SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

Sports

May 2, 2014

Vallette’s OT goal helps Beverly survive Gloucester’s upset bid

BEVERLY — They call him ‘Doc’, and yesterday he helped his Beverly High lacrosse team make the final stitch to sew up a victory against upset-minded Gloucester.

Junior Chris Vallette — starting on varsity for the first time — converted a feed from Jordan Rawding 2:35 into overtime to help the Panthers stave off their rivals from Cape Ann, 7-6.

Playing without its top two scorers, injured Matt Page and Nick Albano, and its third starting attackman, Hunter Spencer, limited due to his own injury, the Panthers still shot out to a four-goal lead before the Fishermen mounted their comeback. Although Beverly never trailed, things got dicey when the visitors scored twice in the final 103 seconds, including the game-tying goal with just seven seconds left in regulation, before Vallette won it in OT.

“It was what it was today,” said Beverly head coach John Pynchon with a shrug. “We didn’t shoot very well ... (and when they did) their goalie (Ryan Belanger) made some really nice stops.

“Really nice play by Vallette, though. It was a case of the next man up doing the job. He did what we hadn’t been able to all day; beat the goalie. He took a nice feed from Jordy — and the biggest thing was he didn’t panic.”

Beverly (now 6-0 in the Northeastern Conference and 8-3 overall) had crushed the Fishermen in their first meeting, 15-3, and may have been expecting a similar result yesterday, especially with a big non-league title against Wayland at home today. “It was a classic trap game,” admitted Pynchon.

Early on, the Orange-and-Black didn’t have much trouble doing what they wanted to do. Rawding (who finished with 3 goals), Nick Donovan and Spencer all scored in the first quarter, the last of those coming with two seconds to go. On top of that, captain Kevin Lally (10 saves) seemed to be on top of his game in the goal mouth.

When Rawding scored again 3:39 into the second quarter to give the Panthers a 4-0 lead, it seemed as though another victory was imminent.

Gloucester (4-9), however, had other ideas. The Fishermen stuck to their game plan, made the necessary in-game adjustments and refused to fold. Senior captain Ian Kennedy and Winslow Lewis found the back of the net before halftime, making it 4-2. When Erwin converted a Jon Curcuru pass midway through the third quarter, it was all of a sudden 4-3.

“This was our best game in terms of making in-game adjustments and carrying them out,” said Gloucester head coach Dylan Morrissey. “We were able to execute our assignments much better, especially as the game went on. Defensively we got more help and offensively, we weren’t sitting

 Clinton Cabral gave Beverly its two-goal lead back (5-3) before the end of the third quarter, but Kennedy’s second tally early in the fourth quarter made it 5-4. Again the Panthers responded on a Sam Abate-to-Rawding feed, coming with 3:58 to play. But Cormac Flickinger scored for Gloucester with 1:43 to go, and Kennedy fought off some terrific defensive work by Beverly’s Ty Martz behind the net, spun out front and fired a shot home with seven seconds left in regulation for a 6-6 stalemate.

But the hosts controlled possession in the extra session, worked it around the Gloucester perimeter for the shot they wanted and watched it transpire when Rawding drew a defender towards him, found a cutting Vallette and watched as he beat Belanger cleanly.

Pynchon praised the strong and steady play of Ewan Sellars, a sophomore attackman who was called up from junior varsity practice Wednesday afternoon and inserted into the varsity lineup for the first time yesterday.

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