Melrose hopes to return to playoffs in 2016-17
Published in the December 16, 2016 edition
By JENNIFER GENTILE
MELROSE — The Melrose Red Raider hockey program opens its winter season this week, hoping to start the season off with a win when they take on Belmont on Wednesday (post deadline) on the road.
After several straight years of playoff runs, Melrose took one step back in 2015-16, winning just three games over the season. And while playing in (arguably) the best league in the state is challenging, last year ultimately proved to be a rebuilding one. One year later, Melrose is poised to elevate their game on the ice with a team which has matured and worked on chemistry.
Melrose is led by senior captains Cal MacDonald, Matt McKenzie and Connor Crovo. Melrose has three goalies who will contend for starting duty, including returning goalie Matt Bowers. Junior Colin Kiernan and sophomore Mark Dewling will likely see time at the net too.
According to head coach Vin Mirasolo, the team is a work in progress but he likes what he sees. “We’re continuing to develop. I’m happy with this group. I’ve seen good things in the last two weeks of practice, a certain maturity. I’m happy with the attitudes, work ethic and willingness to put team first.”
Melrose’s lines consist of Cal MacDonald, Matt Campagna and Cam Marks, followed by Shane Correale, Matt McKenzie, Jack Aylwood and Darwin Anderson, Connor Crovo and Shea Champagne. New players include Andrew Calvert, Cam Gorman, while Zack Farrell and Danny Broderick return. On defense expect to see work from Cody Porcello, Adam Baines and Liam Crovo, along with transfers Cam McKenzie and Charlie Finimo and returnee Matt Ingalls.
Melrose will battle all season with some of the best talent in the state: Burlington competed in the Super 8 last year, while Reading had a play in game. Meanwhile, Arlington is the pick of the league this season, so for Mirasolo’s squad, there is never a night off.
“Our goal would be to make the state tournament, make some noise,” he says. “But it’s going to require them continuing to develop. The leadership is there and the mindset too. They’re getting better every day.”