Warriors earn first league victory with 4-1 rout
Published in the February 9, 2017 edition
By JIM SOUTHMAYD
WILMINGTON – What a difference 10 days can make.
After dropping a close 2-1 game against Wilmington on Jan. 30, the Wakefield Memorial High boys’ hockey team turned the rematch into a one-sided affair as the Warriors netted three second period goals en route to a 4-1 triumph over the Wildcats last night at the Ristuccia Arena.
Wakefield earned its first Middlesex League Freedom division win of the season and its first league victory since a 3-1 win over Lexington at the beginning of last season. Wakefield is now 3-12-2 overall and 1-9-2 in the M.L. Freedom division.
The Warriors’ red line, which included forwards David Melanson, Anthony Forziati, and Tom Harrington, factored in all four goals. However it was freshman defenseman Chris Coombs first varsity goal which turned out to the game-winner.
None of the offensive display would’ve mattered if not for the heroic play of junior goalie Tyler Pugsley. Pugsley made 40 saves including many of the dazzling variety as the Wildcats did have some chances with several shots from point blank range. Pugsley faced 18 shots in the first period alone.
“We played well,” said coach Chris Gianatassio. “We scored three goals in the second period. We played a full three periods. We faced a lot of adversity with the power plays. We killed off that major in the first period which was big. Our penalty killing unit did a nice job. We tried to keep them on the outside and not give them any second chances.
“Our first star was Tyler Pugsley. He kept us in the game in that first period,” added Gianatassio. “He played the best game of his career. He came to play tonight.”
Pugsley was brilliant in the first period as Wilmington did control the play and had numerous chances. At 9:22, Harrington was assessed a four minute major penalty for boarding. But Wakefield was up to the task and didn’t really give the Wildcats many good scoring opportunities. When a shot did find its way to the net, Pugsley made the save.
As a result the first period ended in a 0-0 tie.
In the second period, the Wildcats controlled the play early. Dan Woods, a sophomore forward, was denied by Pugsley on a 2-on-1 break. Then senior captain Joshua Buske was denied on a bid in front. Pugsley even made a save on the rebound.
The tide began to turn shortly after that and Wakefield took a 1-0 lead at 5:55. The Warriors won the face-off in the left circle with Harrington, a sophomore, gaining control of the puck. He then dished off to Forziati, a sophomore, at the left post. Forziati easily fired the puck by junior goalie Ryan St. Jean.
Wilmington got the goal back 7:00 on a defensive breakdown. Sophomore forward Andrew Sullivan was left uncovered in front of the net. He took a pass from Woods and buried into the net. Junior forward Tom Worob also assisted on the play.
The game remained tied at 1-1, although the Warriors did have a couple of good bids while on a power play. In fact, one shot hit the post.
But at 12:25, the Warriors regained the lead. Forziati sent a pass back to Coombs at the right point. The freshman blasted a shot by St. Jean.
“It was his first varsity goal and it was the game-winner,” said Gianatassio.
The Warriors scored an insurance goal a 13:20 of the second period. Melanson, a senior captain, took the puck and skated in front of St. Jean. Melanson went to the backhand and shot it by the Wildcat junior. Forziati and Harrington assisted on the goal.
Late in the second period, sophomore Ryan Barrett took a pass at the blue line and had skated into the Wakefield zone on a partial breakaway. But he was denied by Pugsley as Wakefield took a 3-1 lead into the second intermission.
Wakefield continued its solid all-around play in the third period. On the lone penalty of the frame, Wilmington’s Joe Mirabella hit the post with a shot.
The only goal of the period came at 8:00 and it was scored by the Warriors. Forziati skated down the right wing and made a cross pass to Harrington in the left circle. Harrington then found Melanson skating down the middle. The senior took the pass and lit the lamp once again to make it 4-1.
After that it was a matter of preserving the lead which Wakefield did as it earned a hard fought victory.
“The red line of David Melanson, Tom Harrington, and Anthony Forziati accounted for every goal,” said Gianatassio. “They are beginning to click and it was nice to see them bury some goals. We’re happy to get the win and now we’ll get ready for Melrose on Saturday. We’ll look to finish the season strong.”
Wakefield faces the Red Raiders on Saturday at 6:50 p.m. at the Kasabuski Arena. The two teams played to a 2-2 tie in the first meeting.
At Ristuccia Arena, Wilmington
WAKEFIELD……..0 3 1 – 4
Wilmington……….0 1 0 – 1
– No Scoring. Penalties – Wak, Harrington, major, (boarding) 9:22.
Second Period – Wak, Forziati (Harrington) 5:55. Wil, Sullivan (Woods, Worob) 7:00. Wak, Coombs (Forziati) 12:25. Wak, Melanson (Forziati, Harrington) 13:20. Penalties – Wak, Iannuzzi (head contact) 4:43; Wil, Buske (roughing) 7:50; Wil, Benoit (roughing) 7:50; Wak, Forziati (roughing) 7:50.
– Wak, Melanson (Harrington, Forziati) 8:00. Penalties – Wak, Harrington (tripping) 3:06.
Shots on Goal
– Wakefield 2-8-6 – 16. Wilmington 18-14-9 – 41.
– Wakefield 0 for 1. Wilmington 0 for 3.
– Wak, Pugsley (41 shots-40 saves). Wil, St. Jean (15 shots-11 saves); Wil, Bowker (12:11, 3rd, 1-1).