WOBURN, Mass. – After a 3-1 loss to Wakefield on Monday, No. 21 Woburn returned to the rink for Tuesday practice. Then, head coach Jim Duran preached about the Tanners’ return to playing the style of hockey that makes them successful.
After taking a 4-1 Middlesex League victory over No. 17 Burlington on Wednesday at O’Brien Arena, it looks as though Duran’s team heeded his advice.
“On Monday, we lost a lot of one-on-one battles,” Duran said. “I think tonight was the first night that we’ve played to our potential, on the forecheck and trying to cause turnovers. That’s what we tried to do and that’s what we’ve had success year after year doing. I think the kids did that tonight.”
The Tanners (4-1-0, 4-1-0) took an early lead on Bobby Smith’s snipe 9:49 into the first period. Smith unleashed a wrist shot with laser precision underneath the crossbar and just above the shoulder of Burlington goaltender Nick DeSimone.
Yet for much of the first period the teams were even, playing a spirited, hard-hitting 15 minutes of play.
The second period, however, belonged to Woburn, which out-shot the Devils 15-7.
“We turned the puck over to them a lot in the neutral zone,” Burlington head coach Bob Conceison said. “I felt like our D was flat-footed a lot. They have quick forwards and they created opportunities off of the neutral zone forecheck.”
The Tanners’ continued pressure paid off when Eddie Aprile knocked home the rebound from an Adam Tanner shot for a 2-0 lead in the second.
Woburn picked up where they left off two minutes into the third on John Concannon’s goal assisted by Tom Arsenault and Jared Baker.
Burlington (3-2-1, 3-2-0) got on the board with 7:27 remaining in the contest on R.J. Caruso’s power play blast set up by Stephen Mattos and Joey Centrella. The Tanners closed out scoring with a tremendous individual effort by Casey Shea, who scored with a deke while going one-on-one with the goaltender. Smith added the assist to finish with a two-point game.
Tanners goaltender Jon Braese finished with 27 saves to earn the win.
It was clear their coach’s message has gotten through.
“I just the think the kids skated,” Duran said. “They wanted it and kept going, going and going.”
The Woburn girls’ hockey team made it a sweep of their border rivals with a 7-1 win over Burlington in the early game Wednesday at O’Brien.
Colleen Martell led the Tanners (5-1-0, 4-1-0), tallying a hat trick in her second straight game.