- Name: Bob Johnson
- School or league: Watertown High
- Team: WHS Boys Ice Hockey
- Award: Update
After earning only 1 point out of a possible 4 against Burlington and Melrose, the Red Raiders boy’s ice hockey team now stands at 5-4-1 on the season. Last Wednesday Watertown travelled to Burlington to take on the defending Division 1 State Champion in their own rink. The Red Devils graduated much of their offense from a year ago, but still possess a tremendous amount of offensive firepower. Watertown played a bit passive in the 1st 15 minute frame, and was outshot by a 2-1 margin, but still only trailed 1-0 after a great individual effort by Burlington put the Red Devils up 1-0 with 52 seconds left. But from there, the visiting Red Raiders played hard and played even. Coach Mike Hayes was “proud of the effort, and happy to see the team get back to playing WHS hockey, which is grind and fight to the final buzzer. The boys skated as a team against a veteran opponent.” Whatever inspiration Hayes gave to his squad between periods seemed to work, because his team came out on fire and tied the game when senior Connor Demore threw it on net from just inside the Burlington blue line and sophomore Chris Fidler tipped it by the surprised goalie. Watertown dominated the 2nd period, especially the line of Fidler, junior Joe Kelland, and senior Matt Johnson. The trio has become one of the best lines in the league with their hard work ethic and puck movement. But Burlington’s solid defense limited the second chance opportunities and the score stayed tied at 1 through the 1st 2 periods. Burlington scored early in the 3rd period on one minor defensive zone breakdown and shut down Watertown the rest of the way for the 2-1 win. Hayes would say post-game “that’s why it’s a tough loss to swallow. It’s one thing to lose with no effort, it’s another to lose when you play well enough to win. And I thought we played well enough to win.”
And win is what the boys should have done against Melrose at the JAR, only to see a 3-1 third period slip away into a 3-3 tie. Last season WHS snuck up on some teams in the Middlesex League after a 2 year hiatus, including Melrose, who fell to the Red Raiders twice. So revenge was certainly on the minds of the visitors, who came in with a respectable 4-4-1 record. Senior Daniel Loprete blasted one from the right circle to put the hosts up 1-0 midway through the 1st period, and classmate Connor Demore scored a nifty one right off of a face off after beating 3 defenders, but Melrose scored a late one power play goal to end it at 2-1. Less than 30 seconds into the 2nd period Demore buried another one and things looked good for the Red Raiders. Sophomore Anthony Busconi was solid in between the pipes, and all three lines were getting pucks deep. But Melrose battled back in the third with relentless pressure, and scored one at the 6 minute mark to cut the lead to 3-2. And try as they might, the Red Raiders ran out of gas and allowed the equalizer with just 36 remaining after Melrose pulled their goalie. As Hayes said, “we had our chances and had a lead, but got worn down when Melrose wouldn’t quit. That’s a good team, but we’ll see them again.” Up next for Watertown is the 17th ranked Woburn Tanners at the JAR on Wednesday at 4pm.