Donohue lifts Wolverines to South semifinals

By Michael Flanagan
Hometown Weekly Sports Editor

Coming off a regular season in which they won the TVL and qualified for the state tournament for the 37th consecutive year, it’s safe to say that the 2018-2019 season has already been a major success for the Westwood High boys varsity hockey team.

 Senior forward Matt Hetnik (3) eyes his prey before delivering an open-ice hit.   Photos by Michael Flanagan

Senior forward Matt Hetnik (3) eyes his prey before delivering an open-ice hit. Photos by Michael Flanagan

However, ask any member of the Wolverines (13-1-6) and they will tell you that they are not even close to being satisfied.

On Saturday, the No. 3 Wolverines hosted No. 11 Bishop Feehan in the Division II South quarterfinals. Coming off an impressive 5-1 victory over Whitman-Hanson in the first round, Saturday’s contest against the Shamrocks (10-7-3) held a completely different pace, with goaltending and stellar defensive play being the dominant factors.

Senior forward Matt Hetnik gave the Wolverines a 1-0 lead with a short-side snipe up high with 9:02 to play in the opening period. Senior forward Conor Donohue nearly doubled Westwood’s lead to 2-0 just seconds later on a loose puck in the slot, but Donahue was denied by the blocker of Feehan goalie Rory Geraghty to keep it a 1-0 game at the first intermission.

At 7:43 of the second, Feehan’s Tom Reilly was sent off for slashing to put Westwood on the power play. Just 15 seconds into the man advantage, Donohue capitalized by firing home a wrist shot glove side from the top of the face-off circle to give the Wolverines a 2-0 lead.

“I got the puck form the corner and passed it up to Cal Guarino who walked the blue line and fed it back to me. I saw a screen in front of the net and that the goalie couldn’t see. I shot it off the hip of the screen and it found the back of the net,” said Donohue about his would-be game-winning goal.

Westwood took their two-goal lead into the third period.

Senior captain/forward Conor Donohue (2) celebrates following his would-be game-winning power play goal midway through the second period of Westwood’s 2-1 quarterfinal victory over Bishop Feehan on Saturday.  Photos by Michael Flanagan

Senior captain/forward Conor Donohue (2) celebrates following his would-be game-winning power play goal midway through the second period of Westwood’s 2-1 quarterfinal victory over Bishop Feehan on Saturday. Photos by Michael Flanagan

Jason Sullivan cut the deficit in half for Feehan on the power play with a clapper from the point with 11:24 to play in the contest. The Shamrocks began to pick up the tempo and held sustained zonetime in the Westwood end. The Wolverines tightened up and collapsed towards the front of their cage, blocking away shot after shot. With the game still 2-1 with 1:20 to play, Feehan pulled Geragthy for the extra attacker. An icing set up a face-off in the Westwood end with 10.2 seconds to play. The Wolverines won the face-off and Guarino made the game-clinching clear. Westwood advanced with the thrilling 2-1 win.

“The win was nice. Being in a close game will help us in close games in the future,” said Donohue. “We’re putting this behind us and now we’re focusing on Medfield.”

At the time of print, Westwood will travel to face-off against rival Medfield at Gallo Arena in Bourne on March 5, whom the Wolverines went 1-0-1 against during the regular season.

For funny and incisive sports analysis, follow Mike Flanagan on his personal Twitter at @fLAno0.

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