Garden Trip On The Line Tonight For FHS Girl's Hockey Vs. Wellesley
By: RICH MACLONE, March 11, 2014
It was hard to look at the right side of the Division 2 bracket and not foresee the prospect of one match-up coming up again for the Falmouth High School girls’ ice hockey team. With the Clippers seeded third, and Wellesley seeded second, chances were good that the squads would be meeting up to determine one of the finalists at this upcoming weekend’s state championship game.
As expected, the seeds held true on the right side of the bracket. Upsets were the norm on the other side of the tournament field, but on the one that held the Clippers (16-2-3) and Red Raiders (19-1-3), the teams seemed headed for a collision at Gallo Ice Arena.
That collision will be tonight at 5:15 PM, with a trip to the TD Garden on the line. It will mark the second meeting between arguably the best teams in Division 2 this year. Falmouth and Wellesley met at the Falmouth Ice Arena at the Cape Cod Classic just three weeks ago. That game ended in a 2-2 draw.
Both clubs have had a pair of state tourney games since, and have made it this far by winning them. The Clippers dominated Algonquin in a 2-0 game that wasn’t really that close in round one, and then survived a thrilling overtime contest against Burlington on Saturday, winning 4-3 on an Alexa Scribner goal in the second OT. Wellesley’s march to the semifinals has been a bit easier. They toasted Shawsheen in the first round, 6-0, and then upended an overmatched Milton team on Saturday, 3-1.
Wellesley head coach George Campbell took the Lou Holtz approach when talking about the Clippers following his team’s win over Milton in the quarterfinals. He’d seen the last few periods of Falmouth’s game, with his team taking the ice afterwards, and he said all good things about the Clippers. Still, it was apparent that he feels pretty good about his team’s chances.
“I guess [Falmouth] is the favorite in this tournament. They’ve been to the Garden twice in the past two years. You don’t really see any flaws with Falmouth, from the goal out. Their defense is solid, they’re very well organized in every zone. They’re tough, they’re just real tough,” Campbell said. “We’re going to have our work cut out for us.”
Meghan King has quietly been very good for the Raiders in the goal all season long. The keeper made a couple of big stops against Milton on Saturday that prevented the underdogs from cutting the lead down to a single goal. She also prevented the Clippers from scoring a go-ahead marker on a couple of occasions back when the clubs met a few weeks ago.
The big gun for Wellesley High School is forward Cecily Docktor. There’s no question that the Clippers are going to want to know where number 15 is on the ice at all times. Including the state tournament, Docktor has over 20 goals for the season and she had both tallies in the previous game against the Clippers. Carley Boyle and Keely Corscadden, who also had goals against Milton, are the other two top scorers for Wellesley High.
Campbell said it will take a complete team effort out of his club to get the job done, and that he expects quite a battle.
“We hope to be totally ready for the game and have our kids put our best foot forward,” Campbell said. “I think for both teams, it’s going to be team balance. It’s not going to be one kid coming out of nowhere and doing something spectacular, it’s going to be all of the little things and everyone doing their job and doing it a little bit better than kids on the other team. That’s been a success for us all year, and if you watch Falmouth, they have some notable players, but they don’t have a weak link. Everybody out there is just pulling their own weight. They’re a tough team to break.”
Wellesley, for the most part has depended on its top line to produce the bulk of its scoring throughout the year. The Docktor-Boyle-Corscadden combo produced 40 of the team’s 73 regular season goals.
Falmouth High has been dependent on its top two lines all season, and especially during the postseason. The Clippers have skated seven forwards throughout the tournament, with Shannon Upton coming off the bench to spot players on the top two lines on a semi-regular basis.
The top line of Maddi Haberl, Maggie MacDonald and Ericka Meissner has provided half of the tourney goals so far, with Haberl getting all three. She now has 23 for the season. The team’s second line scored three of the four goals in Saturday’s win, with each member of the unit getting one as Emily Sanidas, Kelly Ferreira and Alexa Scribner each lit the lamp once.
When the clubs met on February 20, they battled a back-and-forth affair that saw the Clippers score the first and last goals of the game and Wellesley get the two in the middle. Maggie MacDonald got the first one of the game for the Clippers, on a break-in. Docktor scored two goals in a span of just three minutes to give her team the lead late in the first period. Maddie Scavotto shut out the Raiders the rest of the way and the Clippers came back to tie the game at 5:43 of the third period when Emily Sanidas finished off a feed from Kelly Ferreira to tie the game. Both teams had chances to win it after that, but the keepers came up big. FHS had to kill off a questionable penalty inside the last two minutes, and came close to getting the game-winner on a Maddi Haberl break-in for a shorthanded bid.
“We’ve both played in some big games by this point,” Hunt said. “This is a game we’ve been preparing for all year.”
Some would say that the team has been preparing for a third straight trip to the TD Garden. The Clippers won’t buy into that trap, though. They say they’re just thinking about winning the next game, and that’s it.
“We need to keep pushing, never give up. We have to act like we’re the underdog in each game no matter who we play,” Ferreira said after assisting on the game-winner on Saturday.
Coach Hunt said that no one’s talking about the Garden, and she won’t let the word escape her lips. “No one’s talked about, no one’s used the word and we’re still not saying it,” Hunt said.
Not yet, at least. Sometime tonight they’re hoping that it’s all they’ll be talking about.