By Phil Stacey
---- — SALEM — If it works for Jay Calcagno, it works for the Danvers Falcons.
“I shaved off my chest hair (recently) and I thought it would make me faster,” said the red-headed Calcagno, whose two goals helped Danvers knock off their rivals from Gloucester, 4-1, Saturday on Senior Night at the Rockett Arena. “And it worked; I started putting the puck in the net more at practice, and I’m playing better in the games, too.”
It certainly worked for the third line winger on Saturday, whose fourth and fifth goals of the season drew the Falcons (now 8-4-3) to within one point of qualifying for the state tournament for the 24th time in the last 25 seasons.
“I know (team captains) Joe (Strangie), Rob (Buchanan) and the seniors, they all dedicate their offseason to (facing) this team,” Calcagno said of playing the Fishermen.
“So I just went out there and ripped up some cheese for them.”
Both of Calcagno’s goals came in the first period, in which Danvers shot out to a 3-0 lead and was never seriously in trouble from that point on.
He took a nice feed from linemate Trevor Daly from behind the net and put a wrist shot through traffic that beat Gloucester (6-7-1) goaltender Owen Parisi. “I was just trying to maybe hit a skate and keep the puck low,” said Calcagno, who turned 17 last month. “Glad it went in.”
His second tally of the contest, in which he buried a Mike Disciullo pass, was a wrister that gave the Falcons a 3-0 edge. Captain Kevin Hodgkins assisted on both of those goals.
Calcagno is not only linemates with Daly and Hodgkins, but also said they’ve been best friends for as long as he can remember. “We have great chemistry together,” he noted.
“Jay’s got a pretty good motor. He’s a real character,” said Danvers head coach Kevin Brown, whose team got goals from all three of its top lines (Black, Red and Gold). “He’s physically fit and his energy is high. Jay’s also got good hands, and he has fun with the game. He’s willing to put in the time to get the job done, and by doing that he has that fun.
“That Gold Line not only got two goals, but really did a great job of forechecking and creating several other scoring chances for themselves. They played great.”
Sophomore goaltender Alex Taylor needed to make just 13 saves for the victory; he was denied a shutout when Gloucester’s Alex Webb beat him on the power play with 7:12 to go. His best save of the game came with the Falcons holding onto that 3-1 lead, flashing out his left skate to deny the Fishermen’s Casey Noyes coming down the slot with 4:15 remaining.
Senior center Adam Merry iced the game soon after, connecting on a pretty wraparound with 2:34 left that Parisi never saw.
“We set the tempo of the game with that first period. We capitalized on our opportunities and played physical,” noted Brown, whose team can punch its postseason ticket with a home win over Saugus this Wednesday (5 p.m.). “We put a lot of pressure on (Gloucester), and while I’d like to see us play smarter and stay out of the (penalty) box more often, overall we’re happy with the win.”