WOBURN – The magical state tournament run has finally come to an end for the Watertown High School boys hockey team, which fell 2-1 in overtime to Wayland in the div. 3 North Section final Monday night.
The Raiders won the 2015 Div. 3 State Championship, and again seemed to have the skill and luck to make another run to the TD Garden. Watertown Head Coach Mike Hayes had faith in his team’s abilities, despite finishing the regular season with a 9-11 record.
“I really did, I thought we had enough to get back in the tournament and make a run,” said Hayes, noting that the team won nine straight tournament games. “I don’t think many people thought we would do much this year – win the last five games and and win three tournament games and get to the North final. Pretty impressive.”
The North final at Woburn’s O’Brien Rink was a rematch from the past two state tournaments, with each team winning once. The first period ended scoreless, but with 2:53 left in the second period Watetown senior Mike Giordano put the Raiders in front.
The lead would not last long. With 1:42 left in the second, Wayland sophomore Joy Lydon scored to knot the game.
The Raiders and Warriors both created offensive chances, including each team having a power play. For the second game in a row, however, Watertown was going to overtime.
In the North Section semifinal, Watertown outlasted Shawsheen Tech in double overtime and won in a shootout. Monday night, the breaks did not go the Raiders’ way.
Overtime featured end to end action with quality chances on both sides. Wayland sophomore Riley Bonner hit the back of the net to win the game with 1:02 left in the the six-minute overtime.
Watertown had players recovering from illness, and came off the shootout game two days earlier, but Hayes said those were not the reasons the Raiders came up short.
“No excuses,” Hayes said. “Wayland is solid. Wayland is a well coached team, very gritty. They have a great group of kids and coaches. They got the better of us today.”
Watertown had its share of offensive opportunities, but the Warriors were able to make theirs count.
“They kept us outside, but we had our chances, maybe even more than they did. but they capitalized on those two,” Hayes said.
Watertown’s roster was in the double digits, but they skated only nine players in the game, Hayes said, including forwards converted into defensemen and a goalie that had not seen varsity action before this year.
“I couldn’t be prouder to have a group of kids to put it on the line every night,” Hayes said. “They never come off the ice. They kill penalties. They run power plays. They double shift – it is unbelievable. They got us a state title this year, and they helped get us back to this point this year.
Watertown boys hockey team says goodbye to an accomplished group of seniors.
“Most of these guys go out as state champs from last year,” Hayes said. “That is more than most guys can say.”