Peabody defeats Danvers for long-awaited victory

Peabody's Lucas DeMild made 29 saves in Wednesday's win. (Item File Photo)

PEABODY — Down 4-1 to Danvers with five minutes to go in the second period, Wednesday’s game looked like it would end as many others have for the Peabody boys hockey team over the past two years — in a loss. But the Tanners weren’t having it.

Peabody rattled off three goals in under a minute and a half to tie the score before going on to beat the Falcons 6-5 at James McVann-Louis O’Keefe Memorial Rink, marking the Tanners’ first win since February 15, 2017.

“It’s pretty special,” said Peabody coach Mark Leonard. “To beat a first-place team like Danvers is a big accomplishment, and I’m really happy for the seniors. It’s a great feeling.”

Senior captain Nick Capillo led the way all night for Peabody with three goals and one assist, including two goals in the Tanners’ second-period comeback.

“It’s a pretty incredible feeling, we haven’t had this much excitement as a team in a couple of years,” said Capillo. “The idea when we were behind was just to keep working hard, come together as a team and just chip away at it, and that’s what we did.”

Fellow senior captain Connor McCarron added two goals and one assist, while junior Michael Zarro had one goal. Sophomore Nathan LaPage had four assists, senior captain Ryan Huber had two assists and senior captain Caleb Dollin and junior Nick Ricci each had one assist. Sophomore goalie Lucas DeMild had a big game in net, making 29 saves.

“Lucas played great out there and really kept us in the game down the stretch,” Leonard said, who made 12 saves in the third period alone. “The defense also played well in front of him and our forwards did a good job on the backcheck. It all came together for us tonight.”

For Danvers, Jared Mscisz had two goals and one assist, while Tyler Puska, Tyler Robinson and Cody Plaza each had one goal. Jack Thibodeau added two assists, while Brett Palladino, Cam DeMeglio, Brett Baldassare and James Carmilia each had one assist.

“It’s really a credit to Peabody as a team for the way they fought back,” said Danvers coach Steve Baldassare. “We took that early lead and then got away from what we do well, and we paid for it.”

It was the Falcons who struck first, notching a powerplay goal off the stick of Mscisz with eight minutes to go in the first period. But less than two minutes later the Tanners were awarded their first powerplay opportunity and they cashed in when LaPage sent a shot in from the blue line that was tipped in by Capillo to tie the score at 1-1.

In the second period, Danvers dominated the first several minutes. Goals from Plaza and Puska within the first four minutes stretched the lead to 3-1, then Mscisz added his second of the game to make it a three-goal lead for Danvers with just over five minutes to go in the period.

And that’s when everything changed.

Peabody went on to score three goals over the next minute and a half, starting with Capillo’s second and followed by McCarron’s first. And once Capillo tied the game at 4-4 with just over three minutes left in the second, the momentum had completely shifted to the Tanners.

In the third period, Peabody didn’t waste any time. Zarro found the back of the net after tipping home a rebound less than two minutes into the frame to give the Tanners a 5-4 lead, then McCarron scored his second of the game just over a minute later. Over the final 12 minutes of the game Danvers was awarded four powerplays, but the Falcons only got one goal from Robinson in that time. After successfully killing off the rest of the clock, Peabody skated away with the win.

Danvers (6-2-2) will try to rebound Saturday against Medford.

As for the Tanners (1-8-1), Leonard hopes this win will provide some momentum for the rest of the season.

“I hope winning a game like this will get the guys going and give us a push going forward the rest of the season,” Leonard said. “The guys come out and work hard every day, so getting a win like this will only make them work harder to get the next one.”

Peabody visits Beverly Saturday.

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