SENIOR CAPTAIN Abby Boudreau (33) made 28 saves against Medfield/Norton yesterday. Also pictured clearing the puck are defenders, senior captain Olivia Johnsen (23) and freshman Maddy Taylor (16). (Dan Pawlowski Photo)


STONEHAM — The Wakefield High girls’ hockey team hosted Medfield/Norton at the Stoneham Arena yesterday. Wakefield skated close with the Hornets, but came up just short by a 2-1 score.

“Today’s game was our best, as a team, to date,” said head coach Jacqui Mansfield, a Wakefield High and Warrior hockey alum who is in her second season in charge of the program. “The entire team showed up to play today and we were much more consistent than we had been in the first few games.”

The Warriors trailed 1-0 after one period but bounced back with a power play goal from sophomore Julia Welch, assisted by junior Charlotte Rossicone and 8th grader Rory McNeill early in the 2nd period. Medfield scored on their own power play later in the period to take a 2-1 advantage that Wakefield couldn’t even in a scoreless 3rd.

“Emma Johnsen and Yana Herzog had a few chances down Medfield’s end but we just have to find a way to get more offensive chances and make more emphasis on putting pucks on the net,” said Mansfield. “Medfield outshot us, especially in the first period and that’s something we need to change if we want to win games.”

The Hornets outshot Wakefield 30-9 in this one. Senior goalie Abby Boudreau made 28 saves, many worthy of the highlight reel.

“Abby Boudreau had a great game and made some bigs saves for us,” said Mansfield. “Along with Charlotte Rossicone playing disciplined in our end we had a solid defensive game.”

One of Boudreau’s best came in the 1st on a strong push from left to right to square up a shot. The Warriors killed a penalty with 7:20 to go in the period thanks first to a good recovery and clear from Welch and Rossicone, then on a senior Bailey McDevitt clear after a nice back check from McNeill. Boudreau stopped a breakaway bid and the Warriors had a few nice shot blocks in the period from seniors Olivia Johnsen and Kayli Porter but the Hornets finally broke through after some all-out pressure with 1:45 left in the frame.

Wakefield’s 2nd period was the best of the game. Welch’s goal came after some tough work in deep by Rossicone and McNeill who both battled and stayed patient to create the chance for Welch in front on the advantage.

As the Warriors’ skating and intensity picked up, so did their chances. Olivia Johnsen had a nice keep at the blue line and sophomore Fiona Recene had some nifty maneuvering below the goal line to create another chance that was just missed.

A Wakefield penalty with 8:15 left in the period was all the Hornets needed as they pounced just 17 seconds into the power play to regain the lead.

Olivia Johnsen later started a rush with a nice outlet pass through the neutral zone and McNeill gave the Warrior fans a glimpse of her talent, masterfully protecting the puck along the half boards and getting it deep before she was robbed on a backhand bid in front.

Boudreau finished the period in style with two incredible saves to keep her team within striking distance.

That distance never closed in the 3rd. After being outshot just 8-5 in the 2nd, Wakefield couldn’t keep pace in the 3rd as the visitors won the shot battle 11-3 in the final frame. Wakefield’s second power play chance couldn’t convert and although they had some chances, the Warriors came up just short.

Wakefield fell to 0-4 on the season. It’s been a challenging start against multiple strong teams including Lexington, Woburn and Westwood.

The Warriors will lean on their captains, Boudreau, Olivia Johnsen and Maeve Recene to lead them through the tough start and into the heart of a more normal schedule than last year’s 10-game slate which Wakefield is certainly excited about.

Mansfield is especially excited for her seven seniors.

“Each one of the seniors works hard and sets a great example for the younger girls in terms of work ethic,” said Mansfield.

That even includes Recene, who is out with an injury.

“Maeve has really shown her dedication to the team,” said the coach. “She has stepped up as a a leader on the bench during games.”

The Warriors have a nice balance of strong defenders and talented playmakers this season.

“I’m looking for Bailey McDevitt to lead our offense with help from seniors Emma Johnsen, Yana Herzog and Kayli Porter,” said Mansfield. “We received an 8th grade waiver this season and welcomed Rory McNeill to our team. She will be one to watch in front of the net for scoring chances.

“Maddy Taylor, our only freshman, has been a solid addition to our defense. She has paired well with Charlotte Rossicone and Olivia Johnsen on the blue line.”

In addition to a more typical 20-game season, the Warriors are happy to have fans back in the stands, something that was noticeable during Wakefield’s comeback bid in the 3rd period yesterday.

“With such a large class of seniors, I am happy to have most things back to normal after last season,” said Mansfield. “To have their family and friends in the stands is a huge thing they missed out on last year.”

The ability to exist more as a team this season is something that will help Mansfield and her staff accomplish their first goal for their players: make it a season to remember.

“As far as goals for our season the first is I want my team to have a great experience that they can look back on and enjoy their memories as a part of a team. With restrictions lifted on team bonding, this will be easier this season.”

The second goal is another that couldn’t possibly be accomplished last season because it didn’t exist.

“My second goal is for us qualify for the state tournament,” said Mansfield. “It’s a great goal to work towards and makes us accountable for each game we play.”

Wakefield will get to work on that goal, starting in practice this week as they prepare for their first Freedom Division opponent: Watertown on Sunday, 11 a.m. back at the Stoneham Arena.

“We have a stretch between now and our next game on Sunday versus Watertown,” said Mansfield. “I plan to work on our wing positioning and scoring chances so we come ready to win after the new year.”