By David Willis
NORTH ANDOVER — Jake Silk knew the celebration was a bit over the top, but when he spotted his family and friends behind the net, he couldn’t help himself.
“I knew I had to score in the second period because my family was on the other side of the glass on that end and I wanted to jump up against it in front of them,” said Silk. “Especially my brother, they have always been here watching me, so I knew I had to put one in.”
Silk did just that 5:06 into the second, when he took a pass from linemate Derek Hunter and roofed the puck home before making good on his celebration Lambeau Leap-style.
That goal also proved to be the game-changer, as it snapped a scoreless tie and propelled North Andover to a 2-0 victory over Haverhill last night, snapping a six-game losing skid for the Scarlet Knights.
“After five years on varsity this was my last home game,” said Silk. “So we wanted to make the most of it. We may not be going to the playoffs, but that didn’t matter in our last game at Merrimack. We wanted to make the game matter.”
A mainstay for the Scarlet Knights since 8th grade, Silk made his last skate at the J. Thom Lawler Arena count, scoring the go-ahead goal and assisting on the empty-netter that clinched the win.
“Jake is a great leader and a tremendous player,” said North Andover coach Peter Marfione. “Even when he isn’t putting goals away, he is doing everything to help the team. Then there are nights like tonight when he can take a game over. He came up big.”
More than four years after he scored his first varsity goal — against Pentucket-Georgetown on Jan. 31, 2009 — Silk led his Knights to one final home victory with his eighth goal and 20th and 21st points of the season.
“On my goal, Derek gave me a great pass and I just roofed it over the goalie,” said Silk of the 35th score of his varsity career. “I knew we needed a goal and I wanted to put one in.”
He could have had another goal. Skating down the ice with under a minute to play and the Haverhill net wide open, the captain and friend in him took over. He dropped the puck off to fellow senior Hunter for a goal.
“I saw Derek down the middle and I knew I had to get him a goal on senior night,” he said. “We have been together a long time and he deserved it.”
While the veteran captain was providing the points, it was a freshman who was keeping the Hillies off the board.
Ben Ryan turned in his first career shutout, making 14 saves including a pair of stops on breakaways.
“We wanted to badly to get this one for the seniors,” said Ryan. “We wanted to make this final game special for them, so it was a pretty cool day to get my first shout.”
While his team may not be headed to the postseason, Silk still hopes to finish his career with a positive.
“This is my first time not going to the tourney,” he said. “That stinks. But we want to finish with a few big wins.”
North Andover 2, Haverhill 0
Haverhill (3-12-2): 0 0 0 — 0
North Andover (7-11-0): 0 1 1 — 2
Goals: Jake Silk, Derek Hunter
Assists: Silk, Dan Rivet, Chris Nigro
Saves: NA — Ben Ryan 14; H — Zach Grundy 31