ABBY BOUDREAU has made an immeasurable number of huge saves for the Warriors this season. That was the case again on Tuesday night in the playoffs against Norwood when the sophomore kept Wakefield in it for three periods and two overtimes. (Beth Boudreau Photography)

Published in the February 27, 2020 edition.

WALPOLE — The best games masterfully combine an unknown outcome with a known effort.

With no doubts about the exertion of both teams, a double overtime playoff hockey game will be heartbreaking for one.

The Wakefield High girls’ hockey team has no doubts about their effort against Norwood in a Div. 2 state preliminary round game on Tuesday night.

The road Warriors traveled 42 miles in rush hour to Rodman Arena in Walpole and were even with the Mustangs for over 60 minutes of hockey before Norwood finally ended it 2-1 in double overtime.

“It was a heartbreaker,” said head coach Chrissy Weeden. “We left everything we possibly could on the ice.”

Sophomore goalie Abby Boudreau was the first star of the game, keeping Wakefield in it all night and refusing to let the Mustangs run away with it.

“Abby couldn’t have been any better,” said Weeden. “She was saving shot after shot. There were moments when I didn’t even know how she was seeing the puck and how she was making the saves she was. We wouldn’t have had the season we did without her.”

After a scoreless first, both teams tallied goals in the second period. Wakefield’s shift of captains Hope Melanson and Sarah Melanson, Olivia Johnson, Caroline Melanson and Bailey McDevitt lit the lamp to tie it up and Boudreau helped keep it even going into the third.

The stalemate was only just getting started as the two teams would battle for shooting lanes in the next 30 minutes. Through the chaos, Wakefield stayed tough. In many ways it was a microcosm of the season. The Warriors fought through ups and downs to accomplish their goals including a spot in the tournament as well as a Freedom Division championship.

“This season was quite a ride,” said Weeden about her second season at the helm of Wakefield hockey. “I am most proud of the way we started, the way we got through our slump, and ultimately the most proud of how we really did some digging late in the season to finish strong.

“The top two goals the team made early in the season was to make the tournament and win the league – we did just that. If season two with this team is any indication of the future, we are going to have a bright one.”

Wakefield started by beating Reading for the first time in recent memory if not program history, and went on to start their campaign by going 6-2-3. A six-game losing streak against some of the Middlesex League’s best teams put Wakefield’s goals in jeopardy but the Warriors bounced back with wins against Wilmington and Stoneham/Melrose as a well as a tie against Winthrop to bring their total record to 8-8-4.

Along the way, Wakefield was led by six seniors who will leave a lasting legacy. Caroline Melanson, Hope Melanson, Carestin Stewart, Erin Heffernan, Sophia Rossicone and Annabella Forziati have helped turn a struggling program into one with a very bright future. Many of them have been on the team for five seasons, getting varsity experience as middle schoolers and working hard to not only improve the output on the ice, but also create a great team culture off it.

“The seniors are leaving big shoes to fill,” said Weeden. “Graduating six girls will be a big number, but they’ve brought the program in the direction we want it going and we plan on keeping it going in that direction.”

Wakefield wasn’t necessarily projected to be a league champion or a tournament team in 2020. They weren’t expected to be the first Warrior team since 2009 to get a playoff win. And though they came agonizingly close, this year’s team has a set a precedent for future teams to follow.

“Prior to the season, we knew the odds were stacked against us. Each girl worked so hard to make sure that not a single team underestimated us or took us lightly every game,” said Weeden. “The season did not end the way we wanted it to, but I am proud to coach this team and so proud of everything the 21 girls on our bench accomplished.”