The following was written by our own sophomore sports writer, Jaime Gweshe.
The Red Devils displayed their ability to be a dominant powerhouse on both ends of the ice in a 7-1 win against the Winchester Sachems Monday night at the Burlington Ice Palace. Captain Chris Irwin and junior Dan McMahon led the Burlington offensive rush with two goals and an assist each.
In the first period, Burlington set the momentum for the game right from the opening face off. They played a more energized and gritty style of hockey and therefore were able to stop a surging Winchester offense, as well as create scoring opportunities in the attacking zone. Although the first period remained scoreless, it was a hard fought battle for the Devils, especially at the blue line. All five of the Burlington defensemen weren’t afraid to throw their bodies around to create big hits and block shots.
“We talk about the little things that show your intensity and that’s one of the things,” said Coach Conceison. “We hadn’t been a gritty enough team in some of our earlier games but we’re starting to find that little bit of toughness that we need as a team.”
Burlington’s defensive and offensive efforts were rewarded in the second period after allowing Winchester’s Dan Donovan to score the first goal of the game at 2:50. Burlington didn’t waste any time tying the game up, Chris Irwin answered Winchester’s goal less than 20 seconds later with his first of the night. Burlington continued to dominate in the second period with a goal by Trevor Cimino at 5:45 that gave Burlington the lead. Irwin netted in his second goal of the night at 14:01 to put the Devils up 3-1. And it was Joe Berardi who scored with 56 second left in the second period to send the Devils into intermission with a 4-1 lead over the Sachems.
The third period was the last in an unyielding effort by the Devils. Chris Irwin brought the puck up ice and made the pass to Dan McMahon who shot the one-timer past two Winchester defensemen and beat Jed Robinson stick side to add onto Burlington’s lead. This resulted in a goaltending change for the Sachems, who put in Peter Olson, the switch wasn’t enough to slow down Burlington. Kyle Crowley, who was back into the lineup after missing two games, scored 48 second after McMahon. Crowley was able to beat an out of position Olson, scoring on the rebound. Then with less than 30 seconds left in the game it was Dan McMahon who topped off his stellar game with a goal at 14:28 finalizing the score 7-1 in favor of the Devils.
“[Our defense] knew that they had to be physical, but in a smart way. They knew that they had to be more disciplined in all aspects of their game and that’s what they did,” said Chris Irwin after the game. “They might be young, but they all play like senior defensemen.”
At the start of the season the Burlington defense was plagued with bouts of inconsistency, but over the past few games they seem to have found their stride, and against Winchester they seemed to be atop their game. It was a very physical game from start to finish, and the blue liners were very successful taking care of loose pucks in the corners as well as blocking shots near the crease and preventing turnovers in the neutral zone. Adam Crowley was just one of the Burlington defenseman that had an outstanding night. Crowley had 3 blocked shots as well as three huge hits in one shift alone.
“Well, we knew coming in they were a team with fast forwards and we needed to play physical with them in our zone,” said defenseman Steve Mattos. “We knew that they were a hard working team and it was going to be a battle, Winchester is a good team we just had their number tonight.”
Another reason for Burlington’s success is the continued confident play of goalie Derek DeCastro who stopped all but one of the 27 shots he faced. DeCastro seems to be adjusting quite well to the Varsity level of play, riding on a three game win streak.
“Derek has been standing on his head,” praised Mattos after the win. “It’s always a good feeling knowing that you have a good goalie behind you because that’s where the game all starts from, the goalie.”
There might have also been a little extra drive for some of the seniors on the team to get this win down in the books. “For Joe, Shane and I, we never beat Winchester during our varsity hockey career in the regular season, we wanted this game more than anything. We knew we couldn’t let their first line gain momentum,” said Irwin, “We just took advantage of our opportunities.”
Burlington looks to continue it’s winning ways against Melrose on Wednesday night.
BURLINGTON 0-4-3 – 7
Winchester 0-1-0 – 1
First Period: No scoring. Penalties: W-Martignett (crosschecking) 5:00; B-Caruso (interference)5:25.
Second Period: W-Donovan (Ducharme) 2:50; B-Irwin (Caruso, McMahon) 3:11; B-Cimino (Caruso, Rolli) 4:45; B-Irwin (McMahon, Centrella) 13:49; B-Berardi (Rolli) 14:04. Penalties: W-Redler (crosschecking) 4:39.
Third Period: B-McMahon (Irwin) :30; B-K.Crowley (Rolli, A.Crowley) 13:47; B-McMahon (unassisted) 14:26. Penalties: B-Berardi (crosschecking) 2:22; B-Caruso (interference) 6:44; W-Tedesco (hooking) 11:56; B-Centrella (high-sticking) 13:35.
Shots on Goal: Burlington 4-13-8-25 Winchester 4-13-10-27
Goalies (Saves): B-DeCastro (26) W-Robinson (12) W-Olson (8)