Several 12th graders play pivotal roles in 3-3 tie
Published in the February 9, 2016 edition.
SAUGUS — On Senior Night for the Warrior boys’ hockey team, there was plenty of excitement provided by several of Wakefield’s 12th graders on Saturday night against rival Melrose at the Kasabuski Arena in the home finale.
Senior forward Anthony Funicella scored a goal and assisted on two others, senior defenseman Dylan Melanson scored a goal, and senior goalie Ben Yandell made 27 saves as Wakefield rallied from a two goal deficit to tie the Red Raiders by a 3-3 score.
Wakefield ended its Middlesex League Freedom division losing streak which had swelled to eight games. Wakefield did beat Lowell 8-4 in a non-league game last week but that success didn’t carry over to league play until Saturday.
The streak began with a 3-2 loss against Melrose in the first meeting on Jan. 9, so it seemed only appropriate that the league losing skein ended against the Red Raiders as well.
Still Wakefield (4-10-3 overall, 1-10-2 in the M.L. Freedom division) needed an empty net goal from Funicella at 13:32 to tie the game at three-all. Funicella put the puck past Melrose goalie Colin Kiernan, a sophomore, with the extra skater on the ice. Freshman forward Tom Harrington assisted on the goal.
The first period was a scoreless one. In the second period, the Warriors took a 1-0 lead on a goal by Melanson at 3:58. Junior forward David Melanson and Funicella assisted on the goal.
But the Red Raiders tied the game at 10:15 of the second. Matt McKenzie, a junior forward, scored the goal with senior forward Zack Phipps and Kyle Sikora assisting on the goal.
Melrose (2-11-4 overall, 1-10-3 in the M.L. Freedom division) took a 2-1 lead with just one second left in the second period. Junior forward Connor Crovo scored the goal with senior forward Alex Barton and Sikora earning the assists on the goal.
The Red Raiders upped their lead to 3-1 at 2:28 of the third period. Senior defenseman Jacob Kleis put one past Yandell with Adam Bain getting the assist on the tally.
Wakefield got its second goal of the game at 5:42 of the third period to cut the lead to 3-2. David Melanson found the back of the net with a shot. Freshman defenseman Mike Lucey and Funicella assisted on the goal.
The score remained 3-2 in Melrose’s favor until the Warriors got the equalizer with just under a minute and half remaining. Neither team lit the lamp again as the contest ended in a 3-3 tie with each club earning a point.
“It was a good game and nice to get the tie on Senior Night. We were two goals down,” said Coach Chris Gianatassio. “The tying goal was on an empty net with about a minute half left after we pulled. We were two evenly matched teams.”
The contest was a physical one but also clean one. Wakefield was whistled for two penalties and Melrose just one.
“The referees let us play. It was a physical game and a clean game,” said Gianatassio. “We had our chances. Ben Yandell made 27 saves for us. They had 30 shots and we had 28.”
The seven seniors honored before the game included Alex Darcy, Funicella, Zach Kane, Dylan Melanson, Steve Melanson, Steve Marino and Yandell.
Wakefield faces Burlington tomorrow night at 8 p.m. at the Ice Palace in the first of three straight road games to wrap up the season.
At Kasabuski Arena, Saugus
Melrose………….0 2 1 — 3
WAKEFIELD…..0 1 2 — 3
First Period — No Scoring. Penalties — Mel, Phipps (high-sticking) 4:49; Wak, Leary (cross-checking) 7:25.
Second Period — Wak, Dy.Melanson (Da.Melanson, Funicella) 3:58. Mel, McKenzie (Phipps, Sikora) 10:15. Mel, C.Crovo (Burton, Sikora) 14:59. Penalties — Wak, Dy.Melanson (holding) 6:35.
Third Period — Mel, Kleis (Bain) 3:58. Wak, Da. Melanson (Lucey, Funicella) 5:42. Wak, Funicella (Harrington) 13:32 (en). Penalties — None.
Shots on Goal — Melrose 30. Wakefield 28.
Power Plays — Melrose 0 for 2. Wakefield 0 for 1.
Goalies — Mel, Kiernan (27-25 saves). Wak, Yandell (30-27).