GLOUCESTER — The Beverly boys hockey team has flexed its muscles time and again in the early stages of the season.
Last night’s 6-3 win over previously unbeaten Triton, however, was lessabout muscle and more about guts.
Beverly had a three goal lead in the Cape Ann Savings Bank Tournament opener and began the third period on the power play before Triton was penalized again giving the Panthers a 5-on-3. The Vikings killed the penalties and proceeded to light the lamp twice in the next three minutes before junior captain Connor Irving’s goal gave Beverly enough breathing room to escape with the win.
“This is first time (this season) we’ve played a team that’s put us back on our heels,” explained Beverly (4-0) head coach Bob Gilligan. “It might have been good for us. Not that (letting Triton back in the game) was good, but we had to play with some pressure on us and I thought the kids played well.”
The killed penalties gave Triton some much needed momentum. The Vikings were flat coming out in the first two periods and didn’t record a single shot on net in the first five minutes of either period.
A Jack Norton goal in the second gave the Vikes some life and after Beverly’s unsuccessful man-up opportunities to start the third, Kyle Hillick scored twice in short order.
“We challenged them to just go out and win the period and prove to ourselves that they (Beverly) are not this juggernaut that can overwhelm you,” said Triton head coach Drew Wile. “You can play with them if you make plays and go out there and man up 1-on-1. Kind of like basketball.”
Triton nearly climbed all the way back when a shot from the point ricochetted off a body and left Beverly keeper Tim Birarelli (19 saves) off balance with a tough play to make. The sophomore stopped the fluttering puck initially with his blocker once before using it again to swat the puck over the net.