Published in the February 15, 2019 edition


MEDFORD — Success is often determined by a response to adversity.

The Wakefield High girls’ hockey team has a decision to make after falling to Melrose 6-1 on Wednesday at Flynn Rink. They can let it bring their spirits down or they can use it as fuel for their final two games of the season.

“It was not the outcome we wanted at all,” said Wakefield head coach Chrissy Weeden. “I wish the score was not indicative of how we played, but it was. Our message after the game was simple: The past 18 games are over and we now have game 19 Saturday. We are refocusing on that game only.”

Melrose put home two nearly identical goals in the first with Wakefield goalie Abby Boudreau diving out to disrupt oncoming rushes and the puck somehow crossing the line once the dust settled.

Melrose put in another two in the second period, the first on a shorthanded breakaway and the next after a relentless attack on the power play. Boudreau battled for what felt like an eternity of nonstop rushes for the Red Raiders on that power play and made six saves all within the span of a minute before the Warrior penalty killers ran out of gas and couldn’t clear the puck as Melrose finally found the back of the net to take a 4-0 lead with 5:13 left in the frame.

The third was better for Wakefield as Caroline Lilley scored on a lob shot over the goalie with assists to captain Brooke Lilley and associate captain Hope Melanson, but Melrose would finish as strong as they started with two more goals in the third.

Now for the good news: Wakefield can qualify for the tournament by winning the final two games of the season, starting tomorrow at 4 p.m. against Stoneham at the Stoneham Arena.

“The Stoneham game for us is a huge opportunity to finish what we started from game one,” said Weeden. “We have the chance to extend our season and it should be a situation that makes the girls excited.”

Prior to Wednesday night’s game, the Warriors had found a little bit of that swagger they had earlier in the season with five points in their previous three games against Burlington, Watertown and Wilmington. That run snapped a four-game losing streak in what has been a roller coaster season.

To accomplish their goal of a postseason appearance, Wakefield will count on leaders like captain Brooke Lilley who was recently named the Wakefield High School January Student Athlete of the Month. It’s a recognition not just for all the goals and assists, but for Lilley’s leadership, hard work and attitude.

Now, the Warriors need a similar team-wide perspective.

“The one key to our game Saturday is definitely to bring back the Wakefield we were early on in the season,” said Weeden. “We need to bring back our grit, drive and our never-give-up attitude and collectively need to play together for all three periods. We are a team that definitely has its ups-and-downs, but I have no doubt we can get the job done.”

Wakefield lost to Stoneham 2-0 on New Year’s Day. On Tuesday, they host Marblehead, 11 a.m. back at the Stoneham Arena.