Abuisi and Benzie battle for possession

Drury's Nick Abuisi and Mount Everett's Kyle Benzie battle for the puck during the first period of a match at the Peter W. Foote Vietnam Veterans Memorial Skating Rink in North Adams on Wednesday. 

NORTH ADAMS — The Drury Blue Devils drove their record back to .500 with a decisive 9-3, home-ice victory over Mount Everett Wednesday night behind a four-goal explosion by junior forward David Delisle.

The Devils trailed by 1-0 and 2-1 margins early on. A fluke center-ice clear snuck by Drury goalie Chase Vanderwould just three minutes into the game. It took 11 minutes of five-on five action for the Devils to answer, as Delisle sniped home a feed from senior Zachary Lillie (two goals, two assists) with just 24 seconds left in the first period.

Early in the second, Mount Everett responded with Luke Kamieski beating Vanderwould over his blocker on a assist from Aiden Fennelly for his second goal and what wound up being a short-lived 2-1 advantage.

The Devils were quick to answer as Delisle’s linemate, senior Branden Lincoln, burst over the blue line and dished a helper, which Delisle streaked into and went top-shelf to tie the game at 2-2. Just eight seconds later, Lincoln (two goals, three assists) put the home team ahead, 3-2, a lead they didn’t relinquish.

At this point the Devils started clicking on all gears as they were in the attacking zone for almost 10 minutes of the second period as they outshot the Eagles 15-3 over 15 minutes.

“We realize playing our best offense is our best defense,” coach Derek Durocher said after his team’s 33-shot barrage. “It was fun to watch. We’ve had games with that volume of chances, but we finished on our scoring chances tonight.”

He noted the team is at about full strength now which is key at this point in the season.

“We’ve had a big difference in the health of our team,” he said, a sentiment echoed by the opportunistic Delisle who equaled teammate Lincoln’s five-point night (he assisted on Lincoln’s second goal).

“Once (we had) gotten the full squad together that has made the biggest difference for us, being healthy, getting over injuries,” Delisle said. “We dug deep and put up as many points as we could.”

Drury went up 4-2 on Lincoln’s power-play goal, assisted by Delisle and Lillie at 6:55. Despite spending seven of eight minutes in the neutral or attacking zone, Everett was able to creep back to within one, 4-3, at the 3:19 mark. Kyle Benzie scored off a Dominic Velasco assist.

After Delisle was robbed in deep on a backhand shot, It was Lillie driving in and going five-hole unassisted for a 5-3 lead with just over a minute left. Drury continued to pour on the pressure in the final minute of the second. Delisle had five shots in the second period.

The third period opened with a scare just 15 seconds in as Everett took advantage of the Zamboni-slicked surface with two immediate breakaways. Vanderwould stood on his head for a save, while senior Cam Taylor came up with a big defensive play on the Eagles’ second effort.

Then at 11:42 the floodgates opened as freshman Jameson Bayless tallied an unassisted goal.

Just 42 seconds later, Delisle struck for a hat trick. He needed just nine seconds to add goal No. 4. Both goals were assisted by Lincoln. The third period surge was concluded by Lillie’s second visit to pay-dirt with a helper from junior Collin Booth.

Durocher lauded the play of his offense, adding Delisle, “came to play. When he’s firing on all cylinders he can be one of the best players in the league.

“We have a good group of guys, we really dug deep,” Delisle added.