WOBURN, Mass. -- After Tuesday’s game, Winchester head coach John Pirani and Woburn's Ken Blaszka each said they know what their respective teams need to work on: starting with fire.
No. 14 Winchester ultimately beat Woburn, 7-5, on the road, but both teams stumbled out of the gate with some sloppy passing in the first two quarters.
“I think we have a lot of talent, but I think we’re still growing in terms of maturing and … we’re feeling our way through to get to the point where we’re comfortable with what we’re doing and that’s exactly how I felt,” Pirani said. “I think we were very tentative for maybe 10 or 12 minutes and then we got to the second period and all of a sudden we’re playing. We did a lot and that’s something we’ll have to overcome in the next couple of weeks.”
Blaszka said the same about his Tanners (13-5) and their momentum – or lack thereof.
“We got to come out the first half a little more fired up than we are offensively.”
Come the start of the third quarter, it didn’t take long for Winchester (12-2) to start feeling the heat as the Tanners scored less than one minute into play to tie it 3-all.
Then Winchester started throwing shots at the cage and, as the rain gained momentum, so did the squads. At 6:53 Winchester regained their edge, 4-3. Woburn then fought back for the 4-all tie at 6:30 with a quick snapshot from the left wing. Winchester then responded with three consecutive goals. At 4:40, the Sachems scored with a clean look at the net, at 3:11 with a wrap-around from the left and at 9:30 in the fourth.
Woburn’s Eddie Insognia netted the team’s final goal at 8:17 from the right wing, but Winchester’s battling defense kept the remaining attempts away.
In the final two minutes, Winchester maintained possession, leaving Woburn with time only for a last-second heave.
“The defense, that’s what our bread and butter is,” Pirani said. “We frustrated [Woburn]. You could tell they were taking some shots that weren’t particularly well conceived.
“[Woburn] got that goal right at the beginning of the half and then we pretty much shut them down after that. So we were pretty pleased with our defensive effort.”
Blaszka said he thought his Tanners played well defensively, too – pressuring the ball, grabbing turnovers and clearing well – especially Michael Tedesco, who also scored. But, offensively, Woburn didn’t find its stride.
“Offensively, I thought we had our looks, we just didn’t hit the cage, you know?” Blaszka said. “We put five goals in, the goalie had six saves; we've got to dial in the shots on the cage.”
For Winchester, Chris O’Connell and Jesse Samek had two goals, while Pat Gill, Tim Mangano and Brendan Kelley each had one. For Woburn, Brendan Gilgun had a hat trick and Casey Shea assisted twice.
“Gilgun’s been good for us,” Blaszka said. “He’s been stepping up as of late. Beginning of the year he had a dislocated shoulder that he played through and that’s three to four weeks of rehab and he just played. He’s a tough player, he’s been coming through for us a lot lately and I’m glad he had three. I wish we had three and he won the game.”