St. John’s of Shrewsbury tops Melrose, 6-1

Published March 6, 2020

MELROSE RED Raider hockey fell to St. John’s of Shrewsbury 6-1 in the opening round of the Div. 1 North playoffs on Feb. 26. (Jeff Maté photo)


BILLERICA—The Melrose Red Raider hockey team’s playoff run ended in the opening round of the Div. 1 North bracket with a 6-1 loss to #11 seed St. John of Shrewsbury (10-8-5) on Feb. 26 at the Chelmsford Forum. Melrose (#6 seed) faced a Pioneers team who were stronger than advertised, with a deceptive record, and proved to be a formidable challenge for the Red Raiders.

Melrose finishes their season 11-8-3, after a remarkable turnaround that saw them go unbeaten in 9 of their last 10 games, a winning streak that saw them clinch a playoff spot and briefly find mention in Super 8 consideration. 

“It was a tough draw, and you’re looking at a team that, in my opinion, might be the Div. 1 State champs,” said Melrose head coach Vin Mirasolo after the game. “All three of their lines were tough. We were up against a lot.”

The Pioneers took the air out of the room early, with three goals in the first, including two from Brendan Doherty and Sean Clark just 30 seconds apart. They also had a lethal goalie in the form of senior Dan Laursen, who notched 24 saves. Melrose did their part with shots on net early from Cam Marks, Sean Senior and Brendan Fennell, but Laursen proved stingy. 

Melrose’s lone goal was a shot by Quinn McCarthy (on an assist by Brendan Fennell) who briefly made it a 2-1 game late in the first. But the Pioneer’s Griffin Burns scored on a scrum at the net to make it 3-1 and they didn’t look back.

It was a scoreless second period highlighted by some Melrose shot attempts by Brendan Fennell and TJ Sullivan, and quality saves by Melrose goalie Joe Shields. But it was a busy third for St. John’s who saw more goals from Sean Clark, Brendan Doherty and Evan Parente to bury Melrose, 6-1. 

Not the ending they were looking for, but it capped off another successful season for Melrose, who went from 3-6-2 to 11-7-3 entering postseason. 

“That’s the story right there,” says Mirasolo. “For the last 5 or 6 games this team played unbelievable hockey, were part of the Super 8 conversation. Our games against Malden Catholic and Burlington revealed our best efforts. That’s a tribute to the boys on this team. They battled hard, fought back and improved so much every game. It’s not the ending we wanted and I hate to say the loss is character building, but it was.” 

Melrose loses 8 seniors this season, including their captains, Andy Calvert, Joe Lucien and Cam Marks. Say goodbye also are seniors Cam Gorman, Ryan Morris, Joe Shields, Andy Martin and Pete Santos.

For Coach Mirasolo, it’s hats off to them.

“Every single senior, captain or not, gave us everything we needed. Cam Gorman was a great leader, Joey Shields stepped up when we asked him to, Ryan, Andy and Pete were awesome teammates. Our captains Cam Marks, Joe Lucien and Andy Calvert demonstrated leadership that will be hard to replace. This group of guys showed grit and character that was second to none. They will be missed.”