By David James, HockomockSports.com Contributor
FOXBORO, Mass. – Fans were treated to a playoff preview on Wednesday afternoon as two of the top teams in Division 2 Central/East collided on Sam Berns Community Field.
For the second game in a row, Foxboro held tight with a perineal state power through a quarter and a half but Wayland built a four-goal lead by half and never looked back en route to a 15-6 win.
“They were better than us,” said Foxboro head coach Matt Noone. “Some of our games earlier in the season we could get away without having a third slide, or having some other bad habits, but against a team like this and a team like Xaverian that won’t work. That’s why I schedule these games though, so we can learn from them before the playoffs.”
After a relatively close first quarter ended with Wayland up 3-2, the visitors made a 4-0 run to start the second quarter, eventually leading to a 7-3 halftime.
Wayland scored the first two goals of the afternoon before Bobby Yerardi (two goals) put Foxboro on the scoreboard. One minute later Brendan Tully (two goals, one assist) tied the game with a man-up snipe. After Wayland’s Christopher Balicki scored his second of the quarter, the first period ended at 3-2 in favor of Wayland.
In the second quarter, Wayland junior Michael Lampert (four goals, two assists) took over, scoring two goals, and assisting on another to help establish a 4-0 run to give Wayland a five-goal lead. Yeradi scored his second goal of the game on an assist from Tully to stop the bleeding just before half.
Wayland won five straight faceoffs to start the second half, resulting in the majority of time of possession and a 4-1 to extend its lead.
Beyond Wayland’s strong day at the faceoff X, the Warriors were plagued by 15 turnovers. The visiting Warriors held a 9-3 edge in faceoffs in the second half made it challenging for Foxboro’s defense to get a break.
“I told them we’re not going to get them all back in one shot,” Noone said. “We have to just chip away at the lead but [Wayland] won 15 faceoffs, that’s about a minute possession each time meanwhile my defense is getting tired in the sun and it certainly showed. That’s why good teams win, they can possess the ball better than the team that can’t. That’s how we like to beat teams, but we just couldn’t make enough stops on the defensive end to get it to our offense and possess it ourselves.”
Foxboro’s defense played well at the beginning of possessions, but Wayland’s patience on offense paid off.
Wayland FOGO Jake Tyska set the tone for the second half, winning the opening faceoff and scoring himself to extend the lead to five just 13 seconds into the half. Tyska won the next four faceoffs and even scored again on the same play, mounting a 4-1 run to start the second half. The lone Foxboro goal came from a man-up rip from Louis Piccolo.
“Defensively right now I think we’re porous,” Noone said. “We have to play better one on one defense if we want to stop teams that can shoot as well as Wayland can. Jake [Addeche] bails us out of a lot of situations. He had 11 saves today, that’s unbelievable. We gotta tighten things up and we will.”
Foxboro carried a man-up possession into the final quarter but was unable to turn it into anything as Wayland goalie made a huge save on Piccolo’s rifle. Foxboro’s Mike Moses scored the lone Foxboro goal of the fourth quarter and Wayland was able to run the clock down for the remainder of the game.
“We’re a product of our schedule right now.” Noone said. “We had a soft schedule early but we’re going to be better because we played this game, as well as last game [Xaverian]. Wayland plays a really tough schedule, so they’re battle-tested, unfortunately for us, we’re just getting battle tested right now. You have to get exposed and that’s what happened these last two games, and we just have to learn from that.”
Wayland (15-2), now on a six-game win streak, will finish their regular season against another D2 Central East foe in Concord-Carlisle, while Foxboro (14-3) will close out the regular season at Milford.