By Matt Jenkins
---- — MARBLEHEAD — For years, two dates in 2009 carried a little extra meaning for the Marblehead High boys lacrosse team — April 13 and May 15.
Yesterday at Piper Field, the Magicians wiped away the significance of those days with a 5-4 victory over Northeastern Conference rival Beverly that ended an eight-game losing streak against the Panthers.
April 13, 2009 was the previous Marblehead victory in the series, and May 15 was the day Beverly’s dominance began.
Yesterday, Trevor Jones and a seemingly impenetrable zone defense that protected sophomore goalie Nathan Maselek’s crease were the main reasons why the Panthers’ run over Marblehead didn’t reach nine games.
Jones went on a four-goal run of his own between the third and fourth quarters to erase what had been a two-goal deficit while simultaneously breaking the seal on the game’s offense.
Marblehead’s top two scorers — Ian Maag and Brooks Tyrrell — were in the lineup, but nursing injuries.
“We were seeing who was going to step up,” Marblehead (8-3) coach John Wilkens said after his squad won its seventh straight game. “Jones stepped up with a couple nice goals there on the wing; that’s what it takes. It’s a momentum shift. You get a couple goals and guys get going.”
Beverly (9-2) led 1-0 at the half on a first-quarter goal from Matt Page. The Panthers increased their lead to 2-0 with just a shade over four minutes left in the third quarter when Brendan Flaherty followed his own shot and put home the rebound.
That’s when Jones stepped in.
After Marblehead went scoreless for 34 minutes and 34 seconds, No. 7 ripped a shot past Beverly goalie Kevin Lally from the perimeter. Then, Jones scored two more goals in the final minute of the third quarter as Marblehead took the lead — for good.
“I actually have no idea how he did that,” said Marblehead junior Trevor Gelineau, who did an excellent job on faceoffs. “He’s a great player and works hard in practice. You always see him doing his crease moves ... and it pays off.”
Jones scored his fourth goal with 7:23 left for a 4-2 advantage, and Maag dodged a Beverly defender and deposited his only goal for a 5-2 lead with just 3:30 to go.
“We had two mental breakdowns,” said Beverly coach John Pynchon. “We subbed off with 25 seconds left when we should have just got in the hole, sucked it up and played defense. We subbed off giving them a 4-on-3 advantage (for Jones’ third goal) and I think he scored in man down.”
The Panthers didn’t go away down the stretch. Ryan Shipp cut it back to 5-3 with 3:10 to play and Nick Albano scored on a feed from Dom Abate with only seven seconds left. Beverly quickly won the ensuing faceoff and called timeout to regroup, but Flaherty’s break to the goal in the final five seconds didn’t produce a legitimate shot.
“They just sit in that zone and the kid (Maselek) does a really good job in goal,” Pynchon said. “We knew it was going to be tight, (but) didn’t finish our shots.
“I thought our defense played outstanding. I don’t think they scored on us in a settled situation. We had a breakdown with five minutes left and started pressing.”
Jones, Gelineau and senior midfielder Zac Cuzner were the players of the game for Marblehead, each sharing the team’s Hard Hat award after the game. Maselek and Lally each stood out in net.
“They’re a great team with tremendous athletes. We put in a zone and the guys ran it well,” said Wilkens. “It’s not rocket science; we just kept it simple and did the right things. We moved our feet and did the simple things, like scoop ground balls.”