Warriors prove to be a gracious host against Watertown, lose 5-1 contest
By DAN BYRNE
SAUGUS— Saturday evening the Wakefield High School varsity boys’ hockey team welcomed Watertown to the Kasabuski Arena for three periods of Middlesex League action.
Wakefield entered the contest seeking its first victory of the season, but at the final buzzer the Warriors are still looking as the Red Raiders defeated the Warriors by a 5-1 margin.
Things went south early for the Warriors as Watertown took the lead at 3:42 in the first period. Watertown had control in the attacking end when Nick Giordano linked up with Tyler Gardiner who found Tyler Poulin. Poulin was then able to beat Wakefield goalie Ben Yandell and put Watertown ahead 1-0.
It wasn’t long before Watertown doubled its lead, and Giordano notched his second assist as he fed Brendan Berkeley to make it 2-0 Red Raiders.
It went from bad to worse for Wakefield before the intermission, as Nick Martino took a Poulin pass and put it by Yandell to make it 3-0 Watertown.
Watertown kept its momentum rolling after the break as it looked to deliver the knockout blow to a Wakefield team that was really struggling to keep up with the speed of the opposing skaters.
Just over two minutes into the second period, Gardiner made it 4-0.
Wakefield deserved credit for putting forth its maximum effort, but the Warriors were no match for Watertown on Saturday night.
Trailing 4-0 with the second intermission approaching, the Warriors had a chance to get one back as they went on the power-play at 12:02 when Watertown’s Daniel Farrar was called for a hooking penalty.
Wakefield had its best opportunity to get back into the game with the man-advantage, and in the 1:30 of the penalty, rifled off a handful of shots but was unable to score on Watertown goalie Anthony Busconi.
To make matters worse, as the penalty expired at 13:32, Watertown’s Jeff Comeau pounced on a loose puck in the neutral zone. When he gained possession there was no defender between him and Yandell. Before one could blink, Comeau scored and it was 5-0 at the end of two periods.
Down 5-0, Wakefield came out gunning in the third period, and turned the heat up on Busconi in the Watertown goal.
The Red Raiders’ senior captain was up to nearly every test the Warriors threw at him, making saves on 11 out of 12 shots in the third.
Wakefield did manage to break the ice as James McAuliffe led Anthony Funicella in front of the goal with a beautiful lead pass. The Warriors’ junior captain was able to light the lamp for his team and bring it to 5-1.
Wakefield outscored Watertown 1-0 in the third, but it wasn’t enough as the Red Raiders had established an commanding lead in the first two periods.
On the bright side for Wakefield, the Warriors were able to play a relatively clean game with only three penalties – one in each period.
The issue for the Warriors on Saturday was that they came out flat to start periods one and two. Once they were down five goals, they were unable to score enough to dig themselves out of the hole.
The Warriors have some time to rest before their next game with the winter weather postponing school on Monday and their non-league game against Andover. But they will no doubt be ready to roll on Wednesday as they take on Stoneham in a rematch of what was one of the closest and toughest games of the year when the Warriors fell to the Spartans in early January. That game is at 5:30 p.m. at the Kasabuski.
At Kasabuski Arena, Saugus
Watertown……….3 2 0 — 5
WAKEFIELD…….0 0 1 — 1
First Period — Wat, Poulin (Gardiner, N.Giordano) 3:42 (pp). Wat, Berkeley (N.Giordano) 4:37. Wat, M.Giordano (Poulin) 12:11. Penalties — Wak, Marino (unsportsmanlike conduct) 2:48.
Second Period — Wat, Gardiner (Farry, Poulin) 2:13 (pp). Wat, Comeau (un.) 13:35. Penalties — Wak, Melanson (holding) 2:00; Wat, Farrar (tripping) 12:02.
Third Period — Wak, Funicella (McAuliffe) 13:55. Penalties — Wat, Connors (tripping) :25; Wat, Giordano (roughing) 11:34; Wak, Hill (cross-checking) 11:34.
Shots on Goal — Watertown 26. Wakefield 21.
Power Plays — Watertown 2 for 2. Wakefield 0 for 2.
Goalies — Wat, Busconi (16 shots-15 saves); Wat, Hughes (5-5). Wak, Yandell (23-18); Wak, Pugsley (3-3).