Recent wins make them Freedom Div. leaders
Published in the January 22, 2016 edition
By JENNIFER GENTILE
MELROSE — The Melrose High School girls’ hockey team is in cruise control after winning 2 of 3 games this week, including a 6-2 victory over Stoneham and a 1-0 shutout against former co-op partner Watertown on Jan. 13. Melrose (6-4, 5-3 in league) has already earned more than half the points needed to qualify for what they hope will be their third straight playoff appearance.
According to Melrose coach Sam Tetreau, the team is hitting their stride, perfecting their skills and improved on defense. “Offense really hasn’t been a problem, we have an abundance of scoring. What I see different now is an improved defensive zone positioning. They are nailing the small things, executing from the defensive zone.”
At goal, Melrose’s Courtney O’Connor continues a strong performance at the net, including earning a 1-0 shutout over Watertown last week. “Courtney is just a freshman but she is doing great under the pressure at the position. She’s our only goalie, so it’s hard for her to have an off game or even to be sick. She’s a tough girl.”
Offensively, Melrose has seen goals from Jill Mercer (who scored the lone goal over Watertown) along with Sam Kroon, Rachel DiFraia and Katy Perry, who lead the team in scoring. But it’s been a collection of Lady Raiders that are putting points on the board. “This team is not afraid of scoring, they always find the net,” says the coach.
Tetreau considers playing in both Div. 1 and in the Middlesex League a challenge but nothing they are intimidated by. “The Middlesex League really is the best public school league in the state. Even when we lose to a team like Reading, this only makes these young players stronger, more experienced and ready for playoffs.”
This season it appears that Burlington will be Melrose’s chief rival in their quest for their first ever league title. The Red Devils are the only Freedom team Melrose has lost to this season but a rematch is scheduled for Feb. 3, and it could be a winner-take-all event. “The league is really anyone’s game,” says the coach.
Tetreau acknowledges a tough stretch of schedule coming up with Woburn (10-2) scheduled for Saturday, followed by St. Mary’s and Winchester. The Lady Raiders may not win all of them but every game is one more chance to prepare for what they hope will be another playoff run.
‘We are studying the game, watching video and they know they need to show up to win. How far they want to go is up to them.”