“I think they’re a very different team when he does play. He can make a pretty serious impact,” Pynchon said. “Unless he’s really hurt I think he’s going to play. He’s a big competitor and I’m sure we’ll see him.”
Both coaches agree to some degree that the focus on this first meeting is more about their own respective team than the opponent.
“I think every coach is not necessarily unhappy with their team, but always looking for improvement,” Wilkens said. “With us, we’re constantly trying to continue to get in better shape. It’s stick work, stick work, stick work. Fundamentals, that’s where it starts and any game usually comes down to the basics. That’s what we’re always stressing.
“What we’re thinking now is that we’re two out of two in the conference and the next four are all conference games. We were able to have a little success in the conference last year and we want to continue that. We’re kind of in conference mode for the next two weeks.”
Wilkens has been pleased with the play of Ben Anderson at the faceoff X, as well as Dean Fader up front. Defenders Liam Gillis, Crandall Maxwell and Tommy Gabel have played well, and Nathan Maselek continues to shine in goal.
For Beverly, sophomore Sam Traicoff has been a pleasant surprise on defense and senior Zach Duguid has done well on faceoffs.
Both of these teams are only in the early stages of their growth, but the stakes always seem to be higher when they’re on the field together.
Overall, the series may favor Beverly, but the gap has closed considerably over the past few years.
The two teams split last year and in 2009 and they’ve had one-goal games in each of the last three years.