The homeschooled attackman’s goal at 10:46 of the quarter brought Everett within one of Division II Stanwood at 3-2. Just more than four minutes later, Jackson freshman Sean Billmyer beat Stanwood goalkeeper Chris Blackwell to knot the contest at 3 before Beretta found the back of the net again at 4:38 to put the Everett club ahead for good.
“This one was huge for us,” said Everett head coach Craig Hess, whose squad is battling undefeated Sehome-Bellingham along with Snohomish and Kamiak in the race for a Division I Wesco/NW Conference berth in the state tournament.
Beretta went to connect for the quarter’s final goal with just 44 seconds remaining, and that put Everett in the driver’s seat heading into halftime.
“Beretta made the difference for us tonight. You can’t measure how important he was,” Hess said.
Down 2-1 while struggling with Stanwood’s zone defense in the first quarter, Hess gathered his squad at the quarter break to regroup.
“At the end of the first we talked about how we wanted to get the tempo back,” Hess said. “Beretta’s goal reassured the boys that we could play against the zone. He got it going.”
Everett struggled with penalties throughout the game, but successfully killed seven of 10 man-down situations, including a key extra-man opportunity for Stanwood early the fourth quarter after Nick Stritmatter put Everett ahead 11-6 with 9:58 remaining.
Everett was whistled for an illegal check that landed Maysville-Pilchuck junior defender and co-captian Kain Davis on the sidelines to sit out the infraction. Just a minute later, Everett was dealt another blow as goaltender Bradly Strong was whistled for checking Stanwood leading scorer Jack Delich to the ground, forcing Hess to replace his starter.
“We struggled,” Hess said. “But we got through. We need to work on that.”
With both squads back a full strength, Stanwood grabbed back the momentum and went on to score the three of the final four goals in the game, including goals by sophomore Alexander Major with 6:06 and 26 seconds remaining. However, Stanwood was never able to overcome Everett’s strong second quarter.
Heading into Wednesday’s conference showdown with Snohomish at Glacier Peak High School, the victory gives Everett important momentum down the stetch.
Beretta finished the night leading all scorers with seven points (five goals, two assists) and three ground balls. It was his sixth hat trick of the season.
Stritmatter finished with four points (three goals, an assist) while Billmyer had a single goal and Strong had seven saves and Aiden Rounds three.
Kane Ayling led Stanwood with five points (four goals, an assist) and seven ground balls and goaltender Aiden Rounds had eight saves.
Everett (8-3-0) next faces Snohomish at 7 p.m. Wednesday at Glacier Peak High School. Stanwood (3-3-0) next plays Lynden (2-4-0) at 6 p.m. Wednesday at Stanwood Middle School.
Everett 12, Stanwood 9
At Stanwood Middle School, Stanwood
Everett 1 7 2 2 — 12
Stanwood 2 2 2 3 — 9
Everett — Justin Beretta 5 goals, 2 assists, 3 ground balls; Nathan Hanold 3 goals, 4 assists 1 ground ball; Nick Stritmatter 3 goals, 1 assist, 5 ground balls; Sean Billmyer 1 goal; Kane Davis 5 ground balls; Brad Strong 7 saves; Aiden Rounds 3 saves. Stanwood — Kane Ayling 4 goals, 1 assist, 7 ground balls; Alexander Major 3 goals, 1 ground ball; Jack Delich 2 goals, 3 assists, 2 ground balls; Dylan Weeda 1 goal, 1 assist; Chris Blackwell 8 saves. Everett 4-2-0, 8-3-0. Stanwood 3-2-0. 3-3-0.
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