TYLER MUSE scored the winning overtime goal for Melrose in their epic win over Burlington, 1-0, at the Burlington Ice Palace on Saturday. (Nadia Del Sonno photo)



After press time: Melrose falls to Wilmington 3-1 (Feb 14)
Melrose falls to Stoneham 2-0 (Feb 17)



Published February 16, 2024

Winners of 2 out of 3 games has Melrose thinking playoffs 


BURLINGTON—After a frustrating start to the 2023-24 season, the Melrose High boy’s hockey team is peaking at the right time, winners of their last two of three games, and forcing overtime in others, which leaves them thinking post season thanks to power rankings that have them within the top 33 Div. 3 teams. At press time there were just three games left on the regular season schedule and should they maintain their pace, Melrose will get a post season run.

Melrose’s last 4 games have been impressive, with close losses to Wakefield (3-2 in OT)) and a narrow 2-1 loss to Div. 2 Top 5 seed Woburn, 2-1.

They made their journey to a potential post season all the more easy with an impressive 1-0 overtime shutout win over rival Burlington on Saturday, Feb. 10 at Burlington Ice Palace, one of their most impressive games this season, and it served as revenge for an earlier season loss to the Red Devils.

Melrose’s sole goal was served up by senior Tyler Muse, who came up clutch when the team needed him.

“Even before he scored Tyler probably played his best game of the year,” said Melrose head coach Joe Cicarello after the game. “He made good hockey plays, took care of the puck keeping it in safe places, and really motivated his line. That goal was developed because of the hard work line mate Justin Dantona displayed in the zone. He got hit earlier pretty hard but still made a great pass sending Tyler in for the score.”

The last meeting between Melrose and Burlington was another one goal game, but this time Melrose played a far disciplined game of hockey. While the coach contends that every player on the ice contributed, the chief of defense, goalie Matthew Fuccione, gets the nod from his coach. “It starts in net,” he said, “Matt Fuccione played really well. He made five bell saves that kept the game scoreless. He is really starting to find his game.”

Offensively, Melrose has relied on experience in getting to the net. Says the coach, “This time of year, you must lean on your leaders. That’s what we have been doing. Our most important factor is having good hockey habits. If our leaders do, we will follow.

The win comes on the heels of a tough loss to Wakefield on Feb. 7.

Melrose held a 3-0 lead on goals from Quinn Haggerty (unassisted) Charlie Hoskins (Jackson Burdick assist) and Tyler Muse (Colin Fahey assist) but saw Wakefield fire back to force overtime after the Warriors pulled their goalie and played 6 on 5. Warrior Frankie Leone took advantage of a questionable penalty call against Melrose in overtime for the game winner to make it a 4-3 final; a true heartbreak for Melrose.

“That really was a tough one. We played well 5-5 and were up 3-0 then let them back in the game with so many penalties,” says Ciccarello, who was glad to see them play more disciplined against the Red Devils. “We focused on how to be responsible to each other. What that means. Be a person other players can believe in. We need to focus on that. I believe we played like that against Burlington.”

As Melrose approaches the final lap on the regular season, they have plenty of hockey left to play and there is a feeling that they are finally hitting their stride.  “It’s all about our habits. We work hard, as hard as any team we play. We care. But what has got us in trouble is when we revert back to old habits. Lately, it’s starting to click. Hoping it continues this last week of season.”

Power Rankings have Melrose #28 in Div. 3 and there is reason to think they will stay within the playoff mix after their last three games of the year. “We know we are in the mix. It’s obvious a goal. But playing well next game is our new identity, and staying consistent is our main goal. The tourney will take care of itself if we focus on us.”

Melrose hopes to keep the winning going when they host Stoneham on Saturday at Kasabuski at 3:45 p.m. and Somerville on Wednesday at 7:45 p.m. for a regular season finale.