Viking Hockey Team Makes It Six Straight Behind Page Brothers; Hosts Beverly Saturday

The Winthrop High boys hockey team made it six straight victories, and eight in their last nine games, with a pair of convincing wins this past week over Northeastern Conference rivals Saugus and Marblehead, setting the stage for a big showdown with first place Beverly Saturday evening at Larsen Rink.

Both triumphs, 5-2 at Saugus last Thursday (in a make-up of Wednesday’s snowed-out encounter) and 5-1 over Marblehead at Larsen, saw the Vikings get out to early leads and never let up. Freshman Charlie Page (assisted by Dylan Driscoll and Dan Brogan) gave Winthrop a quick 1-0 advantage and his big brother, senior captain Chris, made it 2-0 (assisted by Mike Casey) before the first period ended.

Chris would go on to light the red lamp three more times, twice in the middle stanza and a final tally in the third, to provide the margin of victory. John Orlando assisted on two of the goals, with Sean Gillis, Steve Goddard, and Mike Norris also  providing assists. Ray Feeley and Tom DiBenedetto shared the netminding duties, with the latter playing the final two frames.

In Saturday evening’s contest with Marblehead, Charlie P. notched the first two Viking goals of the night in the first and second periods. Zack Deeb and Goddard assisted on the first marker and Marc Ferullo assisted on the second. Driscoll then scored a Winthrop goal (by someone not named Page) to make it 3-0 (Charlie Page earned the assist) and Chris Page (assisted by Driscoll) upped the count to 4-0 before the middle stanza ended. Orlando, assisted by Chris Page and Pat Todisco, concluded the scoring for the Vikings.

Altogether, the Page boys scored eight of the 10 Vikings goals in the two contests and assisted on the two others.

“Our whole team is playing well,” said WHS coach Dale Dunbar, whose squad now stands at 10-4 and qualified for the state tournament with the Marblehead triumph. “We’re playing tight defense and getting the offense we need to win games.” The Vikings have outscored their opponents 26-6 in their six-game unbeaten skein.

Saturday evening’s encounter with Beverly at Larsen (6:30 face-off) promises to be a classic in every sense of the word between two of the top teams on the North Shore. Beverly edged the Vikings 2-0 in their first encounter three weeks ago in a contest which was scoreless until the final five minutes.

Larsen will be rocking’ and rollin’ — be sure to get your tickets early!

Girls hockey team tops St. Mary’s, 4-3

The Winthrop High Lady Bulldogs achieved one of the biggest wins in the program’s history with a 4-3 triumph over defending Division 1 state champion St. Mary’s of Lynn Saturday evening before a packed and raucous crowd at Larsen Rink.

The Lady Bulldogs seized the initiative early, jumping all over the visitors and zinging home three unanswered goals in the opening period. Savannah Norcross, assisted by Caroline McKinnon, gave Winthrop a 1-0 lead in the opening two minutes and eighth grader Emma English, assisted by Norcross and McKinnon, lit the lamp on a power play a few minutes after that. McKinnon concluded the Winthrop domination in the first 15 minutes with a beautiful goal on a top-shelf wrist shot from the face-off circle to make it 3-0.

But St. Mary’s is a proven champion and refused to roll over, cutting the Winthrop lead to 3-1 after two frames. The Lady Spartans tightened their defense and managed to score a goal at the tail end of a Winthrop power play as the penalized St. Mary’s girl stepped out of the penalty box and took a pass at center ice to break in alone on WHS netminder Gretchen Howard, who made a valiant effort in almost thwarting the breakaway.

St. Mary’s scored a shorthanded tally in the third period on a 2-on-1 break to draw within 3-2, but the Lady Buldogs were not to be denied. Winthrop defenseman Katie Jenner rushed the puck from her own end to the Lady Spartan goal, tipping home her own shot as she skated past the St. Mary’s goalie, to provide Winthrop with what would prove to be a key insurance marker.

St. Mary’s scored on a power play with 1:05 to go to make it a 4-3 affair, but the Lady Bulldogs smothered St. Mary’s when the Lady Spartans pulled their goalie and never were threatened.

“We played a great game in every respect,” said WHS head coach Anthony Martucci, who praised the play of Howard for her fine performance in net. “This was a huge win for us and we proved to ourselves that we can skate with the best.”

Martucci and his crew, who now stand at 10-2 on the season (and who already have punched their ticket for a Journey to the Tourney), were set to play another big game last night (Wednesday) against first-place Beverly, Winthrop’s chief rival for the championship of the Northeastern Hockey League. The Lady Bulldogs return home Tuesday to encounter Duxbury, one of the top teams in the state. Face-off time for that game is 6:00.

WHS girls basketball wins two more, now 11-2

The Winthrop High girls basketball team rolled merrily along this week, winning two more contests against rivals from the Northeastern Conference North Division and clinching a spot in the post-season state tourney.

The Lady Vikings entertained Salem Friday evening and played the role of rude hosts with a 60-33 triumph. Wnthrop led all the way, 11-10 after one period and 27-18 at the intermission, and then pulled away for good with an 8-0 run to start the second half and never looked back. Theresa Jones led Winthrop with 15 points with teammates Ashelyne Babb (12 points) and Nikki Tsiotis (10 points) also reaching double figures. Nina Bartlett hit for nine points, followed by Kristin Siscamanis with seven, Jen Adamson with four, and Poli Tsiotis with three.

The Lady Vikings made the short trip to Revere Tuesday evening and came home with a 46-33 conquest. Winthrop led 9-4 after the first frame and 23-12 at the half before once again expanding their lead in the third period to a commanding 36-18 advantage.

Winthrop’s tough defense helped key the victory, with numerous turnovers off steals leading to transition buckets for the Lady Vikings. Siscamanis paced Winthrop with 16 points, followed by Jones with 10, Babb with eight, Nikki T. with five, Poli T. with four, and Adamson with three.

“We’re been working on reducing our turnovers and we did much better in both games” said WHS head coach Ignacio Oyola, whose team celebrated qualifying for the state tourney with a pizza party at Paesan’s after the Revere game. “We played as well as we have all season against Salem and hopefully we can maintain that focus as we head down the stretch and prepare for the tournament.”

Another area of that Oyola is working on with his team is their free throw shooting. The Lady Vikings shot exactly at 50 per cent combined from the charity stripe in the two contests (12-of-22 against Revere and 5-of-12 against Salem), but Oyola said he wants to see that figure get up to the 70 percent range.

Although the Lady Vikings have been injury-free throughout the season, they suffered some freak accidents this past week. Shannon Mahoney slipped on a wet spot on the floor during pre-game warm-ups Friday, injuring her elbow, and may be lost for the season. Theresa Jones likewise had a pre-game warm-up mishap and rolled her ankle before the Revere game. Although Theresa played, she was not at 100 percent. Babb injured her back while diving to the floor for a loose ball in the final five minutes of the Revere game and sat out the rest of the way. And Bartlett missed the Revere contest because of illness.

The Lady Vikings, who now stand at a lofty 11-2 on the season, will host Gloucester Friday night at 7:00; travel to Marblehead Sunday afternoon for a 2:00 make-up game; and then trek to Danvers next Tuesday.

Girls track team come up short in relay

“Live by the sword, die by the sword,” is an age-old maxim that often translates into the realm of sports. For the Winthrop High girls indoor track team, it is an aphorism they have learned the meaning of all too well this season.

In both of their victories earlier this year, the Lady Vikings pulled out 44-42 triumphs over Gloucester and Danvers thanks to wins in the last event of the meet, the 4 x 400 relay.

In the Gloucester encounter, Carly O’Keefe started off for Winthrop with a strong leg, running 67 seconds, and  handed off to Holly Benson, who kept the lead for Winthrop with another fast time of 66 seconds. Holly in turn passed the baton to WHS captain Lexi Vaccaro who ran her lap in 71 seconds (despite coming off an injury from last season), and then Amy Sena held off the final Gloucester runner with a time of 69.0 to win the relay and the meet. The Winthrop quartet’s clocking was 4:35.5 to 4:38.7 for Gloucester.

For the Lady Vikings, this was the fourth year in a row that that their meet with Gloucester had come down to the relay, with Winthrop coming out on top with a record of 2-1-1. “It was nice to win for the girls this year, seeing that  last year they were winning until the final leg when they got passed and beat,” said WHS head coach Mark D’Amico.

In Winthrop’s  meet against Danvers, O’Keefe once again started the team off with a strong leg, running 69 seconds. Carly handed off to Heidy Benson, who ran a personal best time of 71 seconds to keep Winthrop in the lead. Vaccaro then took over and ran her best leg of the year in 69 seconds to keep Winthrop ahead. Holly Benson then anchored the team to victory with a clocking of 68.0 to win the relay and the meet. Winthrop’s time was 4:38.5 compared to 4:44.2 for Danvers.

“I was happy for the girls because this was the first time that they had beaten Danvers in many, many years,” noted D’Amico.

So after a pair of exciting triumphs, the Lady Vikings were looking to take a third victory in similar fashion in their meet with Swampscott last Thursday when it too, came down to the relay with Swampscott holding a 39-38 lead upon completion of all the individual events.

However, this time Swampscott proved to be the relay winner, edging the Lady Viking quartet by three seconds, 4:32-4:35, to claim the meet.

Prior to the relay, the Lady Vikings had captured six of the nine individual events. First place finishers for Winthrop were: Alissa Shea in the high jump with a leap of four feet, zero inches (4-0);  Elizxabeth Anderson in the shotput with a toss of 29-2; O’Keefe in the 55 meter hurdles with a time of 9.3 seconds; Vaccaro in the 55 dash in 7.6; Holly Benson in the 600 in 1:50.2; and Victoria Helle in the two mile run with a clocking of 13:44.

Heidy Benson earned three points for her second place finish in the 1000 in 3:43.5.

Third place finishers who scored one point for the Winthrop scoresheet were: Katherine Teixeira with a shotput throw of 25-1; Sela Zalwango in the hurdles in 10.9; Anderson in the 55 dash in 8.1; Sarah Burnett in the 300 dash in 50.8; and Nina Leone in the 1000 in 6:54.2.

“This is a very resilient team that always fights to the end to win and tries their hardest,” noted D’Amico. “Holly Benson has had a great season, winning almost every race she has run in the 600, including the NEC  Freshmen/Sophomore Meet that she won with a time of 1:55. In the Freshman/Sophomore State Meet, Holly finished  10th overall.

“Her sister Heidy also has had a great season, bettering her time every meet. She came in fourth place in the 1000 at the NEC Freshmen/Sophomore meet,” added D’Amico.

“Our captain, Lizzy Anderson, has had a superb season,” continued the coach. “She leads the team in points, always scoring in the shot and the 55 dash.  Katherine Texiera also has been having a nice year, adding key points needed to win in the Gloucester and Danvers meets.

“Alyssa Shea came up big for us in the Danvers meet, getting second place in the high jump,” D’Amico said. “Racheal Wadkins also helped out in both meets, taking third in the 300.  Lastly, Olivia Rago had her best race ever in the 1000 running a time of 3:52 at Marblehead.”

D’Amico and his crew will compete in the NEC All-League Meet tomorrow (Friday).

Bouche wins high jump for boys track

Marc Bouche captured the high jump event with a leap of 5′-2″ for the Winthrop High boys indoor track team in their meet with Swampscott last Thursday. Marc also took third place in the 55 meter hurdles in a time of 9.7 seconds.

Other Vikings who scored points in the meet were: William Holden with a second place in the two mile run in 112:23; Trevor Hetherton with a second in the 55 meter dash in 7.2; Devin Racow with a third in the 600 in 1:46.43; Joey Bosco in the 1000 in 3:22.5; and Chris Beaudry in the mile in 5:36.6.

The boys will compete in the NEC all-league meet tomorrow (Friday).

Vikings defeat Innovation, 55-47

The Winthrop High boys basketball team won its third game of the season (with no losses) against fellow Division 4 teams with a 55-47 victory over Innovation Academy last Wednesday on the local high school floor.

After trailing by a point at the half, the Vikings put together a nice run that culminated with a big hoop by Vinnie Sparacino that gave Winthrop the lead for good. “We had problems executing in the first half that we were able to correct at halftime,” said WHS head coach Mike DiMarino.

Captain Cody Wasson led the Vikings in the scoring department with 18 points.

Winthrop next took on a Salem team whom DiMarino labeled as “the best team we’ve seen” and came out on the short end of a 64-28 decision. “We hung with them through the first half, but their height and power eventually overwhelmed us,” noted DiMarino.

This past Tuesday, the Vikings hosted Revere and dropped a 65-43 decision. Wasson paced the Vikings with 14 points.

DiMarino and his crew make the long trek northward to Gloucester tomorrow (Friday) and will host Danvers Tuesday.

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