By Nick Curcuru
---- — GLOUCESTER — Early in the season the Danvers hockey team has prided itself on being a third period team.
On Wednesday’s Northeastern Conference North tilt with Gloucester at the Talbot Rink, the Falcons once again proved to a be a third period team as they scored three goals and carried the play for the final 15 minutes breaking a deadlock and picking up a 4-2 win.
Gloucester falls to 0-1 with the loss in its season opener, Danvers improves to 3-0.
“I think our third periods have been our best all year and that’s what showed tonight,” Danvers head coach Kevin Brown said. “It’s nice to get a win against a hard working Gloucester team, they’re going to make some noise this year. But we have to get back to work and correct some of the mistakes we made early on tonight and continue to improve.”
Fishermen head coach Don Lowe was pleased with his young team’s effort in their season opener despite the loss. The Fishermen have three freshman and three sophomores seeing regular minutes, most seeing their first varsity minutes, and despite their youth, they were able to hang with a deep and experienced Danvers team over the first 30 minutes of play.
“I thought we worked really hard and played two good periods,” Lowe said. “We just have to work on turning the puck over in our own end. Danvers is a good, well coached team and I thought we played right with them for two periods. There were a lot of positives to take out of this game and there are some things we need to work on too.”
The difference in the contest ended up being the play of the Falcons first line of Joe Strangie, A.J. Couto and Adam Merry. The trio generated scoring opportunities every time they hit the ice and ended up notching three of Danvers’ four goals on the night with each scoring a goal.
“They have three really good players on that line,” Lowe said of the trio. “They’re tough to defend.”
The Falcons broke into the scoring column with 51 second to play in the first periods when Strangie jarred the puck away from the boards and found Merry in the slot who finished the job giving the Falcons a 1-0 lead after the first.
Gloucester, however, battled back in the second with the line of Alex Webb, Matt Lane and Casey Noyes generating the offensive scoring opportunities. Just over two and a half minutes into the second Webb knotted the score at 1-1 when he knocked in a rebound off a Lane shot after the pair turned in some nice work in front of and behind the Falcons goal.
The teams went into the third period knotted at 1-1 and with the Falcons holding a slim 17-14 shot advantage. But it was all Danvers in the final frame.
Just 1:25 into the third Rob Buchanan broke the 1-1 tie with a blast from the face-off dot.
“Rob has a great shot, one of the better shooters in the league and it was great to see him get on the board with a nice play tonight,” Brown said.
Danvers picked up what turned out to be the game winner 5:08 into the period when Strangie and Merry worked a 2-on-1. Merry hit Strangie for the goal and a 3-1 Falcons lead.
The Falcons would continue to see the better of the play in the third looking like the fresher team as the minutes ticked off the clock. But Gloucester was able to put one last scare into them with 5:11 left when freshman Alex Enes broke in behind the Falcons defense for a power play goal making it 3-2.
Danvers, however, put the game away just under 90 second later when Couto broke in all alone after a Gloucester turnover to cap the scoring at 4-2.
“(The first line) is a line with talent obviously,” Brown said. “It was a good effort from them tonight.”
Lowe credited the play of freshmen Enes, Eddie Mahoney and Steve Tettoni along with goalie Jesse Glidden (27 saves).
Gloucester will look to break into the win column Saturday when they travel to Winthrop (5:00 p.m.), while Danvers will look to make it four in a row on Saturday at Saugus (6:50 p.m.).
“We will regroup and look to Winthrop,” Lowe said. “We have a few things to work on but I think we will be in good shape if we have the same effort we did tonight.”
Danvers 4 Gloucester 2
At Dorothy Talbot Rink, Gloucester
Danvers 1 0 3| 4
Gloucester 0 1 1| 2
First Period: D, Adam Merry (Joe Strangie, A.J. Couto) 14:09.
Second Period: G, Alex Webb (Matt Lane, Casey Noyes) 2:33.
Third Period: D, Rob Buchanan (un.) 1:25; D, Strangie (Merry, Matt Discullo) 5:08; G, Alex Enes (Pete Mondello) ppg, 9:49; D, Couto (Merry, Strangie) 11:13.
Saves: D, Alex Taylor 17; G, Jesse Glidden 27.
Records: D, 3-0; G, 0-1.