“Connor’s always had good instincts; he got those from his father,” said Gilligan, whose team has outscored its foes 66-17 so far this winter. “He’s also an extremely intelligent player and knows where to be, where other guys should be, and sees plays develop before they actually do.”
Missing two of their regulars — junior center Sean Lundergan and top-4 defenseman Jon Milne, a senior — the Falcons (6-8) were hurting in the depth department Saturday as their top defense pairing of Steven Ganley and Ryan Cassidy were forced to play major minutes, as were the team’s top two lines. A deeper, faster Beverly squad simply wore them down, although to the Falcons’ credit they picked it up and played their best period in the third, refusing to back down even for a shift.
Junior forward Kyle Cahill, one of Danvers’ better all-around players on Saturday, was rewarded for his hard work on a third period shift by knocking home his second goal of the season, with Trevor Daly and Ryan Buchanan assisting. Earlier, the team’s three captains combined to score as Matt Flynn jammed in a shot at the near post to cut the Falcons’ deficit at the time to 2-1, with Kevin Hodgkins and Jay Calcagno earning helpers.
“The goal against Beverly is to make it tough and try to slow them down. But they took it to us in the second period; that’s where they took the game over,” said Danvers Kevin Brown, whose team needs eight points in its final six games to qualify for postseason play.
“I’ve seen a lot of really talented players over the years, and Irving’s right there. It starts with his speed and he’s got a nose for the puck — and he’s really dangerous when he’s out there and they’re a man down. He’s someone who’s earned every point he’s gotten.”
Eighth-grader goaltender Yegor Bulblik got in for the final 1:08 for Danvers, replacing starter Alex Taylor and stopping the only shot that came his way.
CONNOR IRVING YEAR-BY-YEAR Season G-A-Pts. 2010-11 11-27-38 2011-12 24-34-58 2012-13 15-30-45 *2013-14 14-18-32 TOTALS 64-109-173 * -- So far this season