THE WARRIORS have been preparing for the state tournament for quite some time now but their 10th win over Danvers on Monday secured them an automatic bid. Ranked 9th in the latest MIAA power rankings, Wakefield is all but guaranteed to host a first round game next week. Seedings for the tournament are expected to be announced on Saturday. (Marc Gagne Photo)

 

By MARC GAGNE

STONEHAM — The Wakefield High School boys’ hockey team got back to its winning ways on Presidents Day during an intense game with Danvers High School that included fans of all ages. The victory moved the Warriors up in the rankings shortly before the start of the state tournament. Wakefield has essentially been in the Div. 2 tournament for most of the season according to the MIAA’s power rankings but they secured an automatic bid on Monday with their 10th win.

The game started off with a a few opportunities for Wakefield, including shots from Bobby DeFeo and captain Joey O’Brien, along with two offensive zone face-offs won by Wakefield, but no goals were scored.

 

JONATHAN GUIDA got the win at the Stoneham Ice Arena on President’s Day as his Warriors beat Danvers 3-2 for their 10th win of the season. Guida had 18 saves in the victory. (Marc Gagne Photo)

 

An exciting play resulted when a Danvers player blocked a Wakefield shot and passed it to his teammate who drove up the ice toward goalie Jonathan Guida. Guida smartly handled this one-on-one situation and saved a goal from being scored. Danvers did score its first goal shortly after, however, to take the lead 1-0.

Wakefield was able to tie the score at 1-1 quickly when Ryan Rossini’s deflected shot was taken up by DeFeo who shot and scored unassisted. Guida had two more nice saves that prevented Danvers from taking the lead. To close out the first period, O’Brien and DeFeo had some good shots on net.

There was little action in the second period, and both teams played very well defensively during this time, keeping the score at 1-1. More shots on goal were made by O’Brien, DeFeo and also Dan Mailhoit. Danvers had some chances to score as well, but many more saves from Guida stopped them, even in one-on-one situations.

With 22 seconds left in the second period, a penalty was called on Nate Brissette, leaving Wakefield shorthanded for the start of the third period. O’Brien came close to scoring near the beginning of the third period when he dribbled through a few Danvers defenders, but he couldn’t get the puck past the Danvers goalie. Wakefield successfully killed the power-play, restoring the 5 on 5 matchup.

 

BOBBY DEFEO (9) and Evan Simoneau (12) will get ready for the Div. 2 state tournament next week. DeFeo had a goal and an assist in Wakefield’s 3-2 win over Danvers on President’s Day. (File Photo)

 

Both teams had back-to-back impressive defensive plays in the second period, keeping the score tied at 1-1.

Five minutes into the third period, Rossini was called for tripping. Fortunately, Wakefield took the lead while shorthanded when Michael Parent shot from far away, and the puck went in off of the Danvers goalie’s glove, making the score 2-1. The goal was assisted by DeFeo and O’Brien. To strengthen the lead, Brissette shot the puck into the left side of the goal, assisted by Rossini and Malhoit, lifting the Warriors to a 3-1 lead.

Danvers bounced back after this and scored their second goal on a shot made from right in front of the net, narrowing the lead to 3-2. With a minute left in the game, Danvers pulled their goalie to have a better chance at scoring a tying goal. Wakefield attempted a shot from the opposite end of the rink, which went just wide of the goal.

In the last seconds of the game, Wakefield players stood in front of the net to prevent any last-minute shots from going in. A Danvers player fired a final shot with three seconds left in the game, but it was saved by Guida to give Wakefield the victory.

Senior captain Evan Simoneau said that the team was “extra fired up” during the game because there were youth program players watching and Guida was in the net, so they really wanted to get the win for both. The team is excited for the playoffs which are expected to start next week. The Warriors were ranked No. 9 in the MIAA’s latest Div. 2 power rankings.