Evangelista nets two in non-league test
Â Grafton High School travelled to Winthrop with a glitzy 4-0 record, but the Vikings put an end to the visitorsâ€™ season-opening winning streak with a 6-2 triumph Monday before a large crowd at the Larsen Rink at the Mike Eruzione Center.
Before the game, the Vikings dedicated their season in memory of Thomas W. Bailey.Grafton, which is in Worcester County, had defeated Hudson (9-1), Assabet Valley (4-1), St. Paul of Worcester (6-0), and Blackstone Valley Tech (5-2) to start its season. The Grafton Gators are a perennial tourney contender and won a state championship in 2017.
But led by senior assistant captain Nate Evangelistaâ€™s two goals and an assist, and senior goaltender Nicolas Babineâ€™s 24-save performance, the Vikings skated to an impressive win over a quality opponent.
â€œWe played very well,â€ summarized head coach Dale Dunbar. â€œWe knew they were a good team, and weâ€™ll pick up some good points in the MIAAâ€™s ratings system. It was nice to see the big crowd there at the game.â€
Grafton struck first, but Phil Boncore, with his uncle, former State Sen. Joseph Boncore, in the arena, answered with a goal on the power play, assisted by Billy Hayes.
Michael Holgersen scored a goal to break the 1-1 tie and give Winthrop a lead it would not relinquish the rest of the way. Colin Banfield and Nate Evangelista assisted on Holgersenâ€™s goal.
Two of Winthropâ€™s captains, Jack Hayes and Petey Silverman, connected for a goal, with Hayesâ€™ lamplighter making it 3-1.
Evangelista scored the first of his two goals to increase the lead to 4-1. Boncore drew an assist on the play.
After the Gators sliced the lead to 4-2, Silverman had an unassisted goal to make it 5-2. Evangelistaâ€™s unassisted goal in the third period locked up the victory.
Winthrop improved its record to 3-1. The Vikingsâ€™ only setback has been to Lynnfield, 2-1, in a game played Dec. 21 in Peabody. Jack Hayes scored Winthropâ€™s only goal to tie Lynnfield at 1-1 in the second period. Petey Silverman and Jackson Andy assisted on the play. Lynnfield scored late in the third period to take a 2-1 lead. Winthrop pulled its goaltender for the extra attacker but was unable to produce the tying goal. Babine was a standout in net for the Vikings.
Winthrop will host Medford on Tuesday, Jan. 3. Interestingly, both Winthrop head coach Dale Dunbar and Medford head coach Shawn Bates played for the NHLâ€™s Boston Bruins and the Boston University Terriers.