By Matt Jenkins
---- — BEVERLY — The rivalry between the Marblehead and Beverly High boys lacrosse teams went to another level yesterday afternoon.
The Panthers ran off an eight-goal spurt to deal their Northeastern Conference foes a 12-6 loss in a game that featured a pair of ejections because of a third-quarter fight that broke out after a hard hit.
As Beverly was in the middle of a goal-scoring spree that turned a 5-4 deficit into a 12-5 advantage, a check delivered by Beverly senior Dave Rollins drew both a flag — and retaliation — from Marblehead.
Some pushing and shoving eventually led to a skirmish. When order was restored, Rollins and Marblehead’s Dean Fader were ejected for throwing punches and Beverly defenseman Andrew Irving was assessed an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty.
Rollins and Fader will be suspended for the next two games as a result.
“It was a huge hit (by Rollins). I don’t think it was malicious. It wasn’t a dirty hit or anything; it was just big and he got a penalty,” Beverly (3-0) head coach John Pynchon said. “Their kid got into it with one of our guys, and I think everyone was trying to break it up. But they said those two guys threw punches, so they’re out.”
Pynchon chalked up the extracurricular activity to the constantly bubbling emotions of this rivalry.
“We had our best two days of practice on Sunday and Monday getting ready for this game,” Pynchon said. “Across all sports — hockey, basketball, football, soccer — it’s a great rivalry between Beverly and Marblehead. These guys we bring in from other sports, they know and they’re ready to go; same with their guys. How many games have (Ian) Maag and (Brendan) Flaherty gone head-to-head in their career? Same with Dom (Abate). We know them really well and they know us really well.”
The scuffle did nothing to slow down Beverly’s run ... and it didn’t spark Marblehead’s play.
“That didn’t help things at all,” Marblehead (1-3) coach John Wilkens said. “It gets you out of sorts. It’s frustrating, but the sun will rise. We’ve got a good bunch of guys. They’re going to come back and work hard.”
The two teams basically had matching goal-scoring runs through the first two quarters. Beverly started out with the first three goals (2 by senior Ryan Shipp), but Marblehead answered with three of its own, with two coming from Maag.
Nick Albano gave Beverly a 4-3 lead with 16 seconds remaining in the first quarter, but Marblehead scored the first two goals of the second quarter to take its only lead at 5-4.
Albano and Abate each scored before the half to ignite the Panthers’ eight-goal run.
“We played sloppy, bottom line,” Wilkens said. “It’s our Achilles’ heel: unforced errors. I’ve been saying it all year. We went out and did it in the second half, and it’s what kills us. We’re beating ourselves and just gotta correct a few things.”
Beverly scored the first six goals of the second half before Maag recorded his third goal of the game to stop the streak. At that point, the game was already well out of reach for Marblehead.
Albano led Beverly with three goals and one assist and Shipp had two goals and two assists. Abate and Flaherty each had two goals, Matt Paige contributed one goal and one assist, and Conor Leahy and Bryan Flaherty both scored once.
Maag had three goals and an assist for the Magicians while Brooks Tyrrell and Trevor Jones each had one goal and one assist. Brad Knittle also scored for Marblehead.
“I gotta give their goalie (Nathan Maselek) a ton of credit. He made some amazing saves on us ... but I think we stuck with our game plan,” Pynchon said. “We didn’t do that against Hamilton-Wenham (in a 5-4 win last week to open the season); we got all freaked out. (Yesterday) I think we stuck with it. It was 5-5 and we knew that we had to make some adjustments on our offensive and defensive end. The adjustments we made, we stuck with them.”