Blanked by highly-touted Sachems, 3-0

JAKE REGAN, a freshman defenseman, stickhandles the puck for the Warriors. The Wakefield defense played pretty well but Wakefield was blanked by fifth-ranked Winchester last night at the O’Brien Rink. (Donna Larsson File Photo)

JAKE REGAN, a freshman defenseman, stickhandles the puck for the Warriors. The Wakefield defense played pretty well but Wakefield was blanked by fifth-ranked Winchester last night at the O’Brien Rink. (Donna Larsson File Photo)

Published in the January 21, 2016 edition.


WOBURN — To win in the Middlesex League, arguably one of the best public school leagues in the sports of boys’ hockey, a team has to play well for all three periods to be successful.

The Wakefield Memorial High boys’ hockey team played very well for two of the three periods against Winchester last night at the O’Brien Rink and trailed 1-0 at the second intermission.

But it was the final period where the Sachems scored twice to hand the Warriors a 3-0 loss in a crossover game against a team from the M.L. Liberty division.

“We played well for the first two periods,” said Coach Chris Gianatassio. “We couldn’t match their energy in the third period.”

Winchester, which is unbeaten in league play and has one loss overall, entered the game as the fifth-ranked team in the state. The Sachems controlled the first period and outshot Wakefield, 9-4. But after one period Winchester led by just a 1-0 score.

The Warriors came out and kept the puck down Winchester’s end for much of the frame. But Wakefield was unable to get one past senior goalie Christy Redler.

“In the second we got shots on net but we didn’t get the rebounds to be able to put the puck in,” said Gianatassio. “We didn’t have that presence in front.”

As a result, Wakefield still trailed 1-0 after two.

In the final period, Wakefield, which had been penalty free up to that point, was assessed its first penalty of the contest and Winchester made the Warriors pay with a power play goal at 6:33 of the third period.

Senior forward Anthony Funicella was sent to the penalty box for holding at 6:18 and the Sachems took full advantage with senior Mike Houllahan, from the right post, faking the pass and the flicking a shot into the left corner by senior goalie Ben Yandell to give Winchester a 2-0 advantage.

Assisting on the power play goal were sophomore defenseman Ian Wilson and senior forward Dan O’Connell.

Winchester made it a 3-0 game at 10:27. Sophomore forward James Kiley skated down the right side and sent a pass back to senior forward Jon Lepore who was trailing on the play. Lepore one-timed the pass by Yandell to give the Sachems some breathing room.

“We gave them only one power play and they made us pay for it by scoring a goal,” said Gianatassio. “They have some good skill guys and they’re a tough team. They are ranked number five and they have beaten everyone in the league.”

Winchester scored its first goal of the game at 4:59 of the first period. On the play, senior forward Andrew McCarthy skated down the left side and behind the net to the left side. From there he backhanded a pass to senior forward Gavin Lacey who was situated at the left post. Lacey fired the puck in for the 1-0 lead.

The Sachems had some good bids to make it a 2-0 game but Yandell made some nice saves in net.

Wakefield, in fact, didn’t get its first shot on net until there was 5:14 left in the first period and that came off the stick of Pat Leary, a junior forward. Braedan Langlois, a junior forward, later had a good bid as he streaked down the right wing. But Redler made the save.

In the second period, the Warriors did a much better job of limiting Winchester’s chances as the Sachems had just four shots on net. Kiley made a nice pass to Lepore but the latter missed the net on one of the home team’s better scoring opportunities in the frame.

Offensively, Wakefield had more chances as well including two power plays with Winchester being assessed two minor penalties. One of the better Wakefield chances came when Funicella made a diving attempt off a face-off that was redirected by Redler.

But after two periods, Wakefield trailed by the 1-0 score.

In the third, Winchester came out fast and nearly scored when Kiley broke down the left side by himself. Yandell made a terrific save on the play and the puck was cleared away before the Sachems could get the rebound.

But several minutes later, the Sachems lit the lamp for an insurance goal and then added one more for good measure to skate away with the victory.

“The effort was there but we need to put it together for all three periods and be more consistent,” said Gianatassio. “We’re progressing but we need to find a way to win. It’s tough to beat a team from the Middlesex League. I always say that this is the best public school league in the state. We know to expect a tough game every night. We’ll learn from this and build on the positives for the Belmont game.”

Wakefield, which is now 3-6-2 overall and 1-6-1 in the M.L. Freedom division, hosts Belmont on Saturday at 5 p.m. at the Kasabuski Arena. Saturday will also be Wakefield Youth Skating Association (WYSA) Night at the Kasabuski. Any WYSA player wearing their jersey and accompanied by an adult will be admitted to the game for free.


Wednesday’s Game

At O’Brien Rink, Woburn

WAKEFIELD………0  0  0 — 0

Winchester………..1  0  2 — 3


First Period — Win, Lacey (McCarthy, Falso) 4:59. Penalties — None.

Second Period — No Scoring. Penalties — Win, Lacey (hooking) 4:17; Win, Lepore (slashing) 10:20.

Third Period — Win, Houllahan (I.Wilson, O’Connell) 6:33 (pp). Win, Lepore (Kiley) 10:27. Penalties — Wak, Funicella (holding) 6:18; Win, Abbanat (roughing) 14:50; Wak, Lucey (roughing) 14:50; Win, Lepore (roughing) 14:50.

Shots on Goal — Wakefield 4-6-6 — 16. Winchester 9-4-15 — 28.

Power Plays — Wakefield 0 for 3. Winchester 1 for 1.

Goalies — Wak, Yandell (28 shots-25 saves). Win, Redler (16-16).


Saturday’s Game

At Kasabuski Arena

Watertown……….2  2  0 — 4

WAKEFIELD…….0  1  2 — 3


First Period — Wat, Poulin (Farrar, Giordano) 8:12. Wat, T.Gardiner (Poulin, Connors) 13:21 (pp). Penalties — Wat, Poulin (hooking) 9:48; Wak, Da. Melanson (tripping) 12:51; Wak, McNall, major, (boarding) 13:48.

Second Period — Wat, T. Gardiner (Connors, Martino) 1:11 (pp). Wat, T.Gardiner (Poulin) 2:08. Wak, Da.Melanson (Funicella, Harrington) 14:52. Penalties — Wat, Martino (hooking) 1:26; Wat, Connors (holding) 6:54; Wak, Harrington (cross-checking) 11:18; Wat, T.Gardiner (hooking) 11:20.

Third Period — Wak, Kane (Leary, Lucey) 1:30 (pp). Wak, Funicella (un.) 2:25. Penalties — Wat, T.Gardiner (slashing) :40; Wak, Kane interference) 12:09.

Shots on Goal — Watertown 26. Wakefield 33

Power Plays — Watertown 2 for 5. Wakefield 1 for 5.

Goalies — Wat, Hughes (33 shots-30 saves). Wak, Pugsley, Yandell (26-22).