BHS hockey Cam Cook and Jimmy O'Connell.jpg

Senior captain Cam Cook (left) had a goal and two assists for Beverly in its 5-1 win over Danvers Monday while goalie Jimmy O'Connell stopped 14 of 15 shots. 

BEVERLY -- The way that the Beverly High boys hockey team had expected to play all season finally came to fruition Monday night at Bourque Arena.

The Panthers displayed a strong forecheck and caused turnovers, which led to goals. They got strong team defense, limiting their foes to just 15 shots on goal. All five of their captains factored into the scoring, and as a squad they played with confidence and poise.

It resulted in a satisfying 5-1 victory for the Panthers over their rivals from Danvers, reversing a loss to these same Falcons less than three weeks earlier.

"There were some games earlier this year that got away from us in the third period ... that wasn't happening tonight," said senior captain Cam Cook, who paced the offense with a goal (which turned out to be the game-winner) and two assists. "Coach (Greg Fonzi) has been telling us to play each game from here on out like it's for the state title, to bring that intensity. Against one of our biggest rivals, we did that."

Junior goaltender Jimmy O'Connell, whose father David died unexpectedly last week at the too-young age of 59, played a strong game between the pipes to give Beverly (now 3-6) a much-needed victory. He was given a moment of silence before the game began, along with Teddy Balkind, the Connecticut high school player who died last week after an on-ice collision.

O'Connell was supported not only by his teammates, including the five-man defensive rotation of Matt Capachietti, Timmy Sullivan, Bobby Massa, Gavin Lawrence and alternate captain Jaxon Thomas, but also his coaches and many of the Panther fans in attendance ,who wore tiny maroon-and-gold bows and pins -- his father's favorite colors -- in support of the 17-year-old netminder.

"Those were his favorite colors, the same color as our garage, which he loved," said O'Connell. "I was thinking of my dad tonight ... this one was for him."

While Beverly played close to a full 45-minute game, the same could not be said of Danvers (now 5-3). The Falcons were coming off of an 11-day break between games, but first-year head coach Kevin Fessette refused to use that as an excuse.

Rather, Fessette said there were too many miscues -- many of which were caused by Beverly's tenacity -- that led to Monday's downfall.

"We were outworked tonight," said Fessette. "We were in bad position at times and had turnovers because of their hustle. 

"I thought we had a good week of practice leading up to this one; technical stuff I was hoping would get us ready for the game and make us better. But it didn't show, and that's my fault as coach It was my job to make sure we were ready ... and we weren't. That's on me."

Despite not getting the results they had wanted coming in, Fonzi felt his club had played well enough to win its previous three games, including on the road against a powerful Gloucester squad.

"It was great to see the boys put it all together tonight, a full 45-minute effort," said Fonzi. "We're getting better with our forecheck, our neutral zone work, and gaining confidence as a team. For us to win we have to use our skill but also grind it out, and the boys see that"

Captains D.J. Bachini (goal, assist) and Matt Mezza (power play rip from between the circles that led to a tip-in goal by Thomas) all factored into the scoring for Beverly, as did alternates Austin Bernard (goal, assist) and Thomas.

A strong forecheck by Cook ("their defenseman tried to step up on me, and I had enough space to block his attempt and take the puck) allowed him to dish off to an onrushing Bernard for a 1-0 Beverly lead five minutes in. Danvers sophomore Mike DeLisio's fourth goal of the year tied it with 10.6 seconds left in the opening stanza after a strong individual play by captain Aidan Lanphere set him up.

It was all Panthers from there, however. Cook took a stretch pass from Lawrence just as a Danvers power play ended, flew up the right wing boards and put a shot off of freshman goalie Brayden Holt (22 saves) and into the net.

"I've been trying to settle down when I get the puck along the boards and just do my thing," said Cook.

Less than three minutes later junior Aidan LeBlanc scored off a faceoff in the offensive zone, taking 3-4 whacks at it out front before knocking it in. Linemate Jeff Hallian earned the helper.

Danvers had four shots on O'Connell in the first 3:10 of the third period, but none thereafter. Before the final buzzer sounded, Thomas and Bachini scored man-up tallies for the convincing final score.

"A game like this is certainly a great morale booster for us," said O'Connell.

Fonzi praised the play of his 'Blue Line' (i.e., third trio) of sophomore Bradley McAlpine and seniors Jack Cameron and Rocco Orlandella, thrilled with the fact he could match them up against any of Danvers' lines with equal success. 

Fessette felt that both Lanphere and sophomore defenseman Brady Plaza turned in strong performances for the Falcons.

Beverly 5, Danvers 1

at Bourque Arena, Beverly



First period: B, Austin Bernard (Cam Cook), 5:18; D, Mike DiLisio (Aidan Lanphere), 14:49.

Second period: B, Cook (Gavin Lawrence, Bernard), 3:19; B, Aidan LeBlanc (Jeff Hallinan, D.J. Bachini), 6:05.

Third period: B, Jaxon Thomas (Matt Mezza, Cook), ppg, 10:20; B, Bachini (LeBlanc, Tim Sullivan), ppg, 14:49.

Saves: D, Brayden Holt 22; B, Jimmy O'Connell 14.

Records: D, 5-3; B, 3-6.

Contact Phil Stacey


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