Published in the February 17, 2017 edition
By JENNIFER GENTILE
MELROSE—It is a fight-to-the-finish for the Melrose High girls’ hockey team, who are looking to lock in a post season spot. With three games remaining on the schedule, every contest counts for Melrose, who are 7-9-1 on the season overall, with 15 points out of 20 earned towards playoff qualification.
One critical game will be their match up against Stoneham this Saturday evening. In order to return to another post season Melrose (6-7-1 league) will need to beat the Spartans (7-5-2 league) when they play at 6:00 p.m. at Stoneham Arena.
Melrose helped their cause with a win over Wilmington on February 4 when they beat the Wildcats, 5-1. The Lady Raiders scored their first goal by Darby Rich (asst. by Emma Sikora and Saoirse Connolly), followed by a goal from Rachel DiFraia (asst. by Jill Mercer). Anna McCluskey made it a 3-0 game (asst. by Rachel DiFraia and Emma Sikora) and Melrose’s fourth goal came courtesy of an unassisted effort by Jill Mercer. Melrose’s 5th and final goal was by Kelly Stanton (asst. by Emma Lynch-Gavin and Jill Mercer).
Head coach Samantha Tetreau was proud of the team’s effort. “We played a very strong game from start to finish. Everyone was a crucial part to this win. Courtney O’Connor, our goalie, played amazing as usual. We broke out of our D zone strong and kept getting the puck to the net.”
Only four days later on Feb. 8, Melrose traveled to Burlington and lost to the Red Devils, 6-4. The Red Devils brought a tough offense courtesy of Rylee Glennon, who had four goals over the evening. Melrose kept up for the most part with scores from Saiorse Connolly (asst. Emma Sikora and Anna McCluskey) Anna McCluskey (asst. by Emma Sikora and Saoirse Connoly) Emma Lynch-Gavin (asst. by Jill Mercer) and Rachel DiFraia (asst by Saoirse Connolly.)
Melrose remained in the game, down 5-4, before an empty-netter by the Red Devils sealed the deal.
“This was a heartbreaking game,” says the coach. “Unfortunately, we had a goal called back which would have originally tied the game up. Our girls played hard until the end and did not give up. Burlington capitalized when they needed to and ended up with the win. It was a close game and I applaud both teams for their efforts.”
The Lady Raiders fared no better against a very tough Shrewsbury (14-2) team on Feb. 11, falling 3-0. The Colonials had already qualified for playoffs and remain undefeated in their league, making it stiff competition for Melrose.
“This was another heartbreaking loss. We played amazing this game. Bounces just did not go our way. We had some bad breaks, hitting the posts and early whistles to call back another goal. We overall played very well. Shrewsbury is one of the best teams that we have played this season and we were right there with them. They just capitalized on their opportunities and we didn’t.”
Melrose now faces three must-win games in order to qualify for playoffs. They also can achieve that with 2 wins and a tie. Only time will tell if coach Tetreau and the Lady Raiders will return to playoffs in what would be their fourth straight appearance.
Wed. Feb 15 v. Watertown, 6
Sat. Feb 18 v. Stoneham, 6
Wed. Feb 22 v. Peabody/Lynnfield 5:15