Two wins for boys hockey; NEC title on line Wednesday
The Winthrop High boys hockey team moved a step closer to claiming an outright Northeastern Conference championship with a 2-1 victory over Beverly last Wednesday at Ray Bourque Arena at Endicott College.
The Vikings entered the contest needing a win, or at least a tie, to maintain their first-place status in the North Division of the NEC. A loss would have dropped the Vikings into a tie with Marblehead for the NEC North’s top spot.
The outcome appeared tenuous for coach Dale Dunbar’s crew when the host Panthers grabbed a 1-0 lead in the opening period, a status that remained quo through the first 30 minutes of play, thanks to some outstanding goaltending by the Beverly netminder, who weathered a 2-1 shots-on-goal advantage by Winthrop.
The Vikings survived a scare to start the third period thank to the outstanding play of their own goalie, senior asst. captain Ryan Skoczylas, who thwarted a breakaway by a Panther skater to keep the Vikings within striking range.
Skoczylas’s big save firmly switched the momentum to the Winthrop side. A few minutes later, Viking assistant captain Luke Evangelista, assisted by captains Sam Yarrow and Chris Finn, found the back of the Beverly net to bring Winthrop back to level.
The final few minutes of the contest proved frenetic, with the Vikings skating fast and furiously to notch the game-winner. Their efforts culminated with Luke repeating his feat, assisted by Yarrow and captain Brian Chalmers, late in the game for a 2-1 Winthrop victory.
On Saturday afternoon the Vikings hosted Revere, a non-division rival, and skated to a 6-0 victory over the Patriots. Winthrop moved out to a 2-0 lead in the opening period on goals by Yarrow (assisted by Evangelista) and Finn (assisted by Yarrow) and made it 3-0 in the middle frame on a marker by Evangelista (from Joey Holgersen and Finn).
The Vikings added three more goals in the final period (Evangelista from Yarrow; asst captain Cory Cherico from Andrew DiMento and Holgersen; and Chris Ferrara from Mike Brooks and Jack Sicurella) to cement the win.
Dunbar used three goalies, Skoczylas, Ryan Hovermale, and Anthony Indrisano, all of whom shared in the shutout.
The twin wins boosted the Vikings’ overall record to 13-4-1. Winthrop now stands at 8-2-1 in the NEC North with their final divisional game set for next Wednesday evening, February 20, against Saugus at Kasabuski Rink at 6:00. A win or tie will give the Vikings an outright NEC North championship.
Dunbar and his crew will celebrate Senior Night this Saturday afternoon against non-league foe Mansfield. Face-off is set for 1:30 p.m. at Larsen Rink.
WHS girls basketball defeats two NEC foes
The Winthrop High girls basketball team earned a pair of victories this past week over Northeastern Conference rivals Gloucester and Medford.
Last Tuesday the Lady Vikings celebrated Senior Night in fitting fashion with a 55-40 victory.
The night started with a pregame ceremony honoring both teams’ seniors. The Lady Viking seniors, captain Cat Grimes, Emma Turner, Holly Vaccaro, Fatma Tufa, Bianca Fregi, and Aliyah Lovell, were honored with a pre-game ceremony at which their contributions to the WHS girls program were recognized.
Also taking part in the pregame ceremony was the Winthrop girls’ sixth-grade travel team, who not only joined the Lady Vikings for the starting line-up handshakes and National Anthem, but who also played an exhibition game during half time.
The game itself began inauspiciously for the Lady Vikings who found themselves in an early hole, trailing the Lady Fisherman 10-0 after the first two minutes of the game.
However, the Winthrop crew rebounded quickly to grab a 15-13 advantage at the first buzzer, led by the scoring of Maura Dorr and Lily Pulsifer, who hit for five points a piece.
Winthrop’s scoring struggles resumed in the second period. The Lady Vikings managed to score just six points in the quarter, allowing Gloucester to take a 24-21 lead into the half.
Winthrop came out on fire after the intermission, picking up their intensity on both ends of the floor. The Lady Vikings poured in 19 points in the third quarter and limited Gloucester to just seven to move out to a 40-31 lead entering the fourth period.
Winthrop kept its foot on the gas over the final eight minutes of play to come away with a 55-40 win.
The sophomore duo of Pulsifer (17 points) and Dorr (12 points) paced the Lady Vikings in the scoring department. Senior Emma Turner reached double figures with 11 points, followed by sophomores Carolyn Kinsella and Caroline Earl with six points apiece and sophomore Grace Galuris with three.
“It was a great night to get a win on Senior Night and also to take a minute to honor the seniors who have been a part of rebuilding the program,” said WHS head coach Rick Pulsifer. “It also was great to have the future of the program come and out and get a chance to be a part of the celebration — all-in-all, a great night to be a Viking #futurelooksbright.”
This past Monday, the Lady Vikings traveled to Medford for a contest that was moved up a day because of the impending storm on Tuesday.
Winthrop came quickly out of the gate, sprinting to an 8-0 lead, but the Lady Mustangs managed to pull even at 11-11 at the first buzzer.
“Even though things were tied at 11-11, I was not happy with how the offense was playing,” noted Pulsifer. “We weren’t running our plays through, almost as if everyone was trying to do too much.”
However, as in the Gloucester contest, the Lady Vikings brought their level of play up a notch at both ends of the floor. Winthrop outscored Medford 17-3 in the second period to take a commanding 28-14 lead into the half.
The third quarter was a battle of free throws, with the teams playing evenly, to leave Winthrop still well-in-charge at 38-23. The Lady Vikings closed out the game with solid defense, holding Medford to four points in the final quarter, for a 52-27 win.
The trio of Dorr (17 points), Earl (14 points), and Pulsifer (11 points) led the way, followed by Turner with four points and Galuris, Kinsella, and Tufa with two points each.
Pulsifer and his crew, who now stand at 8-9 on the season, will play at Saugus tonight (Thursday). They will host non-league rivals Lynnfield on Tuesday afternoon at 4:00 and Austin Prep next Thursday at 6:30.
JV basketball roundup
In a contest last week at Gloucester, the Lady Vikings led 9-7 at the end of the first period. The Winthrop defense limited Gloucester to just a free throw in the second period, enabling the Lady Vikings to move out to a 17-8 advantage at the break.
Winthrop maintained its lead in a back-and-forth third quarter and the defense once again proved the difference-maker in the final period for a 35-19 victory.
In their encounter at Medford Monday evening, the junior Lady Vikings struggled in the opening period and found themselves down 8-4 at end of the first quarter.
Winthrop turned things around in the next eight minutes to take the lead at the half, 18-17, but the Lady Mustangs retook the lead, 26-23, after three periods.
The Winthrop girls played a solid fourth quarter on both sides of the ball to claim a 35-34 victory.
MacKenzie Acevedo scored 11 points for Winthrop, followed by Tessa Ferrandi with seven, Julia Marcoccio with five, Sydney Stillest with four, and Polina Bell with three.
Girls hockey earns 2-2 tie with Peabody
The Winthrop High girls hockey team turned in one of its best performances of the season to earn a 2-2 tie with Peabody last Wednesday at Larsen Rink.
The Lady Vikings entered the game after dropping its previous three contests, but played a solid 45 minutes of hockey at both ends of the ice against a Peabody squad that is in second place in the Northeastern Hockey League and which had defeated Winthrop by a 3-2 score in an earlier meeting.
The Lady Vikings did all of their scoring in the opening period on a pair of power play goals. The first lamplighter came from the stick of Mia Norris, who drove hard to the cage and buried a rebound from out front. Emma Carleton and Abby Stafford earned the assists.
Olivia Driscoll, assisted by Carleton, took advantage of another power play opportunity to make it 2-0.
Peabody had a chance to get on the board when their star player, Sammy Mirasolo, the reigning NHL most valuable player, was awarded a penalty shot with 0:01 left in the period after being hauled down from behind on a breakaway.
However, Lady Viking netminder Summer Tallent proved equal to the task, thwarting Mirasolo with a superb save.
“We call Summer ‘Spider-Man,’ because she does a lot of amazing things,” said WHS head coach Anthony Martucci. “That was just another one of them when she stopped that penalty shot. Summer has been all-world for this team. She is just playing unreal every single game.”
However, Mirasolo found the back of the net in the second period and did so again late in the game for the 2-2 finale.
“This was great bounce-back game for us,” noted Martucci. “We would have liked to win, but it was a hard-fought battle. We had our chances to increase our lead to two goals in the third period, but we just could not get that next goal, and unfortunately Peabody did once again off the stick of Mirasolo. She made a nice move off the wall and ripped one high, short-side. Mirasolo is a great player with a lot of speed and is a natural goal scorer. That was a goal-scorer’s goal.
“It was a battle of two good teams,” Martucci added. “Peabody is very good. They are well-coached and they are a relentless backchecking team. They work extremely hard and have a very good goalie.”
The tie leaves the Lady Vikings at 9-6-1 on the season with two games left on their schedule. Martucci and his crew were set to take on first place Masconomet last night (Wednesday) and will host non-league foe Winchester next Wednesday at Larsen at 6:10.
“We already are in the tourney, but really need to grab another win or two for better seeding purposes,” said Martucci. . Lady Viking captain Emma Carleton now is only six points away from attaining the 100-point mark for her career. Emma leads the team this season with 18 goals and 15 assists. Junior Olivia Driscoll is second in scoring with 10 goals and eight assists.