- Name: Bob Johnson
- School or league: Watertown High
- Team: WHS Boys Ice Hockey
- Award: Update
The Watertown High boy’s ice hockey team had a 3-1 third period lead over Wakefield last Wednesday night at the JAR, only to see it slowly slip away in a heartbreaking 4-3 loss. The Red Raiders now stand at 8-6-2 with 4 regular season games remaining. Coach Hayes’ squad is still searching for the coveted 2 points it needs to qualify “through the front door” for any MIAA post-season play.
WHS soundly defeated Wakefield 7-1 on the road earlier this season in what may have been the Red Raiders best all-around game in several years. Since that time the Warriors added a transfer sniper, and have rattled off wins decisive against the likes of division one opponents Lexington, Medford, and Woburn. The visitors certainly had revenge on their minds, and quickly took a 1-0 lead less than 4 minutes into the opening period. The pace was frantic, and the penalty killing unit of Joe Kelland and Matthew Johnson was busy, but managed to keep the Warriors off the board the rest of the frame.
The Red Raiders got a quick break right at the beginning of the second period. Daniel Loprete came out of the penalty box and nearly collected a clearing pass at the Wakefield blue line. Loprete battled one-on-one in the corner for a good 15 seconds with a Warrior defender and eventually threw the puck towards the net minder, who had trouble corralling it. Somehow, the puck slid into the net from the side, and suddenly it was a 1-1 game with momentum clearly in the home team’s favor. Kelland and Johnson were awarded assists for their efforts on the play. At the 8 minute mark Watertown took a 2-1 lead on a power play after Dante Flori let a rocket rip from the point that Loprete managed to tip in. Wakefield battled back the rest of the period, but sophomore goalie Anthony Busconi was tremendous.
Early in the third period the Red Raiders special teams came through again as Chris Fidler buried one off a scramble in front of the Wakefield crease for a 3-1 Red Raider’s lead. But a strange thing happened on the way to the end of the game. Watertown forgot how to finish, a term you hear tournament teams mention with pride. According to Hayes, “we need to finish games when we have a lead. Unfortunately we continue to have breakdowns in the defensive zone while trying to hold a lead.” At the eight minute mark Wakefield made it 3-2, and at the 5 minute mark they tied the game at 3. And finally, with ninety seconds remaining a Warrior forward entered the zone and ripped one from the faceoff dot for the 4-3 comeback game winner. Busconi was pulled for an extra attacker at the end, and Kelland had one last opportunity barely stopped by the Warrior goalie. But the 4-3 final was a huge disappointment for the home squad. Up next is a game at Wilmington on Saturday, then a rematch with Stoneham on Wednesday at the JAR. Could there be 2 points in any of these 2 games?