Freshman Joe Fleming (4) moves the puck into the offensive zone late in the first period.
By Michael Flanagan
Hometown Weekly Sports Editor
Two old rivals met in the first round of the Division I South Sectionals last Wednesday evening as the Walpole and Wellesley boys squared off at Canton Ice House for the right to move on and face No. 1 Duxbury.
The story of the 2018-2019 season for Wellesley has been the phenomenal play in net by junior captain/goaltender Drew Hubbard, who entered the tournament with a 1.25 GAA. On February 19, Hubbard pitched a shutout in a 1-0 Wellesley victory against Walpole, the lone meeting of the season between the two teams.
While the setting may have changed for Wednesday’s first-round contest in Canton, the storyline remained the same: Drew Hubbard is an excellent goaltender.
Thanks to Hubbard’s 18 saves, Wellesley again blanked the Rebels with a 3-0 victory to advance to Saturday’s quarterfinals.
The Rebels (12-8-3) began the game buzzing, holding some sustained zonetime in the Wellesley end for the game’s first two minutes. At 2:06, junior forward Drew Cohen moved the puck up the ice for Wellesley on a three-on-two and dished a backhanded pass to freshman Joe Fleming, who deflected the puck perfectly into the back of the to give the Raiders (12-8-2) a 1-0 lead on their first shot of the night.
The Rebels were able to kill off a Wellesley power play to finish off the period, but the Raiders took their one-goal lead into the first intermission. Junior forward Liam Jensen doubled Wellesley’s lead to 2-0 midway through the second period on a shot from the slot, giving the Raiders a two-goal lead headed to the third.
Senior captain Conor Foley nearly cut into the deficit to 2-1 for Walpole on a mini-breakaway, but was turned aside by the left pad of Hubbard. Emmitt Coakley hammered the nail into the coffin late in the period to make it a 3-0 game and the Raiders advanced with the three-goal win.
On Saturday, Wellesley fell 2-0 to Duxbury.
For funny and incisive sports analysis, follow Mike Flanagan on his personal Twitter at @fLAno0.