May 16—PEABODY — Quiet and reserved, Peabody High boys lacrosse captain Jack Houlden is a young man of few words.
His lacrosse stick, though, could be an orator all on its own.
The brilliantly skilled senior attackman dominated Saturday night by scoring six goals and dishing out three assists as Peabody knocked off crosstown rival Bishop Fenwick, 13-3, in the 10th annual Danish Cup.
"If they give me a little bit of space, I'm always ready to shoot," the 18-year-old Houlden remarked after the game. That was patently true Saturday, where he blistered home a trio of goals into the tiniest spaces of the Fenwick net, goals that only true marksmen can bury.
The son of a former Peabody High coach (Kevin Houlden) who has been around the game his entire life, Houlden said it comes from a "lot of practice, shooting in the backyard, just practicing a lot." He's averaging seven points per game (21 goals, 7 assists) to begin the 2021 season and has 125 career points in just two-plus seasons of actual varsity play.
His own coach, Leo Shidler, put it another way.
"WNEC is getting an absolute steal in Jack," Shidler said in speaking of Western New England College, where Houlden will go and study criminal justice and continue his lacrosse career. "He's not done at just this level, either; he's going to put up these numbers at the next level, too. We'll see him on TV starting next year, I guarantee it."
Robert 'Bob' Danish, for whom this game and the Cup that represents it is played, is the father of Peabody High lacrosse, having guided the program from 1977-94. He also has deep ties to the Fenwick program, having begun his coaching career at the parochial school as a football and baseball assistant in the early 1970s. Saturday night, he was watching the game in his name via livestream from Florida.
Peabody has won all 10 Danish Cups between the two rivals, dating back to 2011. Saturday's 10-goal margin of victory tied for the largest in game history, equaling the 2011 (14-4) and 2013 (16-6) contests.
Houlden was named Peabody's game MVP, the second straight time he has won that award (having scored 4 goals and 4 assists in the 2019 game). Bishop Fenwick long pole Jake Connolly, a senior, earned MVP honors for his squad.
Keenan Madden finished with two goals and assist while fellow senior attack Anthony Bettencourt had a goal and an assist. Senior defenseman and captain Drew Lucas scored for the third time in four days while dominating all over the field as well.
Middies Luke Buckley, Cam Collins and Brady Carpenter also scored for the winners, with freshman Matt Bettencourt dishing out two assists and junior goalie Derek Patturelli making 11 saves.
Fenwick (now 0-3), a young squad that was missing its own top marksman, senior scoring star Stefano Fabiano to an injury suffered during the recently completed football season, actually had a 1-0 lead on a Liam Hill goal four minutes in Saturday before the host Tanners deciphered the Crusaders' zone defense and scored six of the game's next seven goals to take a four-goal lead (6-2) into halftime.
After sophomore Manny Alvarez-Segee's goal cut the Crusaders' deficit to 6-3 early in the second half, Houlden scored four of the next five goals as Peabody tallied seven straight scores to end the night.
"They've got some great senior leaders over there," Fenwick head coach Steve Driscoll said of the Tanners. "Jack was obviously outstanding as usual, and Drew was the absolute menace that he is all over the field, even offensively with that pole.
"For us, it's important for our guys to experience what it's like playing a great team like Peabody. It's important to embrace it, especially in this season of having tough things happen and finding a way to overcome it.
"It stinks to watch them lift that Cup up; I have envy of them for sure," Driscoll continued as the Peabody players celebrated nearby. "I want that Cup at 99 Margin Street (Fenwick's location). But it's also a really fun thing to be a part of, certainly one that's important for any kid that plays lacrosse for either of these two schools. I feel like we honor the game correctly."
Sophomore middie Tyler Mullen had the other goal for Fenwick, with senior George Kostolias stopping 14 shots in net. Senior defender Liam Foley and senior middie Aiden Anthony also had strong showings.
"It's important for our young guys to watch and learn from our seniors," said Driscoll. "A kid like Joey Marshall Bobby Massa, Kieran Corcoran (all freshman midfielders), those young guys are seeing what it takes to play at the varsity level and the work that gets put into it. The results might not be there for them this year, but they will be in the long run."
Peabody has a big week coming up, hosting once-beaten Northeastern Conference rival Masconomet Tuesday (4 p.m.) before facing off with unbeaten two-time defending league champion Marblehead Saturday morning.