SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

Sports

April 5, 2014

McFarland strikes in double OT as Panthers knock off Generals

BEVERLY — It was a planned plan that played out perfectly for the Panthers.

Teammates mobbed Beverly High senior midfielder Rick McFarland after his double overtime goal gave the hosts a 6-5 victory over Hamilton-Wenham yesterday afternoon.

McFarland ended a 13-minute scoring drought after Hamilton-Wenham’s Matt Curran tied the game at 5-5 with 6:53 remaining in the fourth quarter. Defense and goaltending were outstanding for both teams.

The Panthers (1-1) started the first four minute overtime with a Hamilton-Wenham player serving a penalty, but couldn’t capitalize. McFarland ended the game with just under two minutes remaining in the second OT on a very chilly afternoon.

“That’s the biggest goal of my life,” McFarland said. “Coach (John) Pynchon set the play up for me to take the shot, and I just let it go.

“(Hamilton-Wenham goaltender Grant) Thompson is one of my good friends, and he’s a very good goalie. It’s tough to beat him.”

Thompson had 14 saves for the Generals, denying the Panthers from point-blank range many times. At the other end of the field, Kevin Lally of Beverly was also solid with 11 stops.

“This was a tough game. We had to overcome adversity, but when Rick was able to stick that thing to win it ... it might just be the spark to get us going,” said Pynchon. “It was a great finish to an ugly lacrosse game. McFarland has been working very hard in practice, and it’s paying off.”

The Generals (now 0-2) had a 3-1 lead at halftime and didn’t allow Beverly to go ahead until there were seven minutes remaining, when Nick Donovan beat Thompson with a wicked sidearm shot. But it took only 18 seconds for Curran to tie it up at the other end.

“This was a hard one to lose,” said first year Hamilton-Wenham head coach Josh Wedge. “Beverly is always a tough opponent. We got beat up in our first game (a 14-3 loss to Cohasset), and we’ve only been outside twice to practice. We will get better with each game.”

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