In the aftermath of their title-clinching victory, Gilligan and several of his players made sure to give respect to one of their biggest rivals, Danvers High. It was the Falcons who pushed Beverly to the limit in the North quarterfinals before the top-seeded Panthers prevailed, 2-1, in a shootout.
“My favorite part of the season was definitely beating Danvers. It (got) us over the hump,” senior left wing J.J. Bachini said.
“Through the year, we kept talking and taking it one game at a time. And after that Weymouth game (Beverly’s lone loss in the regular season finale), coach reiterated that we need to focus on the task at hand and to move on past the first round, beating our rivals and the last team to ruin our playoff hopes (from the previous season). It was the most satisfying and best part of the year — with winning the state championship right on its heels.”
Bachini said actually being able to refer to his team as ‘state champions’ hasn’t hit him entirely. “But it will hit us full force at our banquet and when we get our rings,” he said.
The career point totals of Beverly’s 10 graduating seniors:
Irving will leave BHS as the school’s all-time leader in assists (122) and points (196) to go along with 74 goals. He’s followed by fellow center Graham Doherty, who will take 42 goals, 34 assists and 76 points with him.
Right wing Jake Straw (25-25-50), left wing Ryan Santo (15-27-42), Hamor (13-23-36), center Kevin Lally (12-19-31), defenseman Jack Morency (4-19-23), J.J. Bachini (8-23-31) and captain Sean Munzing (0-16-16)
In addition, backup goaltender Bryce Mitchell was excellent when called upon over the last three seasons, going 8-2 with a 1.18 goals-against average, .929 save percentage and four shutouts.
The Panthers, who had a police escort when they got back to Beverly Sunday night, finished the season with 108 goals and allowed a mere 29; that +89 goal differential is far and away the best in program history.