BOURNE — The Watertown/Wayland boy’s hockey team appeared to have one more moment of magic up its sleeve after grabbing a tying goal in the final minutes of the MIAA Div. 3 Final Four game, but the “puck luck” was not on the Raiders’ side and the Sailors will be skating for the State Title after a 4-2 win capped by an empty net goal.
Watertown Coach John Vlachos knew top-seeded Scituate would be tough, with a pair of 50 point scorers on the top line. But the Raiders didn’t fold after going down 2-0 late in the first period.
“We kept the game low (scoring), it was 2-2 with three minutes left in the game. That’s our kind of game,” Vlachos said. “Unfortunately, we just didn’t have that puck luck to get it into overtime and maybe get the winning goal. I give them credit, there is a reason why they are the number one team.”
The Sailors opened the scoring with a power play goal by Johnny Donahue in the first (assisted by Jim Sullivan), followed a couple minutes later by an unassisted goal by P.J. Cappadonna.
Watertown skated with more purpose coming out of the locker room and the game became more physical.
“We told them we need that next goal to come off our stick and then when we got it back to 2-1, I said ‘OK, we have a chance here,” Vlachos said.
Raiders goalie Casey Williams saved multiple shots right out of the gate in the second, and senior Vincent Wolff’s goal cut the lead in half 1:08 into the period. The goal was assisted by senior Anthony Venezia.
The teams played a high paced, end-to-end second and third periods, but the game remained 2-1 as the clock waned in the third period. The Raiders went on the power play with about five minutes left. Senior Jack Dickie took a pass from Venezia and blasted it into the Scituate net to tie the game with 4:10 left.
The celebration was short, however. Scituate broke out of its own end, and Donahue took a pass from Teagan Pratt to score the go ahead goal with 2:54 left. Watertown pulled the goalie with about 1:20 left, but Pratt iced the game with an empty net goal.
“We just didn’t get enough shots on net. I thought we played a great two periods,” Vlachos said. “Even though we ended up losing the game, I thought the boys fought well, they played hard, they did everything I asked them to do — this game and throughout the season.”
The game featured excellent goaltending on both sides, Vlachos said.
“I thought their goalie (Thomas McMellen) played outstanding. I thought he was the difference in the game,” Vlachos said. “Casey has been playing like that all year, I kind of expect that from him.”
Watertown’s seniors have had quite a run in their careers.
“Casey Williams has been with me for six years, Jack Dickie and Anthony (Venezia) have been with me for five years, the other kids have been with me for four,” Vlachos said. “They have seen a lot of playing time, and got to the final last year and to the semifinal this year. They have a lot to be proud of.”
Making a run deep into the tournament is really aided by having a core of six to eight seniors, Vlachos said. Watertown had that the last two years. Despite losing nine seniors, Vlachos remains positive about the prospects for Watertown/Wayland next year. The Raiders have six juniors on this year’s roster, five sophomores, but no freshmen.