, Salem, MA


January 21, 2013

Dominant defensive effort by unbeaten Beverly leaves Swampscott feeling Blue


“We attack them (on the PK) and don’t let them get comfortable,” said Gilligan. “We play an aggressive type of system. Our forwards, we stress to go right at them: don’t let them get comfortable. You could see a little panic on their part. They never set up.”

Lally, Doherty and linemate Jake Straw were phenomenal as the Panthers’ second line Saturday. After Hunt’s early marker, Straw absorbed a hit in his defensive zone but moved the puck up and out to Doherty in the neutral zone. Streaking down the right wing, Doherty let a quick wrister fly and the puck found its way just under Trent Gallagher’s glove to make the score 1-1.

Then, just before the end of the first period, Lally forced a Swampscott turnover at the blue line and fired the puck in deep. Moments later the rubber squirted out to junior defenseman Jack Morency at the right point, and he ripped a low hard slap shot that beat Gallagher through traffic for the eventual game-winner.

Lally, who is probably his team’s smallest skater, is a real hockey player’s hockey player and the Panthers’ hardest working forward in the corners. Doherty, meanwhile, has emerged as an elite finisher who is a dangerous scoring presence on Beverly’s second line.

“(Lally) sticks his nose in there. He’s a coach’s dream; (he) does whatever you want and he’ll sacrifice (his body and take) the hits to get the puck in deep,” said Gilligan. “He’ll take hits left and right and comes up with the puck all the time. He’s been that way since I’ve had him.

“And Graham’s turned into a player. The skill level has always been there, and he’s really stepping up this year. He’s become a dominant player.”

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