It doesn’t always matter how many you score as much as when you score.
That fact wasn’t lost upon Matt Hamor, the Panther’s four-year starting defenseman and two-year captain. Popping in goals wasn’t his forte; popping opposing forwards and getting the puck out of his own end was. But when the lights were brightest, Hamor knew how to rip the twine at the other end of the ice.
After scoring just one regular season goal, the thickly-bearded Hamor doubled that total with tallies in both the North final and state final. He used an opposing blue liner as a screen and snapped home a shot from the right circle in the Panthers’ 9-1 North final demolition of Tewksbury; then, on Sunday night, he crashed the net, positioned himself at the far post and jammed in Nick Albano’s rebound shot for a power play goal in the second period.
If this is indeed the end of the road for junior netminder Tim Birarelli — it’s likely he’ll attend a prep school in the fall and repeat his junior year — then the future Division 1 college keeper will have posted the best numbers between the pipes in Panther history.
Consider: Birarelli has gone 46-7-3 in his varsity career a 1.53 GAA, a .921 save percentage and 14 shutouts. He holds the Beverly High record for most wins in a season (20), lowest goals-against (0.99 ,as a sophomore), highest save percentage (.943, again as a sophomore), most shutouts in a season (7), career wins, career GAA, career save percentage and career shutouts. He did not lose a home game over the final two seasons.
Looking at strictly the past two seasons, Birarelli’s numbers are even more eye-popping: 34-2-2, 1.15 GAA, .935 save percentage and a dozen shutouts.
Folks, that right there is the greatest goaltender to ever don the Orange-and-Black.