The boys hockey team was coming off two straight appearances in the Super 8 tournament and the girls hockey team had just won the 2010 MIAA Girls Division II state championship.
Not surprisingly, neither team reached such heights this season, but there were still some great moments — Michaela Chiuccariello became the girls program's all-time leading scorer, while the boys team advanced farther than any other Winchester team this winter, reaching the semifinals of the Division 1 North tournament.
Here's a look back at both seasons:
Boys hockey: The Sachems needed to replace two-time Middlesex League MVP Mike Seward and three-year starting goalie Mike Messuri. Senior Jed Robison did an admirable job between the pipes, while Seward's production was replaced by a group of players as the Sachems scored five goals in each of its first two games.
Robinson had 19 saves in a 5-0 on opening night, and Dan Donovan scored an unassisted goal with less than four minutes left to give the Sachems a 5-4
After a 3-0-1 start, Winchester eventually lost its first game. But Ryan McGoff had four goals and three assists in the next three games, as the Sachems bounced back with two wins.
The team improved to 9-3-1 with a 4-1 . Nick Ducharme scored twice and Colin Edwards had a goal and an assist in the third period as the Sachems defeated Belmont for the eighth straight time.
The league season ended on a high note as Robinson shut out two league opponents, Melrose and .
“We came out ready to play," Winchester coach Matt Spang said. "It’s getting to that time of year with the tournament coming up that you have to come out strong every night and we did that."
Goals from Edwards, Mark Matignetti and Brendan Greene gave No. 5 Winchester a 3-2 in the first round of the state tournament. The Sachems followed that with a 2-1 win over fourth-seeded St. John's Shrewsbury in the quarterfinals. In the final three minutes of the second period, Donovan tied the game on a rebound and Greene converted a one-timer off a pass from Peter Troiano. But the postseason run ended with a 8-2 loss to St. Mary's.
Girls hockey: As the defending state champion, Winchester knew that opponents would be gunning for it this season. Sure enough, the Sachems went winless in their first three games, but Chiuccariello scored the first five goals as Winchester finally picked up its first win,
"I felt great this game," Chiuccariello said. "I knew we had to pick up the intensity and I was able to get free a few times and score."
A 9-1 loss to Woburn followed, but Winchester eventually got back to .500 at 4-4-2 with a as Chiuccariello scored the winner with 4:18 left.
It jumped up to 8-6-2 after a pair of non-league wins against Austin Prep (3-1) and Marblehead (3-0) as Chiuccariello combined for five goals and an assist, and Winchester clinched a playoff berth by beating Burlington 6-1.
The Sachems finished the regular season at 9-9-2 after losing to St. Mary's 4-1. The Spartans increased their unbeaten streak to 99 games, but not without a little scare — Winchester actually took the lead in the first period on a goal by Chiuccariello, assisted by Tori Carson and Marisa Gehrig.
The highlight of the season came in the first playoff game, as No. 17 Wincehster scored twice in the final 90 seconds of regulation and eventually
Katherine Zavez scored a power-play goal with 1:27 remaining to make it 2-1, and with the goalie pulled for an extra skater, Sachems Chiuccariello tied the game off a pass from Alexis Zavez. Winchester goalie Meg Creane stopped all three Belmont shooters in the shutout, while Sachems shooters Samantha Ross, Chiuccariello and Michele Woolford all scored.
Winchester's hopes for back-to-back titles ended in the next round, as the Sachems fell to top seed Norwood 4-1.
Chiuccariello finished her career with 107 goals and 165 points, both program records.
"To get 100 points in a career is one thing," coach Tom Johnson said. "To get 100 goals is amazing. As a coach I'm hoping somebody comes and breaks it soon but you know that for someone to score 100 goals is few and far between."