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By Michael Flanagan
Hometown Weekly Sports Editor
Two old rivals met in the first round of the Division I South Sectionals last Wednesday evening as the Walpole and Wellesley boys squared off at Canton Ice House for the right to move on and face No. 1 Duxbury.
The story of the 2018-2019 season for Wellesley has been the phenomenal play in net by junior captain/goaltender Drew Hubbard, who entered the tournament with a 1.25 GAA. On February 19, Hubbard pitched a shutout in a 1-0 Wellesley victory against Walpole, the lone meeting of the season between the two teams.
While the setting may have changed for Wednesday’s first-round contest in Canton, the storyline remained the same: Drew Hubbard is an excellent goaltender.
Thanks to Hubbard’s 18 saves, Wellesley again blanked the Rebels with a 3-0 victory to advance to Saturday’s quarterfinals.
The Rebels (12-8-3) began the game buzzing, holding some sustained zonetime in the Wellesley end for the game’s first two minutes. At 2:06, junior forward Drew Cohen moved the puck up the ice for Wellesley on a three-on-two and dished a backhanded pass to freshman Joe Fleming, who deflected the puck perfectly into the back of the to give the Raiders (12-8-2) a 1-0 lead on their first shot of the night.
The Rebels were able to kill off a Wellesley power play to finish off the period, but the Raiders took their one-goal lead into the first intermission. Junior forward Liam Jensen doubled Wellesley’s lead to 2-0 midway through the second period on a shot from the slot, giving the Raiders a two-goal lead headed to the third.
Senior captain Conor Foley nearly cut into the deficit to 2-1 for Walpole on a mini-breakaway, but was turned aside by the left pad of Hubbard. Emmitt Coakley hammered the nail into the coffin late in the period to make it a 3-0 game and the Raiders advanced with the three-goal win.
On Saturday, Wellesley fell 2-0 to Duxbury.
For funny and incisive sports analysis, follow Mike Flanagan on his personal Twitter at @fLAno0.