Thu, Dec 27, 2007 08:00 PM @ Gloucester
Team 1 2 3 Final
Gloucester Savings Bank Tournament
Beverly 0 1 2 3
Gloucester 0 4 1 5
Beverly 3, Gloucester 5.  » Mary Muckenhoupt, Staff PhotographerMore photos

Fishermen knock off Panthers, punch ticket to tourney finals

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Friday, December, 28 By Nick Curcuru

Without junior captain Josh Salah, one might think that the Gloucester hockey team would have trouble with previously unbeaten Beverly in the first round of the Cape Ann Savings Bank Holiday Tournament.

Fortunately for the Fishermen, that was not the case as Brett Biondo stepped up in Salah's absence. The junior speedster netted four goals and an assist, leading Gloucester to a 5-3 win over the Panthers last night at the Dorothy Talbot Rink.

With the win, Gloucester (4-0-1) moves on to the tournament final tonight (8 p.m.) and will play either North Reading or Martha's Vineyard.

"We played really well tonight," Biondo said. "We needed to come out and play well in Josh's absence, we wanted to prove that we can play with any team even without him." After a scoreless first period, Beverly drew first blood just 43 seconds into the second frame when Jack Leathersich roofed a shot past Gloucester goalie Bradley Robertson to make it 1-0 Beverly.

The Fishermen would take over from there, scoring three goals in two and a half minutes. Biondo would notch his first goal on the power play at the eight-minute mark of the period. Senior captain Andrew Fulford got the assist. A minute and a half later Biondo would bang in a rebound to give the Fishermen a 2-1 lead.

Biondo would get the hat trick a minute later dumping in a rebound after initially being stopped on a breakaway. Sophomore forward Ryan Drizen would notch his first career varsity goal later in the period to make it 4-1 through two. Beverly, however, would not go down without a fight, dominating the third period. Tyler Albano would cut the Fishermen lead to 4-2 midway through the period. The Fishermen would then put the game away with two minutes to play, as Biondo took a pass from Jeremy Fanning and broke in all alone for the score.. Beverly's Chris Freni made it 5-3 with a minute left but it was too little too late.

Biondo once again led the Fishermen offense. He now has seven goals in the last two games and a team-high 13 points on the season (nine goals, four assists). Despite being happy scoring four goals, Biondo was quick to call the game a total team effort.

"It feels pretty good being able to score this many goals," Biondo said. "But the team played great, we are starting to click now and we are putting up some good numbers." Gloucester head coach Don Lowe was also happy with the team's gritty performance.

"We played pretty well tonight and we really competed," Lowe said. "Our power play was very good. Plus, Beverly is a great team, they came in undefeated and they are a very well-coached team. They always come to play and give us a tough game, and they did it again tonight."

Gloucester also did a great job handling the Panthers physical play. The Fishermen were giving up a lot of size and were still able to go blow for blow with Beverly. "They are the most physical team we played so far," Biondo said. "We knew they were going to come out and play physical but we prepared for it."

Despite the loss, Beverly head coach Bob Gilligan was pleased with his team's effort, but stressed that it was too tough to come back from a 4-1 deficit.

"It was tough to come back because Gloucester is very good offensively," Gilligan said. "We just dug ourselves a hole and it was tough to get back out of it."

1 Story Comments

0         ppierce365

Gloucester is going to have a good season this year. They're angry after getting eliminated from the state tournament last year in a shootout. They are definitely not happy that a shootout decided their fate. They might not make the championship like they did two years ago, but they'll make a run in the post season.

Report! #1 12/29/2007 11:25 AM