Senior captain Phil Parker (23) picks up the puck behind his net and starts a rush up the ice. Photos by Mike Flanagan.
By Mike Flanagan
Hometown Weekly Sports Editor
Rivalry games against Dover-Sherborn and Westwood are what varsity hockey players in Medfield live for. This past week, the Warriors (4-2-0, 3-1-0) got a taste of both at Pirelli Arena in Franklin.
Despite the history the two schools share, Medfield and DS boys hockey were not even scheduled to meet after COVID-19 caused the TVL to split into two pods (Large, Small) for the 2020-2021 winter athletic season. After Westwood was forced to pause due to contact tracing last week and postpone their matchup with Medfield, the Warriors picked up an out-of-league contest against the Raiders (2-2-0, 2-1-0) on Wednesday.
From the start, Medfield enforced their will. Just 1:08 in, junior defenseman Max Sherman kept a puck in at the point, crept down below the goal line and fed a beautiful backhand pass to senior captain Sam Palmer in front for an easy tap-in goal, putting Medfield ahead, 1-0. With 13:30 to play in the period, senior forward Aiden Perachi doubled the lead to 2-0 by depositing home the rebound of an initial shot from the point by Ryan Dolan. Just under eight minutes later, sophomore forward James Tyer made it a 3-0 game on the power play, hammering home the rebound of a shot from the point by senior defenseman James Wilder. Medfield carried their three-goal lead into the intermission.
The game remained 3-0 until 11:29 to play in the second period. With Medfield on a five-on-three power play, Dolan notched his second point of the day, receiving a cross-ice feed from junior forward Liam Ladd and firing home a wrist shot blocker side to make it 4-0. Just 1:09 later, Wilder jumped up into the play on the rush, deked through his man and fired home a wrist shot bar-down to deliver the dagger and make it a 5-0 game. With 5:54 to play, sophomore Kevin Arthur added some insurance by banging home a rebound to extend the lead to 6-0. With 4:58 to play, senior captain Phil Parker got in on the action by feeding a beautiful two-on-one pass to Ladd on the back door. Ladd deposited home a wrist shot to add the exclamation point on a 7-0 win for the Warriors. Senior Austin Verge earned the shutout in net.
Four days later, the Warriors hosted Westwood looking to avenge a pair of defeats (1-0 and 4-3) to the Wolverines to open up the season. At 18:14 of the first period, sophomore forward Danny Sullivan picked up a loose puck at the left face-off dot and snapped home a wrist shot through traffic to put Westwood ahead, 1-0.
With 8:24 to play in the period, Sam Palmer responded for Medfield, picking off a pass in the high slot and firing home a wrist shot into the top-left corner to tie the game at one. Palmer's tally began a three-goal run for the Warriors. Aiden Perachi shot home a goal from an odd angle down in the right corner to give Medfield a 2-1 lead with 2:41 to play in the period. Just 58 seconds later, following a strong forecheck by Liam Ladd, Phil Parker picked up a loose puck at the net-mouth and snapped home a shot under the glove of Westwood goaltender Declan O'Leary to make it 3-1 at the intermission.
With 16:49 to play in the second period, senior forward Brendan Fay responded for Westwood, snapping home a one-time feed from senior captain Nick Horsfall in the high slot to cut the deficit to 3-2. A little less than three minutes later, senior forward Mike Vachon smacked home a backhander on a net-mouth scramble to put Medfield back ahead by a pair at 4-2 with 13:52 to play. With Westwood pressuring, Medfield senior goaltender Garrison Schilling made a series of massive saves with 10 minutes to play to keep the game at 4-2. With 2:25 remaining, Horsfall broke through for Westwood and earned his second point of the contest, snapping home a loose puck from the left hash marks to get Westwood to within a goal. With under a minute remaining and still trailing by one, Westwood pulled O'Leary from the net for an extra attacker in search of the tying goal. With 19.6 seconds to play, senior forward Chris Lawson buried an empty-netter from deep in his own zone for Medfield, putting the Warriors ahead 5-3 and sealing the victory.
For funny and incisive sports analysis as well as video highlights of games, follow Mike Flanagan on his personal Twitter and Instagram handles @flano0.