HATHORNE — For a sixth-year varsity program, it might be fully correct to say this one was a program-defining win for the Essex Tech boys hockey staff.
Earlier than a full barn of just about 1,000 followers Wednesday evening on the Essex Sports activities Middle, junior defenseman Armani Sales space jumped into the play offensively and put dwelling a rebound with simply 43.2 seconds left in regulation, giving the unbeaten Hawks a 3-2 victory over Danvers Excessive.
“Firstly of the third interval, I heard my coach (Mark Leonard) say to certainly one of our gamers, ‘I believe you’re going to be a hero tonight’. Nicely, I heard that and needed to exit and be a hero myself,” mentioned Sales space, a 6-foot-3, 220-pound blueliner from Peabody. “So when the chance got here, I took it.
“To see the puck go in at that time, it was simply superb,” added Sales space. “You possibly can’t clarify it; you must expertise it.”
As certainly one of eight unbeaten boys hockey groups left within the state, Essex Tech (10-0-1) acquired 26 saves from senior captain Kyle Mahan in addition to an enormous aim from sophomore middle Brady Leonard that tied the competition, 2-2, late within the second interval.
“They discovered a method,” Mark Leonard mentioned of his squad after one of many largest wins in program historical past.
“Truthfully, I believe early on they have been little intimidated by the group; they hadn’t performed in entrance of 1 that massive earlier than. We have been coming off of an enormous, emotional win over Shawsheen (4-0), and I don’t suppose they have been prepared for Danvers, which is my fault. Plus, they acquired two fast targets.
“However then we settled down within the second interval and chipped away getting again into it. We killed off a 5-on-3, then acquired an unbelievable play by Chris Maher to get the puck off his backhand to forehand, get that shot off and Brady put within the rebound. We began believing proper there.”
Braedyn Oteri made 18 saves for Danvers, together with quite a few massive ones to maintain his staff within the lead for almost all of the primary two intervals. The Falcons went toe-to-toe with the hosts bodily and ate a variety of pucks whereas defending the entrance of their web.
“It was the way in which we just about anticipated it’d be: an in depth, well-played recreation between two good groups,” mentioned Danvers coach Kevin Fessette. “We knew that they had 4 traces who might play, actually good defensemen and nice goaltending. (Mahan) made just a few glove saves at instances the place I assumed we had nice scoring probabilities on, however he minimize down the angles shortly. and for us, Braedyn is getting extra assured and taking part in higher in consequence; he got here out once they might’ve had just a few probabilities off breakaways and made these stops.
“We performed higher tonight, however we will get higher from this on the whole,” he added. “As a coach, I want to ensure we study from what occurred, take the great out of it, and transfer on.”
The primary interval was performed at a frantic tempo, with each groups going up and down the ice and hitting no matter they may in a distinct coloured jersey.
Danvers, which held a 16-8 shot benefit within the body, acquired on the board simply 72 seconds in when senior Jack Flynn drove the online and, in site visitors, stuffed dwelling a rebound for an early lead.
The Hawks responded a bit of over two minutes later after Logan Casey feathered a good looking cross to a streaking Larry Graffeo, and the senior captain tucked in a backhand far submit with out breaking stride to knit issues up.
Falcons captain Trevor McNeill, in his second recreation again from damage, made his affect felt quickly thereafter. A turnover within the impartial zone allowed him to interrupt in alone on Mahan; he deked and put in a backhand glove aspect to offer his squad a 2-1 lead after quarter-hour.
“This was simply a tremendous alternative for our staff in opposition to an excellent Danvers program,” Sales space mentioned of the win. “It exhibits everybody what sort of program we actually are.”
Essex Tech 3, Danvers 2
at Essex Sports activities Middle, Hawthorne
Danvers 2 0 0 2
Essex Tech 1 1 1 3
First interval: D. Jack Flynn (Nathan Tibbetts, Bobby Joyce), 1:12; ET, Larry Graffeo (Logan Casey, Mason Sutcliffe), 3:48; D, Trevor McNeill (Liam Brooks, Seamus Cary), 6:46.
Second interval: ET, Brady Leonard (Chris Maher, Jaydan Vargas), 13:30.
Third interval: ET, Armani Sales space (Vargas, Leonard), 14:17.
Saves: D, Braedyn Oteri 18; ET, Kyle Mahan 26
Data: D, 5-4-2; ET, 10-0-1.
Contact Phil Stacey