, Salem, MA


August 30, 2013

Fantasy Matchups: Blades of Steel State champion hockey squads Danvers, Marblehead would be an epic ice battle


They were sometimes called the Flying Falcons, but that moniker could’ve just as easily been the Physical Falcons; there wasn’t a set of boards that an opponent couldn’t be driven into.

“You could throw the puck in the corner, “Hayes remembered, “and Bryan would mop someone up, Kyle had all the speed in the world and I’d put it away when I had the chance out front.”

It was a mistake when teams overlooked the Falcons’ second line, with dangerous Matt Gotts centering Valentine and junior Justin Dube. “Gottsy didn’t get the credit he deserved. He could really put the puck in the net,” said Hayes. Richardson, along with sophomores Paul Citroni and Chris Gaffney, saw the bulk of time on the checking unit.

The 6-foot, 200-pound McCormick, who opted to play junior hockey as an 11th grader, decided to rejoin the Falcons in 2000-01 and it proved huge; he not only was a heady player, but a terrific skater and could contribute offensively and play lockdown D.

“The first game he played, you could tell he was a beast,” said Hayes. “He had a heavy shot and a mean streak; he had no problems clearing the front of net and wasn’t afraid to take a penalty.”

Sophomore Jeff Bettencourt became a major minute muncher that season while skating with McCormick; he too knew how to use body positioning to deliver a big hit and swing momentum in the Falcons’ favor. Junior Chris Horn, sophomores Billy Langmaid and Chris Manley and O’Keefe, the senior captain, completed this tight D-man unit.

But it was Bevan who was, said Hayes, “the absolute glue of the team.” Fiery as he was focused, Bevan was usually the most vocal Falcon and didn’t lose any of his non-stop energy once he hit the ice. He and Hayes were the team jokesters who kept their teammates loose and relaxed.

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