Warriors hang on for first win of season, edge Stoneham 4-3

SEVERAL MEMBERS of the Warrior boys’ hockey team celebrated after scoring a goal. Wakefield had more reason to celebrate at the end of the game as it earned its first victory of the season with a 4-3 triumph over Stoneham last night at the Kasabuski Arena. (Donna Larsson Photo)

SEVERAL MEMBERS of the Warrior boys’ hockey team celebrated after scoring a goal. Wakefield had more reason to celebrate at the end of the game as it earned its first victory of the season with a 4-3 triumph over Stoneham last night at the Kasabuski Arena. (Donna Larsson Photo)


SAUGUS — Wins have been hard to come by this season for the Warrior boys’ hockey team. So even though Wakefield earned its first victory of the season last night at the Kasabuski Arena, there were few anxious moments until the final buzzer as Stoneham had a couple of great scoring chances after pulling its goalie.

But in the end the Warriors hung on for a 4-3 triumph for their first win since the Kasabuski Christmas Tournament in 2013 against Saugus. This is Wakefield’s first Middlesex League Freedom division victory since the 2012-13 campaign.

Wakefield is now 1-10-3 overall and 1-9-1 in the M.L. Freedom division.

The Warriors trailed 2-1 after the first period but came out strong and scored two goals to take a 3-2 lead after the second frame. Wakefield scored the insurance goal early in the period and needed it as the Spartans got one back late and had a couple of great scoring bids in the final minute. That made the Wakefield fans quite anxious until the final buzzer and the Warriors celebrated their first victory in a long time.

“We got the monkey off our back,” said Head Coach John Pellerin who earned his first head coaching victory on the Warrior bench. “We finally got a win after playing a less than average first period. We had a strong second period and we held on at the end. Stoneham is a good team and when a team pulls its goalie for the 6-on-5, it is a matter of survival.”

Wakefield goalie Ben Yandell was strong in goal as he faced 27 shots and turned away 24 of them. He had several fine saves in the final minute and half as the Warriors held on for the win.

The Warriors also had good effort from two of their defenseman, junior captain Dylan Melanson and senior captain Jack Brown. Not only did both score goals in the contest on the power play but both also turned in some nice plays in their own end. Melanson also had an assist.

Wakefield defenseman Logan Dunn, a senior, also scored a goal and helped out with the defensive effort. Also playing well on defense were sophomore defenseman Ben Coccoluto, junior defenseman Steve Melanson and senior Derek Bye. Senior Dom Bruno was out with a knee injury.

Up front, Wakefield has solid efforts from senior captain Anthony Funicella and sophomore forward David Melanson. Funicella had an assist and Melanson had three assists. Also, senior forward Bryan Noyes had a goal.

“Anthony Funicella had a good game. He’s a senior and a leader out there,” said Pellerin. “David Melanson also had a huge game.”

The one area where Pellerin would like to see his team improve on is the number of penalties they took. Wakefield committed nine penalties and the Spartans were 1-for-7 with the man-advantage. Wakefield also had a cross-checking called on it in the third period but successfully killed off the four minute power play.

Stoneham’s first goal was scored with the man-advantage at 6:05 of the first period as the Warriors were whistled for three infractions in the first five and a half minutes. After killing off the first two, Stoneham made sure the third time was a charm.

Senior forward Anthony Cappuccio took a pass from senior forward Mike Halpin and blasted a shot into the right corner for a 1-0 Spartan lead.

Wakefield came back and tied the game at 1-1 at 8:47 on a man-advantage after Stoneham was penalized for the second time of the period for having too many men on the ice. Dylan Melanson took a pass at the left point and blasted a shot by sophomore goalie Brian Scarpa. Senior forward Joe Stackhouse and David Melanson had the assists.

The score remained 1-1 until Stoneham scored the go ahead goal at 14:23 of the first period to have a 2-1 lead at the break. Cappuccio collected a loose puck in the left circle and fired a wrist shot inside the right post.

The second period was perhaps Wakefield’s best of the game as it scored twice and controlled much of the play. The Warriors also outshot Stoneham, 7-5.

Wakefield tied the game at 2-2 at 1:27 of the second. From inside the offensive zone, David Melanson sent a pass back to Dunn at the point. Dunn one-timed a shot by Scarpa to knot the game up at 2-2.

The Warriors had two more penalties called on them and they had the best chance to score when Stackhouse broke in alone on Scarpa. Stackhouse fired a shot right at Scarpa defending the left post.

Wakefield also had a good bid shortly after as Dunn fired a shot from the right circle. But Scarpa squeezed the pads for the save.

The Warriors hard work paid off at 9:07 when Noyes tallied the third goal with senior forward Andrew Patti and Dylan Melanson earning the assists. There was a scramble on left side of the goal and Noyes fired home the puck as Wakefield led 3-2 after two periods.

The Warriors scored their second power play goal of the game (Wakefield went 2-for-5 with the man-advantage) as they scored the eventual game-winner at 6:16. Stoneham’s Eric Roberts was called for tripping at 5:03 and Wakefield took full advantage.

Brown scored the goal with David Melanson and Funicella earning the assists. Brown scored the goal from the left side with a wrist shot.

Shortly after, Dylan Melanson was sent off for four minutes for a cross-checking major. But despite a man-advantage for four minutes, Stoneham didn’t score. In fact, Wakefield had a great bid to put the game away for good as it had a 2-on-1 break while killing the penalty. Noyes made a pass across to the right side but the pass just missed.

“Killing off that four minute major saved our bacon,” said Pellerin.

But the Spartans got one back at 12:44 to ensure that this contest wasn’t going to be determined until the final buzzer. Halpin scored off a face-off in the right circle as he fired a puck off the right post and into the net. Sophomore forward Jake Paonessa took the face-off and earned the assist.

From there, the Warriors in full survival mode. Stoneham outshot Wakefield, 9-3, in the third with most of those coming in the final minute and half after Scarpa came off the ice.

“The kids have continued to work hard to mature under the new system and they continue to grow,” said Pellerin. “We’ll look to build on this against Andover tomorrow (Thursday) night and Wilmington on Saturday afternoon. The kids will enjoy the moment, it’s been a long time. I’m happy for them. They’re a good bunch of kids.”

The Warriors don’t have long to enjoy the victory as they have a non-league makeup game scheduled for tonight at 5 p.m. against Andover at the Lawrence Forum Rink.


At Kasabuski Arena, Saugus

Stoneham…………2  0  1 — 3

WAKEFIELD………1  2  1 — 4


First Period — Sto, Cappuccio (Halpin) 6:05 (pp). Wak, Dy.Melanson (Stackhouse, Da.Melanson) 8:47 (pp). Sto, Cappuccio (un.) 14:23. Penalties — Wak, Brown (interference) :38; Sto, Bench minor, (too many men), served by Cann, 1:21; Wak, Dunn (interference) 2:53; Wak, Funicella (hooking) 5:26; Sto, Bench minor, (too many men), served by Doherty, 8:35.

Second Period — Wak, Dunn (Da.Melanson) 1:27. Wak, Noyes (Patti, Dy.Melanson) 9:07. Penalties — Wak, Brown (slashing) 4:21; Wak, Yandell (roughing), served by McNall, 5:47; Wak, Noyes (elbowing) 10:10; Sto, Burridge (interference) 10:24.

Third Period — Wak, Brown (Da.Melanson, Funicella) 6:16 (pp). Sto, Halpin (Paonessa) 12:49. Penalties — Sto, Cappuccio (tripping) 2:46; Sto, Roberts (tripping) 5:03; Wak, Dy.Melanson, major, (cross-checking) 7:13; Sto, Sparco (roughing) 9:40; Wak, Stackhouse (roughing) 9:40; Wak, Stackhouse (high-sticking) 13:18; Sto, Richmond (interference) 13:18.

Shots on Goal — Stoneham 10-8-9 — 27. Wakefield 2-7-3 — 12.

Power Plays — Stoneham 1 for 7. Wakefield 2 for 5.

Goalies — Sto, Scarpa (12 shots-8 saves). Wak, Yandell (27-24).