By Dan Harrison
---- — BEVERLY — It’s a good thing the Beverly High boys lacrosse team could start fast in its North Shore Cup game yesterday against visiting Masconomet.
That’s because in the second half, the Chieftains came back with a fury.
After the Panthers shut Masconomet out in the first half and led by six goals at the break, the visitors found their footing. Time ran out on their furious comeback, however, as Beverly claimed its first North Shore Cup with a 12-10 victory.
Masconomet head coach Tom Cobb reignited one of the North Shore’s oldest lacrosse rivalries three years ago, and his Chieftains had won the past two meetings.
“It was a weird game,” said Beverly (16-4) coach John Pynchon. “They’re really good. In the first half I thought we made some great plays, and in the second half they made some great plays. It was really a tale of two halves.”
Matt Page (4 goals) and Brendan Flaherty (2 goals, 3 assists) pushed the issue early for the Panthers. Midfielders Flaherty and Dom Abate (goal, 2 assists) were getting a lot of attention from the Chieftain defenders, and Page was able to find the seams along the side of the crease and finish the opportunities provided to him by his midfielders and by fellow attackman Ryan Shipp (2 goals, 2 assists).
“(Page) made a lot of great plays and kept his feet moving,” noted Pynchon. “A lot of times he’s the beneficiary of Dom Abate, Brendan Flaherty and Ryan Shipp, their athletic ability and how they play.”
Masconomet (11-9) did have its opportunities in the first two quarters, but Panther keeper Kevin Lally (11 saves) made a few spectacular stops that proved crucial later in the game.
The Panther defense, led by senior Andrew Irving, was extremely vocal and effective in the first half, with smart stick checks and good slides that limited the Chieftains to mostly outside looks. In fact, seven of the 10 Masconomet goals were scored by midfielders, showing just how effective the Beverly long poles were against the visiting attackmen.
“I thought Andrew Irving had a great attitude, especially in the first half. He was really fired up,” explained Pynchon.
The Chieftain midfielders woke up in the second half and began to really push their offense. Beverly expanded its lead to 12-4 early in the fourth quarter with goals from Page, Shipp and Abate, but Masco scored the final six goals of the game to make things interesting.
“That was the best second half we’ve had all season. I think the whole team turned it around,” said Cobb. “But you can’t start slow against a team like Beverly and expect to win.”
Attacker Cam Jung scored both of his goals in man-up situations for the Chieftains when he was able to sneak around from X to the crease where both times, Harry Cwik passed him the ball and on each occasion, and Jung finished with a shot fading away from the cage.
Cwik (3 goals, 2 assists), Trevor Surette (2 goals) and Henry Behrens (2 goals, assist) played a frantic but effective brand of lacrosse in the fourth quarter, knowing their team would need to score in bunches and in a hurry to make a comeback.
Surette, a lefty, and Behrens, a righty, both took advantage of a few isolations to their strong sides. Cwik, meanwhile, scored both his markers in the fourth quarter.
The comeback wouldn’t have been possible without Masco faceoff guy Dylan Mann, however, who was playing in his first game back from injury after being sidelined for the last eight games. He was 13-for-17 on draws in the second half, which allowed the Chieftains to score and then regain possession without the ball ever getting to the dangerous Beverly midfield and attack.