in the zone and we know that’s going to work for us. And, if we can get it to Nick, we know he’s going to make a play.”

Not unlike the bodychecks they finish in the neutral zone, Beverly is intent on finishing Sunday night at TD Garden. They’re one game from immortality, and they’re not taking it lightly.

“If our guys are doing good, as a group, we’re happy,” said Hamor. “This is our last shot at it and we’re going to leave it all out there.”




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