The Watertown boys’ hockey team dreamed of making it to the TD Garden for the state final, and they made it by playing like a family.
Sunday at 1 p.m., the Raiders hit the Garden ice to face off against Agawam for the MIAA Div. 3 state championship. Get live updates from the game in the live blog below.
When you talk to the Watertown players and coaches, one thing comes up over and over – family. Head coach Mike Hayes said his players really are that close.
“When you have a team that’s a family and really believes it … I know sometimes it might sound corny – but you see it in the locker room they play for each other,” Hayes said after his team defeated Norwell in the state semifinal Wednesday night.
Watertown’s senior goalie, Anthony Busconi, said the closeness shows on the ice.
“We just play together,” Busconi said. “Our big thing is we area a family playing together. It shows on the ice and off the ice. We play for each other. We don’t want to let each other down.”
Busconi has been a big part of the Raiders’ run to the state final, letting in only four goals in five games. He shut out Norwell in the semifinal.
The Raiders’ defensive strategy has also been a big part of the team’s success. The forwards play a zone and down to prevent passes down low near the Watertown net. Norwell coach Jim Casagrande was impressed by how well the Raiders’ strategy worked.
“That’s way better than anything I have ever seen,” Casagrande said. “You add the goalie to it and just ad how disciplined they were … They knew how to jump, they knew when to jump.”
Watertown’s scoring has been spread out, but junior Tyler Gardiner leads the team in the tournament with seven goals. Junior Nick Martino has three goals and junior Tyler Poulin scored twice this tournament.
Watertown faces West Section champion Agawam, which beat North Middlesex 5-2 in the West/Central semifinal on Wednesday.
The Brownies are lead by senior Seamus Curran, who passed the 100 career point mark in the last regular season game. He has five goals in three tournament games. Anthony Passerini has the next most for Agawam with three goals.
Brownies goalie Connor McAnanama has let in three goals in three tournament games.
2014-15 Watertown Raiders Boys’ Hockey Roster
Forwards – Mick Martino, junior; Michael Giordano, junior; Barry Dunn, junior; Matt Busconi, junior; Colin Gardiner, sophomore; Tyler Gardiner, junior; Daniel Farrar, junior; Tyler Poulin, junior; Tim Connors, freshman; Dante Cimino, sophomore; Owen Gallagher, freshman; Jeffrey Comeau, senior.
Defensemen – Austin Farry, senior; Sean Peschier, junior; Brendan Berkeley; Nick Giordano, senior; Matt Murphy, senior.
Goalies – Jason Hughes, junior; Anthony Busconi, senior.