Beat Peabody 11-1, play NR in final today

Published in the December 27, 2019 edition.


SAUGUS — Kasabuski never felt so warm.

The Wakefield High boys’ hockey team, playing in the second of three games for the annual Kasabuski Christmas Classic yesterday morning, didn’t waste any time building the coals, a goal one minute and 28 seconds into the game sparking a fire that stayed lit through a five-goal second period and finally put out by the crew at the Kas with the smoke of an 11-1 Warrior victory bellowing over Breakheart and onto Route 1.

Wakefield had two first-time varsity goal scorers (Howie Melanson and Matt Elwell) and three multiple goal-scorers, as Oliver Miller, Cal Tryder and Joey O’Brien each tallied two.

Senior captain Luke Roberts picked up his second win in net and the Warriors improved to 2-2 on the young season.

North Reading defeated Saugus 5-4 in the final game, creating a championship matchup between the Hornets and Warriors today at noon.

Wakefield’s early goal was scored by O’Brien who played a physical and fast game all day. The sophomore got good position in front of the net and finished a puck through traffic off a faceoff win by junior Brendan Vacca. Sophomore Mike Locke also picked up an assist.

Peabody responded well, converting on a breakaway nearly three minutes later. It was the best chance they would have all game as Wakefield’s defense led by senior captain Chris Coombs and sophomores Evan Simoneau and Owen Locke tightened it up after that, only allowing a combined eight shots through the first two periods, after which the game was all but decided.

On a 4-on-4 and skating alongside his younger brother, senior captain Scott Elwell scored from the right dot on a top shelf missile to take the lead for good with 6:50 left in the period. The Kasabuski had just finished playing Lustra’s ‘Scotty Doesn’t Know,’ which probably isn’t about knowing how to beat a goalie glove side from the dot – because Scotty definitely knows how to do that.

Fellow captain Cam Souza later tallied one of his signature hard-nosed netfront goals – his third of the season – to give Wakefield a 3-1 lead after one.

Wakefield’s passing and selflessness highlighted the five-goal second. Mike Locke fed a beautiful pass from left to right across the across the crease to a wide open Tryder for a one-timer making it 4-1 three minutes into the frame.

On a nearly identical play about three minutes later, junior Matt Moniz found Miller for another easy finish to make it 5-1.

Moniz and Locke could have put these pucks on net and nobody would argue it was the wrong decision. Making the extra pass is sometimes risky, but a common skill for great teams.

Miller got his second of the period shorthanded as he cleaned up a rebound off a Tryder bid to make it 6-1.

The buzzing Warriors weren’t done yet as Tim Lucey buried another one up front amongst a scrum involving nearly every player on the ice to make it 7-1.

Matt Elwell finished the second period scoring, tallying his first varsity goal with his brother on the ice. Elwell monitored a corner board battle between Mike Locke and a Peabody defender, moved towards the net in case the puck was worked free and walked into a strong slap shot when it did.

It was a heady play from a freshman, and a great way to finish up Wakefield’s most dominant period of the season so far.

Melanson got his first varsity goal in the third and Tryder and O’Brien each got their second tallies of the game to account for the 11-1 final.

Wakefield will hope to keep the fans warm again today against a similarly young but talented Hornet squad. Like Wakefield’s Mike Geary, North Reading is also under the lead of a new head coach, Brian McAuliffe. The Hornets are 2-1-1.