Sports 02-16-2012

Boys hockey team vaults into tie for first

What a difference a week makes!

After the 4-2 loss to first place Danvers last Saturday, the Winthrop High boys hockey team’s hopes for a Northeastern Conference North Division championship were mathematical in nature, existing only on paper.  Danvers was in the driver’s seat for the NEC North title with a four point lead with the Vikings were seemingly relegated to second place status.

But two successive Danvers losses (to Beverly and Saugus) and a pair of Winthrop victories (over Saugus and Peabody) this past week have catapulted the Vikings into a three way tie for first place with Danvers and Saugus as all three teams head into the final week of the season.

Winthrop erased the memory of the Danvers defeat with what may rate as its best game of the season, a 3-0 blanking of Saugus, a team which had tied Winthrop in their first encounter in December.

“We played a great game,” said WHS head coach Dale Dunbar. “Everybody came to play and we received superb efforts from everybody, our goaltending, our defense, and our forwards.”

Dan Eruzione, assisted by Chris LeBlanc and Jimmy Barker, staked the Vikings to a 1-0 lead after one frame, a lead that Winthrop enlarged to 3-0 with a pair of lamplighters in the middle stanza. Chris Page lifted a nice backhander off a feed from Jake McKinnon to make it 2-0 and Eruzione struck again, assisted by LeBlanc and Matt Todisco, for the third Viking goal. The Winthrop defense proved impenetrable the rest of the way for the big win.

Three nights later the Vikings traveled to Peabody and brought home a 5-2 triumph. Winthrop started slowly, spotting the Tanners a 2-0 advantage, but the Vikings then revved up their engines and took charge. Goals by Todisco, off a nice feed from Mitch Paulsen that sent Matt down the wing, and LeBlanc, who won the face off in the neutral zone and then skated around the defense, left matters at 2-2 after two frames.

The Vikings then sealed the deal in the third stanza on goals by Page (assisted by Steve Goddard and Paulsen), Todisco (from LeBlanc and Barker), and Page again (on an empty netter when Chris stole the puck in the neutral zone with Peabody having a 6-on-4 advantage).

Winthrop (9-2-2 in the NEC), Danvers (10-3), and Saugus (9-2-2) all have 20 points with two conference games to go. The Vikings will not have an easy road, first traveling to always tough Gloucester last night (Wednesday) and then hosting Beverly, which itself still is in the title hunt, on Saturday at Larsen for a 6:10 face off.

Dunbar and crew will close out their regular season with a non-league encounter next Wednesday, hosting Mansfield at Larsen at 6:10.

Girls hockey team wins two more 

The Winthrop Lady Bulldog hockey team completed its run of the table of its Northeast Division opponents with victories of 3-1 over Cambridge and 11-3 over Everett this past week.

The twin wins improved the Lady Bulldogs to a perfect 8-0 mark in the Northeast Division (which is part of the Girls Eastern Mass Ice Hockey League) and 12-2-1 overall. The Lady Bulldogs now have claimed three of the past four Northeast Division titles.

Linemates Chelsey Bartlett and Mackenzie Clark took turns scoring and assisting each other to give Winthrop a 2-0 lead against Cambridge last Wednesday, a margin that held up until Cambridge scored with about seven minutes to play to make it a tight 2-1 affair.

However, with Cambridge set to pull its goalie to make for a 6-on-5 advantage in the closing minute, a Cambridge player was whistled for a penalty, giving Winthrop a power play. Vanessa Van Buskirk then put the game on ice with a lamplighter with 30 seconds to play, assisted by Clark and Bartlett.

Everett came to Larsen Saturday for what would prove to be a delightful Senior Night, with the Lady Bulldogs celebrating appropriately with an 11-3 triumph. Although the evening belonged to the Winthrop seniors, some of the underclassmen showed that the Lady Bulldogs will have a bright future.

Eighth grader Flora English lit the lamp thrice for the hat trick and earned one assist. Sophomore Ariana Dembro potted two goals and had one assist.

Clark had a four point night with a goal and three assists and Bartlett contributed a goal and two assists. Hannah LoPresti, Gabby Kenniston, Juliana Kennedy, and Van Buskirk all took turns lighting the lamp for Winthrop.

The Lady Bulldogs were set to hit the road for a long trek to Auburn last night (Wednesday) and then will travel to Chelmsford Saturday for a contest against a Chelmsford team that has been ranked in the top 10 for most of the season.

“This is another game for us against a quality opponent that will prove a real test for us,” said Lady Bulldog head coach Anthony Martucci, whose squad has overcome top 10 foes St. Mary’s of Lynn and Barnstable in the past two weeks.

Chelmsford and Winthrop have shared a common opponent, Masconomet, this season with Chelmsford tying Masco 3-3, but Winthrop winning both encounters against its Northeast Division rival by identical scores of 4-1.

The Lady Bulldogs will close out their regular season next Wednesday at Watertown.

Two tough losses for WHS girls hoop 

The Winthrop High girls basketball team endured a pair of heart-wrenching losses this past week, coming out on the short ends of 35-32 and 39-37 decisions to Marblehead and Danvers respectively.

“Overall we played well in both games,” said WHS head coach Ignacio Oyola, “but in the end, it just wasn’t enough.”

The Lady Vikings led all the way at Marblehead Friday evening, holding leads of 15-10, 23-16, and 25-22 at the first three junctures. However, the two point third period was followed by just seven in the fourth, for a total of nine second half points, that proved Winthrop’s demise.

Taylor Duplin led the Lady Vikings in scoring with eight points, followed by Angie Favaloro with six, Jen Adamson and Kristen Siscamanis with five each, Ashelyne Babb with four, Liana Ferullo with three, and Alyssa Mackey with a free throw.

Tuesday night’s loss to Danvers was decided in the final seconds when the visiting Lady Falcons hit the winning shot with seven seconds to play. Winthrop, which had no time outs, inbounded quickly to the speedy Babb, who raced downcourt and drove the lane. Ashelyne got off a shot, and though she appeared to have been fouled, no call was forthcoming and the final buzzer sounded.

The contest was a nip and tuck one all the way, with the teams never separated by more than three points at any of the quarter marks. Babb struck for 16 points, including four from three point land.  Ferullo hit for nine points with a trey. Favaloro chipped in five points, Siscamanis added three, and Duplin and Mackey contributed two apiece.

The Lady Vikings, who now stand at 6-13 on the season, will wrap up their 2011-12 campaign with Senior Night Friday vs. Saugus and then travel to Malden next Wednesday.

WHS track girls to compete at State Meet

A large contingent of the Winthrop High girls indoor track team qualified for the Division 4 state track meet that will be held at the Reggie Lewis Center Saturday morning.

The Lady Vikings who will compete, and their qualifying times, are as follows:

Alexis Vaccaro in the 55 meter dash in a time of 7.7; Carly O’Keefe in the 55 meter high hurdles in a time of 9.7; Jordan Griffiths in the 600 meter run in a time of 1:51.0; Cecilia Moreira in the mile in a time of 5:54.6; Ashley Jurovich in the shot put with a throw of 30’, 8.5”; Amy Sena in the high jump with a leap of 5’, 0”; and the quartet of Jordan Griffiths, Lexi Vaccaro, Carly O’Keefe, and Amy Sena (and alternate Holly Benson) in the 4 x 400 relay team with a time of 4:43.1

The Lady Vikings finished with a record of 5-1-1, their best mark for a Winthrop girls indoor track team in the last 12 years. The only loss was to Swampscott (5-2), which claimed the South Division title by beating all of the teams in the South, including Winthrop.

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