Girls Hockey 2023-2024

JULIA WELCH earned a shutout in Wakefield’s win over Melrose on Senior Day this past Sunday. (Dan Pawlowski Photo)

By DAN PAWLOWSKI

STONEHAM — The Wakefield/Northeast girls’ hockey team hosted rival Melrose on Sunday at the Stoneham Arena for Senior Day. 

The Warriors celebrated the seven seniors — captains Maddie DeFeo, Fiona Recene and Gianna Scoppettuolo; Katie Bosworth, Alexis Biscoe, Erin Leary and Julia Welch — along with their families before shutting out Melrose 3-0 for their third win of the season and their second over Melrose to complete the season sweep. 

“Our seniors have all made this team a place that everyone feels comfortable joining,” said head coach Jacqui Mansfield. “It shows all of their character as leaders and I am very proud of the camaraderie they have built on this team.”

Welch was the player of the game in this one as the senior earned her second career shutout with multiple strong saves, never letting Melrose get back into the game while the offense did enough to give the Warriors the lead and never look back.

“Seeing her take on the role as our goalie junior year and all the effort and hard work that went into it…it was a great way to end her senior season,” said Mansfield of Welch. 

Scoppettuolo and DeFeo led a strong defensive effort from start to finish and Scoppettuolo also scored a goal for the Warriors. Leary added an assist in the win. 

Wakefield’s underclassmen also played well for their seniors as freshmen Sarah Aborn and Molly Burns each scored a goal while sophomore Rory McNeill had an assist. 

“The underclassman came to play for their seniors and showed their appreciation by everyone playing together and giving the effort we needed to shut Melrose out,” said Mansfield.

The Warriors continued their strong play the very next day as they welcomed Div. 1 Central Catholic to the Stoneham Arena on President’s Day. 

The two teams were far more even than the scoreboard showed after one period as Central took a 2-0 lead into the first break. Wakefield, who outshot the Raiders 31-21, had a 12-10 advantage after one but couldn’t break through sophomore goalie Sydney Foster who made 29 saves. 

Wakefield’s response in the second and third was admirable especially after Central went up 3-0 just 46 seconds into the middle frame. 

Leary scored with 8:48 left in the period on a rebound from a shot by McNeill to make it 3-1. Junior Maddy Taylor also assisted on the goal, her first of two helpers in this one.

Wakefield kept the pressure on, almost finding another right after. Later in the period, Molly Burns battled to get the puck pack in the offensive zone and nearly scored if not for another terrific stop by Foster. 

Welch seemed to respond to every big save from the Raider goalie making multiple breakaway stops including an acrobatic dive on Central’s star sophomore forward Lucy Irwin who created a multitude of chances all game. 

Welch’s effort kept her team in it, down only two going into the third.

The Warriors continued their all-out blitz to cut the deficit but Foster and Welch continued to keep it level through most of the final 15 minutes.

With 2:09 left, Molly Burns made it a one-goal game with a top-shelf finish from the right dot after receiving a pass from Taylor and beating a defender with some strong skating. 

Wakefield pulled Welch for an extra skater and came agonizingly close to an equalizer, at one point hitting the cross-bar but the Raiders were able to escape with a 3-2 win. 

Wakefield played their third game in three days yesterday back in Stoneham, coming up short 7-1 to league champion Burlington, the No. 3 ranked team in Div. 2. 

The Warriors will conclude their season with their fourth straight game tonight at 7:10 p.m. in a rematch against Central Catholic, 7:10 p.m. at the Breakaway Ice Arena in Tewksbury.