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August 30, 2013

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

(Continued)

‘THE FULL HERB BROOKS’

The architect of the Danvers dynasty was its head coach, Kevin Flynn. A superstar defenseman during his own playing days at Matignon High and later Salem State, Flynn had made the Falcons into one of the best programs in Eastern Mass., a team that seemingly always had speed, skill, snarl and a winner’s mentality.

“Flynnie was a master motivator,” said Hayes, who remains the Falcons’ all-time leader in playoff scoring with 26 points. “He’d say, ‘If you play Danvers High hockey the right way, it shouldn’t matter who you’re playing. We never went into traps or different schemes; we did what worked for us all season.”

Assistants like Mike Clifford, Brian Thibodeau, Duke St. Pierre, Kevin Brown, Arthur Orechia and goalie coach Todd Lampert made a great team even better.

The season actually got off to a sluggish start for the Falcons, who tied Marblehead (3-3) and shockingly lost to Lynn English (3-1) before ripping off nine wins in their next 10 contests. They split with eventual Northeastern Conference champion Saugus and the team they tied for second place, Winthrop (winning both games on the road); they also gave Flynn his 200th win behind the DHS bench in a satisfying 6-1 win over arch rival Gloucester at Salem State on Feb. 17.

Danvers entered the Division 2 North state tournament at 13-4-3, the fifth seed in a 15-team field. But where they were slotted mattered little; by this point, there was only one thing that would ultimately satisfy the Falcons. “It would’ve been a disappointment if we didn’t win it all,” admitted McCullough. “We were a well-oiled machine by that point and would run over anyone that got in our way.”

The Falcons got used to wearing their blue road uniforms in the playoffs; four of their five postseason victories that winter came against squads that had both better records and higher seeds than they did.

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