SAUGUS — Getting off to a slow start had been a bit of a problem for the Danvers High hockey team in the early part of this season.
But Saturday night at the Kasabuski Arena, they made absolutely certain that wouldn’t be the case.
The Falcons rectified that problem by scoring four goals in the first period, adding three more in the middle stanza and blowing out host Saugus, 8-1, to remain perfect on the season at 4-0.
The all-senior first line of captains Joe Strangie (his first hat trick of the season) and A.J. Couto, along with right wing Adam Merry, did the bulk of the damage. Merry added two assists while Couto had one goal.
“That first unit played well,” said Danvers head coach Kevin Brown, whose team had scored four goals in each of its first three victories this season. “The opening period has been a little down for us, so that’s something we emphasized in practice the last couple of days. It’s so important to get out to a fast start, and it was nice to see the kids respond the way they did.
“We’ve been a third period team, but that’s something you don’t want to do.”
Graduation hit the Sachems (who reached the Division 2 North semifinals a year ago) hard; the young squad has five freshmen and seven sophomores on its roster. They were no match for the veteran Falcons, who completely dominated play. Saugus (0-2) had trouble moving the puck out of its end, and couldn’t mount much of an offensive attack unless Danvers was killing penalties.
Tyler Dustin put Danvers on the board with less than five minutes gone when he jammed a rebound past goalie David Aiken. The Falcons continued to swarm around the net and less than a minute later Strangie took a pass from Merry and deposited the puck in the back of the net.