Playoffs in sight after Melrose’s 5-1 Wilmington win

Published February 7, 2020

By JENNIFER GENTILE

MELROSE—Don’t look now, but the Red Raider hockey team is riding a five-game winning streak and is currently just over one win away from a playoff bid. 

After a slow start to the season, Melrose is now 8-5-2 and has earned 18 points towards playoff qualification and, with 5 games left on the radar, they hope to maintain the pace and compete in the Div. 1 North tourney. They need three more points to get in. 

According to Melrose coach Vin Mirasolo, a contributory effort by all three of the team’s lines has made the difference in the last few weeks. That was on display in the team’s 5-1 win over Wilmington on Sat. Feb. 2 at Woburn Arena. The victory put Melrose within three points of earning a playoff spot in the Div. 1 North field. 

Melrose had plenty of offensive contributors in the game, starting with senior Joe Lucien, who kicked things of with Melrose’s first goal (fed on an assist by Brendan Fennell and Charlie Haggerty.) Melrose’s Sean Senier scored next from assists by Will Pierce and Cam Marks to give Melrose a 2-0 lead after the first. The Red Raiders made it a 3-1 game when Will Pierce scored from an assist by Andy Calvert and Sean Senier and Melrose took that lead into the third.

CAM MARKS and the Melrose Red Raiders have their eye on playoffs. (Jeff Maté photo)

In the third, Melrose scored their fourth goal when Brendan Fennell found the net on assists by Quinn McCarthy and Charlie Haggerty. Finally, a goal by Cam Gorman on assists by Joey O’Keefe and TJ Sullivan ended the game 5-1. 

After the game, coach Mirasolo saluted the overall team effort. “I thought all our three lines worked great. And once again, our third line really came through. Each set worked very well with each other. Wilmington is a hard-nosed team and they love to forward check, but I thought that we controlled the puck well in the neutral zone.” 

He also credited Melrose goalie Joe Shield who earned another win at the net. “He’s 4-0 on the season, with an average of 2.29 goals against. He’s really making the most of his minutes.”

Melrose has five games left to earn three points towards playoffs. That’s one win and a tie, or three ties at a minimum. And while the competition is tough in the home stretch (Malden Catholic, Xaverian, Burlington are on tap) it just so happens that Melrose is peaking at the right time. 

Says the coach, “I’m looking forward to a rematch with Burlington. Last time, it was a one-goal game. We’re playing our best hockey right now and when we come to play, we can compete with anyone. “

Catch Melrose in action this Saturday night against Malden Catholic at Stoneham Arena at 8:00 p.m. 

Middlesex Freedom Standings

                    League  Overall

Burlington     7-2-2  11-3-2 

Melrose         6-5-1  8-5-2 

Wakefield      5-6-1  8-6-2 

Wilmington    4-6-1  8-7-1 

Stoneham     1-8-1   5-8-1