BEVERLY — The Danvers boys hockey team controlled the pace of the game for much of Tuesday night’s contest and skated to a 4-1 win over Northeastern Conference rival Winthrop at Raymond J. Bourque Arena.
Falcons goalkeeper Adam Bridgeo was solid in net behind a great performance from the Danvers defense.
“Adam has been as solid as I’ve seen in a long time from a goalie from Danvers,” Falcons coach Steve Baldassare said. “He sees the puck well and he’s always following the play. He picks right up on what is going on, it’s not like he’s falling asleep back there. He never gives up on the play. When it comes to practice if he’s not the one in the net he’s always over to the side working on his craft and that’s what you get from it.”
Jack Thibodeau led Danvers with two goals. Tyler Robinson and Jared Mscisz each had one goal.
Sam Yarrow scored the Vikings’ lone goal. Winthrop coach Dale Dunbar wasn’t pleased with the Vikings effort from start to finish.
“We just didn’t compete,” Dunbar said. “We didn’t get to the dirty areas, we wanted this to be an open ice game and it’s not like that on the road. I thought Danvers beat us all night from the drop of the puck to the final buzzer. They physically manhandled us and they were opportunistic on their chances.”
The game started out evenly matched with both teams struggling to control possession. After a pad save by Winthrop goalkeeper Ryan Skoczylas, Yarrow controlled the puck and skated down ice in transition for a breakaway. Yarrow made a move to Bridgeo’s left but the netminder made a pad save to keep the game scoreless.
A few minutes later the Falcons capitalized on a Winthrop penalty. Cooper Adrien sent a puck out front that Skoczylas tried to control with his glove but Thibodeau crashed the net and ripped a shot that put Danvers ahead 1-0.
After killing a Winthrop man advantage early in the second period, the Falcons added to their lead. A shot by Griffin Geraghty with just under seven minutes to play was saved, but Robinson finished the rebound with a wrist shot to put Danvers ahead 2-0.
The Falcons weren’t done, finding another scoring opportunity four minutes later thanks to a strong forecheck. This time Mscisz found the back of the net to put Danvers ahead 3-0 with 2:40 remaining in the period.
Yarrow finally got the Vikings on the board with a big play in the final minute of the period. The senior forward made a nice move to make a defender miss and beat Bridgeo to his right with a shot to cut the Danvers lead to 3-1.
Any momentum the Vikings built from Yarrow’s goal vanished early in the third period. Winthrop found itself on the penalty kill three times in the first eight minutes.
The Falcons finally extended their lead on the third power play. Thibodeau crashed the net and finished a rebound out front to put Danvers ahead 4-1 late.
The Vikings had one last effort to get back in the game in the final minutes with a power play and Skoczylas pulled but it was too little too late.
“Every game has been a challenge this year,” Baldassare said. “I think with the league you can’t really over look anybody. We did exactly what we have been talking about, net drives, second efforts and going to the net without the puck.
“When you play Winthrop they have their systems they run,” Baldassare added. “There were a couple times we made things hard on ourselves but overall the game plan was followed and at the end of the day we got it done.”
Both teams are back in action Saturday afternoon. Danvers (4-1-2) travels to Saugus (4:30), while Winthrop (6-3) hosts Beverly (3).