Yesterday’s clash between two of the top teams in Bay State girls hockey could be the ultimate litmus test of whether you’re a glass half-full sports fan ... or the glass half-empty type.
Beverly and Duxbury left the ice with a hard-fought 2-2 tie. The half-empty folks might be disappointed that the Panthers (10-1-1) lost a 2-0 lead with five minutes to play, but the optimists had to be happy to see the Orange-and-Black skate with the defending Division 2 state champions, who’ve moved up to D-1 this winter and are arguably the state’s best team at 8-0-3.
“We’ll take it. Overall, it was a very good effort,” said Beverly coach Brian Seabury. “Duxbury is deep, strong and fast, and this game didn’t do much to change my opinion that they might be the best in the state.
“To shut them out for 40 minutes was great, but we would’ve liked to have finished.”
The Panthers grabbed the lead with two quick strikes in the first period. Defenseman Caitlin McBride opened the scoring assisted by Anna O’Neill, and 47 seconds later Kristen McCarthy made it 2-0 assisted by Nicole Woods and Julia Nearis.
Beverly had a chance to extend its lead with a man advantage early in third, but couldn’t convert.
The Dragons finally struck back with 4:56 to play, and tied the game with 3:43 left in the third. Duxbury then went on a power play looking to take the lead, but Beverly’s penalty killers came up with the kill.
“They came in hard and aggressive in the third, which we knew they would. We tried to stick to defense and play disciplined,” said Seabury.
“I thought out defensemen, McBride, Anna Hayden and Rachel Spencer, were terrific. Duxbury was a big, fast strong team and with all the minutes those three play, they did a really nice job. They kept them at bay for as long as they could.”
Beverly goaltender Madison Jalbert made 28 saves and had one of her stronger games in net.
The Panthers are back at it tomorrow when they face Northeastern Hockey League rival Winthrop in Gloucester, with the Vikings coming off an upset win over St. Mary’s over the weekend.
“The style of this game was different. It wasn’t up-and-down, wasn’t a run-and-go kind of game,” said Seabury. “It was a working-style game, one of those games you just want to grind out. We almost did, but we didn’t quite get all the way there.”