SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

Sports

March 5, 2013

Early scoring, focused effort puts Danvers in first North final since 2005 (With Photo Slideshow)

NORTH BILLERICA — The star players are shining. The role players are rolling.

And the wins? They just keep on comin’.

Continuing their improbable run through the Division 2 North state tournament, the Falcons jumped out to a big lead early and were in complete command throughout, toppling Concord-Carlisle, 5-3, in a North semifinal last night at the Chelmsford Forum.

“Everything is working for us right now,” said senior right wing Rob Buchanan, who got the scoring started last night with a wrister from the slot just 39 seconds in. “All the lines are working really well and everyone is on the same page.”

Now, for the first time since 2005, the Falcons (13-6-4) find themselves in the Division 2 North final, one win away from playing for the state championship at TD Garden in Boston. Danvers, the No. 8 seed, will meet third-seeded Wilmington (19-3-2) for the North championship next Monday at the Tsongas Center in Lowell (time TBA). Wilmington, which defeated Lincoln-Sudbury in last night’s other semifinal (6-0), is the defending Division 2 state champion.

“We said all season that we wanted to be playing our best hockey at the end of the year — and we are,” sophomore goalie Alex Taylor (24 saves) said.

With another dominant effort out of its first line of left wing A.J. Couto (2 goals, assist), captain Joe Strangie at center (1 goal, 2 assists) and Buchanan (goal, assist) on the right side, Danvers dictated the flow of this game for the better part of two periods, then locked it down after Concord-Carlisle scored an early third period goal to cut their deficit to two.

Finding the scoring touch that at times during the season ebbed and flowed, the Falcons have connected for 18 goals in three postseason games, a dozen of those coming from Couto (8), Buchanan (3) and Strangie. They have yet to trail in 135 minutes of playoff hockey, either.

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