Melrose picks up a win in first week of play
Published in the December 25, 2015 edition
By JENNIFER GENTILE
MELROSE — After three years of coaching under the guidance of Melrose head coach Vin Mirasolo, the MHS Red Raider hockey team has become a playoff staple, flirted with Super 8 contention and has pulled off plenty of upsets in the last few seasons. This year, the Raiders arrive on ice with youthful talent poised to continue the winning tradition.
In a recent interview, Melrose head coach Vin Mirasolo acknowledged their recent success. “We’ve enjoyed great seasons while I have coached and we are hoping to continue it.”
Last year Melrose posted a 12-4-5 record thanks to tough athleticism of their seniors, most of whom were aggressive, three-sport athletes. Melrose was ultimately knocked out in post season against eventual Div. 1 State champ, Reading, 5-3. This season Melrose will count on players who could be considered “hockey first” athletes who will look to make a dent in an always-tough Middlesex League which includes many Division 1 heavyweights.
On the roster this season are senior captain Steve Guttadauro, seniors Kyle Sikora, Alex Burton, Jacob Kleis, Sean Connolly, Jarrett Janeiro, Zac Phipps; juniors Connor Crovo, Matt Bowers, Cal MacDonald, Matt McKenzie, Mike Shea, Shane Correale, Matt Champagne, Shea Champagne, Jack Alyward; sophomores Darwin Anderson, Colin Kiernan, Jack Wells, and freshmen Adam Bain, Cody Porcello, Mark Dewling and Liam Crovo.
Leading the team this year as captain is senior Steven Guttadauro, who already has a hat trick under his belt during the Raiders’ 5-3 victory over Medford on Monday, while teammate Mike Shea had two goals. During Melrose’s loss to Belmont on Dec. 16, it was Sikora who scored Melrose’s lone goal, while in pre-season play Melrose saw goals from Cal MacDonald, Darwin Anderson, Kyle Sikora and Jack Wells. Melrose’s first line so far this season has involved a presence of Guttadauro, Sikora, Anderson and Wells. According to the coach, the lines are ever-changing. “Changing by the second,” he replies. “It’s a matter of getting everyone play time and finding the right unit that will get goals in the net.”
Melrose (1-2) finds strength in their youth, according to Mirasolo. “We’re in the process of finding our way but we have young players in new positions and that’s not a bad thing.”
At the net, junior Matt Bowers will serve as goalie, replacing departing talent, Tyler Brown. Bowers saw play time last year and should see some defensive help from Alex Burton, Sean Connolly, Adam Bain, Jack Kleis and Liam Crovo.
Melrose has always battled with the best in the Middlesex League, the toughest public school league in the state, and this year will be no exception. Expect Melrose to fight off teams like Wilmington, Reading, Arlington and Watertown for the privilege of advancing to post season. According to Mirasolo, any of those teams could land in Super 8 contention, so there will be no rest for Melrose, who see plenty of time against them during the next few months.
Three games into the season, it’s been Guttadauro, Shea and Sikora who have found the net for Melrose but their coach expects more widespread scoring. “We’re focusing on distributing goals but also getting defense to the level we were at last season if we want to be successful in a tough division.”
Once again Melrose will take part in the Kasabuski Annual Holiday Classic on Monday, Dec. 28 and Tuesday, Dec. 29 at Kasabuski Rink in Saugus; a perfect opportunity for Melrose fans to see them in action. Melrose will battle Winthrop and Andover in tourney play with a time TBD.