WOBURN, Mass. -- Wednesday night’s grudge match between Middlesex League rivals No. 5 Woburn and No. 16 Winchester was about what you’d think it to be — one physical hockey game.
Despite trailing 2-0 in the second period, the Tanners were lifted on the strength of a three-goal second period. All Woburn had to do was endure the onslaught of the Sachems’ best shot in the third period to grind out a 3-2 win.
“They tough, they’re aggressive, they’re really gritty,” Woburn head coach Jim Duran said. “We knew we had our work cut for us.”
The Tanners (6-0-0, 3-1-1) thought they’d claimed a 1-0 lead in the first, only to see Jared Baker’s breakaway shot, which zipped out of the net nearly as quickly as it arrived, washed out.
Winchester (3-4-2, 1-1-1) capitalized on the no-goal call, gaining the lead on Drew Mills’ tally midway through the first period. Mills followed with his second of the game in the second period, boosting the Sachems to a 2-0 advantage four minutes in.
That’s when Woburn turned a switch on. The Tanners owned the rest of the period, scoring three straight goals, for which Winchester had no answer.
Senior co-captain Casey Shea was the catalyst to all three Tanner goals, picking up three assists, even if he might have been a little rusty.
“He was a little sluggish in the first period,”Duran said of Shea. “He’s been out for a week and a half with chicken pox and he hasn’t played. He’s only been able to practice one day, on Tuesday, it just shows that he’s got a lot of heart.”
Shea’s linemate Danny Holland was the beneficiary of two of his dishes. Holland’s goals, which were sandwiched around Jake Secatore’s blast from the point, included the game-winner, which was scored with eight seconds remaining in the second period off a neutral zone turnover.
Winchester carried play for the bulk of the third, but were limited in their chances to get clean looks at netminder Jeremy Flibotte.
Weathering the storm of the Sachems’ best shots in the final minute, Woburn escaped with the two points.
“We got caught in a long change, and one line was out there longer than they should’ve,” Duran said. “And then, we had to mix and match a little bit … We were lucky to get through those final 20 seconds or so, Jeremy came up with a couple big saves for us.”