Sat, Feb 16, 2008
08:00 PM @
Danvers has no answer for Gloucester in shutout loss
Saturday, February, 16
By Phil Stacey
SALEM | Just five seconds into their contest Saturday night, Danvers High hockey captain Steve Kontos drilled Gloucester defenseman Nick DeCoste so hard that he actually knocked the rearguard off his skates and into the visiting team's penalty box.
You would have thought, based on the way Danvers has been playing recently, that it was going to be the Falcons' kind of night.
You would have been wrong.
Gloucester used a dominant second period to score three times and completely take away any chance the hosts had at winning, sucking the life out of them in a methodical 4-0 victory before the usual large fan bases from both schools at the Rockett Arena.
"It came down to who wanted it more, and that's where I have to give credit to Gloucester. They outworked us in a lot of aspects of the game," Danvers senior defenseman and captain Jake Korthas said honestly after the game.
"The little things that win games ... they did a lot more of those little things than we did. By the time we picked up our play in the third period, it was too late."
Gloucester swept its two-game season series with Danvers, outscoring them 7-1.
It was a disappointing loss for the Falcons (10-5-3) on a number of levels.
First, any time you wear a Blue-and-White sweater and lose a decision to someone wearing the maroon-and-white of
Gloucester, it's a letdown. When it happens on Senior Night in the final home game of the season, it's doubly worse.
The loss also meant Danvers finished third in the NEC Large standings (8-5-2, 18 points), not in a tie for second with Peabody. A win would have left them just two points shy of conference champion Gloucester, as well.
But perhaps what was most unexpected is that the fire and intensity that Danvers had displayed this month in winning four of its last five games was missing in large stretches Saturday night | particularly during that haunting middle period.
"We certainly didn't forecast this happening," Danvers coach Kevin Brown said after speaking with his team in the game's aftermath. "It just didn't happen for us tonight. That's sometimes the way it goes in hockey.
"What it came down to is they beat us to a lot more loose pucks and capitalized on their chances. They used their speed, too | and they've got a lot of it."
Unquestionably, Gloucester's Brett Biondo was the game's No. 1 star. The junior left wing with the terrific giddy-up in skating stride had a pair of goals | including one of the prettiest goals you'll ever see, a backhand from his stomach as he was falling away from the goal | and also dished out an assist.
Biondo seemingly made things happen any time the puck was on his stick; you can see why he has 18 goals and 33 points this season.
His linemates benefitted from Biondo's play, as center Andrew Fulford and right wing Jeremy Fanning both had a goal and an assist. Workhorse defenseman Paul Russo got into the offensive act, too, assisting on a pair of goals.
Danvers came out intent on playing physical with the Fishermen | something they don't particularly like, save for maybe the rugged Fulford | and it worked for the game's first 5-6 minutes. When Gloucester got used to it and started using their speed to get around those checks, that's when they started to make things happen.
Biondo's first goal came with his team on a 5-on-3 power play midway through the first period before Fulford doubled that lead midway through the second, jamming a loose puck in at the far corner.
The speedy Biondo then blocked an attempted Danvers clear in at his own blue line with his shin pad and took off to the races 2-on-1, feathering a beautiful pass to Fanning for the goal before his own coup-de-grace goal later in the middle period.
Gloucester (12-4-2) head coach Don Lowe, a man who knows much more than he tends to let on, simply smiled when Biondo's name was brought up. "Yeah, he can play a little bit," Lowe laughed.
For Danvers, all is not lost. As Korthas said afterwards, "it's not the end of our season; that's a positive", and he's right. It's also a loss that may sting, but also one the Falcons can learn from | especially with the state tournament right around the corner.
First, they'll take part in the Newburyport Bank Classic this week, facing Haverhill tomorrow night, then either mighty Division 1 entry St. Mary's of Lynn, or Lincoln-Sudbury, in Friday's regular season finale.
"We've done the little things all year to be in the position we are, and one game isn't going to end that for us," said Korthas.
"But this game definitely shows us no matter what we've done recently, we can't just show up and expect to win. We've got to bring it every night."