Red Raider hockey team tourney bound

Feb 13, 2020 by

Victory over Malden Catholic sends Melrose to playoffs

Published February 14, 2020

By JENNIFER GENTILE

THE MELROSE Red Raider hockey team is going to playoffs. Pictured are the player from left (top): Anthony DelGenio, Joe McNeely, Gavin Crowley, Charlie Haggerty, Mark Aylward, Kevin O’Keefe, Will Brandon. Middle: Joe Shields, Ryan Morris, Cam Gorman, Cam Marks, Andy Calvert, Joe Lucien, Nick Sicurella. Front: Pete Santos, Quinn McCarthy, Brendan Fennell, Joe O’Keefe, TJ Sullivan, Sean Senier and Will Pierce. (courtesy photo)

STONEHAM—The Melrose Red Raider hockey team has punched their ticket to the Div. 1 North playoffs following a big 4-1 victory over Malden Catholic on Saturday, Feb. 8 at Stoneham Arena. 

At 9-5-3, Melrose has earned the 21 points they needed to enter the Div. 1 North field, and will finish their regular season against Burlington and Xaverian this week. Getting the win at the net against the Lancers (5-7-3) was Melrose senior goalie Joey Shields (5-0-1 on the season), who had a big day against a very competitive Lancer team.  

Melrose has remained unbeaten in their last 6 of 7 games, including a tie against Stoneham last week, which helped continue a run towards playoffs. 

On Saturday at Stoneham Arena, it was all Melrose in the opening minutes with junior Brendan Fennell finding the net on an assist by Joe Lucien. Melrose’s TJ Sullivan scored the team’s second goal (assisted by Charlie Haggerty) followed by Sean Senior (assist by Will Pierce and Andy Valvert) and finally, Quinn McCarthy, who scored on an assist by Fennell. 

Certainly, a win against such a historically tough team is any reason to celebrate. And all the more when it advances you into the playoffs. Melrose coach Vin Marasolo celebrated the effort. “Malden Catholic obviously is a very good team and plays in such a tough conference. This was a great test for us.”

Melrose’s defense was remarkably strong against the Lancers. For Mirasolo, one hand tends to feed the other in terms of scoring. “Offense is generated from solid defense and I can’t say enough about Joe Lucien and Cam Marks,” says the coach. “They are making a huge difference for us. I think when we are playing well as a team, it’s usually because they are behind it.”

Indeed, Melrose had control of the game basically from puck drop. Says the coach, “I think we had to get used to their speed when we first got on the ice and settled down nicely. I thought our D-Zone coverage and neutral zone coverage has been great in our last few efforts. Once again, I am happy with all three lines.”  

That has been the case as Melrose continues its remarkable, unbeaten streak that has seen them completely turn their season around. Their last loss was on January 18 when they fell to Reading. Peaking at the right time? Sure. And sometimes that is a perfect remedy in high school hockey.  

Says Mirasolo, “We have to keep playing the way we play, keep trending in the right direction, and we will be able to compete with anyone.” 

Middlesex Freedom Standings

                    League Overall 

Burlington     8-2-3      12-3-3 

Melrose        6-5-2        9-5-3 

Wakefield      5-6-2       9-6-3 

Wilmington   4-6-3        8-7-3 

Stoneham    1-9-2       6-9-2 

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