As classmates are setting school records at the indoor track arena, the Bedford High School boys’ varsity hockey team continues their own big run.
Melrose High School (0-9-1) took on BHS (8-0-2) in a non-league afternoon game at the Edge Sports Center on Wednesday.
Melrose showed up and played like they had something to prove…or nothing to lose…or maybe their record just didn’t tell the whole story, but the Red Hawks made the Bucs work hard particularly through the first part of the first period. Bedford could not get much of anything going offensively and relied on the dependability of Bedford goaltender Max Marchionna, and Marchionna did not disappoint.
To make the Red Hawk offensive pressure more precarious in the opening period, Bedford was called on a leg checking penalty in the defensive zone in the second half of the period and then 42 seconds later, Bedford received a tripping penalty. This gave Melrose a two-player advantage for a minute and 18 seconds. That’s quite a bit of time in hockey.
Marchionna knocked down shot after shot while Charles Demeo, Charlie Siciliano, Alex Frost, and Ryan McGrath shared the duty of protecting the house. After one penalty expired, James Naylor joined the defensive fray. And when the second penalty clock wore off, the Bucs had worked themselves out of trouble.
It seemed the scramble was just the wake up call the home offense needed. As the Bucs regained their fifth player, Frost broke out of the defensive end and took a shot on Melrose tender Matthew Fuccione. In the scramble for the rebound, Melrose ended up with an interference call with three and a half minutes left in the first period.
With a Bedford player advantage, the Bucs team regrouped, and began to play with more control.
The Bucs played head coach Brian Seabury’s preferred strategy: “five-man hockey.” Maintaining control throughout the attacking zone, utilizing all five skaters and passing around the outsides, supporting players under pressure, forechecking to keep the puck in the offensive zone, taking shots, having footing in front of the net, and regaining possession of rebounds. Bedford was able to capitalize in the player advantage.
Halfway through the power play, Bedford employed a sequence that utilized all five skaters.
James Naylor was tied up with two Melrose players on the right-side boards midway through the Bucs’ offensive zone. With the support of Demeo, the puck got out to Logan Cox. Cox drew two defenders further down along the boards towards the corner and nudged the puck out of traffic back to Naylor. The three Hawks players that were battling on the outside were still against the boards and with a Hawk player in the penalty box, there was just one Melrose defender left supporting Fuccione in front of the net.
Naylor broke toward that defender and then dumped a pass across the net to McGrath waiting on the weak side just outside of the crease. McGrath took a shot. Fuccione butterflied to the side to make the save, but Frost was also crashing in and flicked the rebound over Fuccione’s leg pads to give the Bucs a straight line on the scoreboard with 2 minutes and 38 seconds left in the first period.
And just after the goal was finished being announced over the PA system, Siciliano made a pass up from the defensive corner along the right-side boards. The pass was missed by his teammate and scooted through the neutral zone heading towards a potential icing call.
James Lorusso saw an opportunity and put on the wheels. Lorusso bolted from across the ice to track down the missed pass and caught up to it at the blue line alongside of a Melrose defender. Lorusso spun and knocked the puck out of reach of the defender. Andy Scoville, crashing into the offensive zone, collected the puck and took a quick shot from the right-side face-off circle to the far side of the net.
With two minutes left in the first period, Bedford was up 2-0.
Bedford worked the ice through the second and third periods, but so did Melrose. Melrose played like even if they weren’t going to win, they were determined until the final buzzer not to be shut out. This would not be their afternoon. Marchionna secured a fifth shutout.
Bedford scored an additional goal in the third period. Drew Siwik carried the puck up the ice and was leveled by Melrose defender Joey Kelleher at half-ice. Melrose center Brendan Healy picked up the puck, and took it into the Bedford attacking zone to turn around with some space. Healy attempted to pass it out of the zone but the pass was easily intercepted by a quickly back on his feet and recovered Siwik.
Siwik took an agile step around Healy and drove into the zone before taking a shot from the outside and getting credited with a goal. The final score was 3-0 for the home team.
There’s no midseason rest for Bedford as the Bucs head to play their fourth and fifth games in eight days this weekend.
Bedford hosts Lowell at 8 p.m. on Saturday at the Edge on Hartwell Road. And then travels to play Lexington at 4 p.m. on Sunday at the Bentley Arena, 400 Beaver St., Waltham.
Bedford bested Lowell 7-0 to open the season. Lowell is currently 3-6-1 and sitting at the #47 seat in the MIAA Division 3 Power Ranking. With low temperatures continuing in the forecast, bundle up before heading to the barn on Saturday night.
Lexington, has a 5-6-2 record. The Minutemen went on their own recent streak, gaining traction as the season progresses, so the #36 seat of MIAA Division 1 power ranking might not be representative of how they show up on Sunday. The annual match-up of neighbors draws nostalgia as players on both teams grew up playing together on Lexington Bedford Youth Hockey teams and will meet as opponents. Current LBYH squirt teams will also take the ice for a “5 minutes of Fame” game. There will be no admission fee on Sunday.