Walpole Faces Rival Norwood on Saturday


Ben Brownsword

Red Sox and Yankees. Ohio State and Michigan. Walpole and Norwood.

In every sport, every year, the neighboring towns are the fiercest of rivals. Normally, the rivalry between the Walpole and Norwood boys’ hockey teams is among the fiercest between sports teams. Usually, both teams are among the top teams in the Herget Division, and their matchups almost always have tournament implications.

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As their contrasting records indicate, the stakes are much lower for this year’s matchup, set to take place on February 13. Walpole has already clinched a berth in the state tournament, and Norwood has long since been eliminated from playoff contention.

Some will say that this is just another game, since the result will have no impact on playoff standings. However, those on the ice on Saturday think otherwise.

“It’s a rivalry and it’s a game that we all have circled on our calendar every year,” said senior Jimmy McKenna.

Another senior, John Buckley, agreed with McKenna. “It’s our biggest rival and we want to go out and win on Saturday.”

Boys hockey coach Ron Dowd echoed the sentiments of his players about the game. “Every time Walpole and Norwood play it is important,” said Dowd.

In the last few seasons, the Rebels have seen their fair share of heartbreak against Norwood. Three years ago, Norwood beat Walpole in the first round of the playoffs with a game winning overtime goal. Last season, Walpole needed a win against Norwood to remain in contention for the playoffs but lost a tight matchup. The annual matchups between the hockey teams has become so fierce that a Walpole Film Festival Crew did a documentary on the rivalry three years ago, which happened to be the same year that the Rebels lost to Norwood in the playoffs.

However, this year’s matchup is an anomaly. Walpole has had one of their best seasons in recent memory and is currently in the thick of the race for the Herget Division title. They have just three losses on their record and have a +27 goal differential. On the other hand, Norwood has yet to win a game all season and has only scored eight goals the entire season, while their opponents have scored a whopping 61.


For the Rebels, the game is far more important this year.

“We have a chance at winning the league, and we are playing for seeding as well,” Dowd said.