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Junior Redmen Capture Annual Turkey Day Classic

Dec 05, 2014 12:39PM ● Published by Bill Gilman

The Tewksbury Junior Redmen Squirts AAA team captured the Annual Turkey Day Classic. Bottom Row: James Kierce, Conor Cremin, Ben O'Keefe, and Conor Cremin 2nd Row: Jonny Norwood, Andrew Grieco, William Rosato, Jack Griffin, and Andrew Della Piana 3rd Row: Brady Chapman, Ryan Flynn, Billy Doherty, Jason Cooke, and Daniel Kierce.

(Editor's note: The following information was submitted by the coaches of the Junior Redmen Hockey Team.)

The Jr. Redmen Squirt AAA team competed in the Annual Turkey Day Classic in Woburn over the Thanksgiving Holiday weekend and left the rink on Sunday November 30th with the Championship Trophy.  The Jr. Redmen went 4-0 in the tourney, scoring 20 goals for and only giving up 3 goals against.

The Jr. Redmen opened up the Turkey Day Classic on Friday November 28th against a very talented Reading Rockets team.  Inspired by the huge hometown crowd that was in attendance, the Jr. Redmen came out flying and created some early offensive zone pressure from the line of Matthew Cooke, William Rosato, and Andrew Della Piana.  The Rockets battled back, using their speed to gain some offensive zone time but solid defense from Andrew Grieco and Jonny Norwood kept the game scoreless through the 1st period.  The Jr. Redmen took the 1-0 lead just 43 seconds into the 2nd period when Jason Cooke fired a rebound over the sliding Rockets’ goalie, assists on the goal to Conor Cremin and Ryan Flynn.  The Jr. Redmen had a great opportunity to take a 2-0 lead with just over 8 minutes to play in the period when Billy Doherty intercepted a breakout pass in the high slot and fired a hard wrist shot off the left post.  The Rockets were unable to create any offensive zone pressure thanks to great defensive work from Daniel Kierce and Jack Griffin.  The Jr. Redmen found themselves shorthanded to start the 3rd period but solid PK play from James Kierce, Brady Chapman, Andrew Grieco and Daniel Kierce kept the 1-0 lead for the locals.  Reading turned up their intensity, looking to tie the game, but great goaltending from Ben O’Keefe kept the 1-0 lead for the Jr. Redmen.  The Rockets pulled their goalie with just under 2 minutes left in the game but great goaltending from O’Keefe and solid team defense kept the 1-goal lead for the Jr. Redmen.  Jason Cooke scored his 2nd goal of the game with just over 30 seconds left to give the Jr. Redmen the 2-0 win, assists on the goal to Brady Chapman and Andrew Grieco.

The Jr. Redmen were back at the rink on Saturday November 29th for a morning battle with Burlington, a game that saw every player on the Jr. Redmen register at least 1 point.  The locals came out flying and took a 1-0 lead just 1:03 into the game when Billy Doherty fired a hard wrist shot over the goalie’s blocker, assists to Conor Cremin and Ryan Flynn.  The Jr. Redmen took a 3-0 lead late in the 1st period as they scored 2 goals in 53 seconds.  Andrew Della Piana scored on a wrister from the low slot, assists to Daniel Kierce and William Rosato.  Matthew Cooke scored to make the score 3-0 on a great individual effort, beating 2 Burlington defenders and deking around the goalie.  The Jr. Redmen erupted for 7 goals in 8 minutes in the 2nd period.  Brady Chapman got it started when he went bar-down from the right faceoff circle for the 4-0 lead, assist to Andrew Grieco.  Jason Cooke scored 30 seconds later for the 5-0 lead, assists to James Kierce and Billy Doherty.  Matthew Cooke scored his 2nd goal of the game to increase the lead to 6-0, assist to Jonny Norwood.  Matthew Cooke didn’t wait long to get the hat trick as he scored 53 seconds later for the 7-0 lead, assists to Daniel Kierce and Andrew Della Piana.  Conor Cremin scored a pretty goal to make the score 8-0, assists to Billy Doherty and Ryan Flynn.  Jason Cooke scored his 2nd goal of the game for the 9-0 lead, assists to Brady Chapman and James Kierce.  The 2nd period offensive explosion ended when Daniel Kierce fired a bomb from the right point into the top corner for the 10-0 lead, assists to Andrew Della Piana and Matthew Cooke.   Daniel Kierce scored his 2nd goal of the game midway through the final period, assist to Jack Griffin.  Ryan Flynn closed out the scoring for the Jr. Redmen as he fired a hard wrister past the Burlington goalie, assist to Billy Doherty (his 3rd helper of the day for the Playmaker Award).  The Jr. Redmen controlled play for the final 5 minutes of the game and left the rink with a convincing 12-0 win.

The Jr. Redmen headed back to the rink on Saturday evening for a battle with the host Woburn Tanners team.  The Tanners jumped out to an early 1-0 lead against the sluggish Jr. Redmen, scoring just 4 minutes into the game.  The Jr. Redmen battled right back and tied the game just 1:12 later on a powerplay goal from Jason Cooke, assist to Brady Chapman.  The Tanners had a few scoring chances late in the 1st period but super-goalie Ben O’Keefe once again proved why he’s one of the best goalies in the area, making all the big saves.  The Tanners opened the 2nd period looking to take the lead but great defensive efforts from Andrew Grieco, Daniel Kierce, Jack Griffin, and Jonny Norwood kept the game tied 1-1.  The Tanners went on a powerplay with 8 minutes to play in the 2nd period but it was the Jr. Redmen that capitalized, as Brady Chapman stole the puck from a Tanner forward, skated in alone and fired a high wrister over the goalie’s glove for a pretty shorthanded goal and the 2-1 lead, assist to Jason Cooke.  The Jr. Redmen ran into some bad luck with just over 8 minutes left in the game when a clearing pass deflected off a Jr. Redmen skate and into the back of the net for a 2-2 tie.  The Jr. Redmen didn’t panic as they battled right back and nearly took the 3-2 lead but back-to-back shots by Billy Doherty and Conor Cremin just missed going in.  The Jr. Redmen continued to dominate play and took the 3-2 lead with just 2 minutes to play when Brady Chapman scored his 2nd goal of the game, assist to Jason Cooke.  The Tanners pulled their goalie late in the game for an extra attacker but a great blocked shot by Andrew Della Piana and all-out hustle from Matthew Cooke kept pucks away from the Jr. Redmen net.  Jason Cooke scored his 2nd goal of the game with 20 seconds left in the game for the 4-2 lead, assist on the goal to Brady Chapman.  The win secured a spot in the Championship Game on Sunday for the Jr. Redmen.

The Jr. Redmen arrived at the rink on Sunday November 30th knowing they would to be at their best as they were facing a Reading Rockets team with revenge on their mind.  The O’Brien Rink was packed with fans from both teams yelling, screaming, and holding signs in support of their favorite Squirt hockey players.  The Jr. Redmen even had their own cheerleading team made up of Abigail O’Keefe, Ryan Quinn, Maci and Lyla Chapman, Colleen and Molly Cremin, Sara Doherty, Allie Cooke, Molly Kierce, Cassie Norwood, Avery Della Piana, and Gianna and Vanessa Flynn.

The Jr. Redmen controlled play early in the 1st period and nearly took a 1-0 lead when the line of Billy Doherty, Conor Cremin, and Ryan Flynn worked the offensive zone cycle to perfection resulting in a Cremin wrister from the high slot that was turned away by the Rocket goalie.  The Rockets used their team speed to create offensive zone pressure but great goaltending from Ben O’Keefe and strong defense from Andrew Grieco and Jonny Norwood led to a scoreless 1st period.  The Jr. Redmen opened the 2nd period on the powerplay and had a great chance when William Rosato, Matthew Cooke, and Andrew Della Piana moved the puck around the offensive zone crisply resulting in a goal-mouth backhander from Cooke that appeared to cross the goal line but the referee on the goal line ruled no goal.  The Rockets nearly took the 1-0 lead midway through the 2nd period but Jack Griffin and Daniel Kierce each made outstanding defensive plays to thwart scoring chances by the Rockets.  With time winding down in the 2nd period James Kierce intercepted a breakout pass in the high slot and fired a quick wrister that the Rocket goalie had to make a great save on.  After 2 scoreless periods the sellout crowd knew they would be in for a special 3rd period of hockey and neither team disappointed.  The Rockets had the early chances in the final period but once again Jr. Redmen goalie Ben O’Keefe made a series of saves that had the fans chanting OKIE, OKIE.  The Rockets finally broke through and took a 1-0 lead with 5:12 left in the game after a mad goal-mouth scramble saw the puck trickle over the goal line.  The Jr. Redmen pulled their goalie with just over 2 minutes to play in the game for an extra attacker.  The locals had back-to-back chances with just over 1 minute to play but the outstanding Reading goaltender made great saves on shots from Conor Cremin and Billy Doherty.  With the clock winding down Matthew Cooke sent a beautiful cross-ice pass to Daniel Kierce at the right point.  Kierce wasted no time firing a low, hard wrist shot that Brady Chapman tipped in for the tying goal with 11.2 seconds left in the game.   The Jr. Redmen won the ensuing faceoff and Chapman was hooked down along the left wing boards with 3 seconds left in the period resulting in a Jr. Redmen powerplay heading into OT.  The Jr. Redmen controlled the OT faceoff and set up in the offensive zone, moving the puck along the left wing wall ultimately resulting in a quality scoring chance from Jason Cooke.  Reading then cleared the puck out to the neutral zone where they ended up on a shorthanded 2-on-1 break.  The Reading forward made a nice pass under a sliding Daniel Kierce to a streaking Rocket forward who fired a hard wrister but Jr. Redmen goalie Ben O’Keefe was there to make the save of the game.  The Jr. Redmen transitioned the puck quickly into the offensive zone where Andrew Della Piana sent a nice pass to Jason Cooke who was set up at the left faceoff circle.  Cooke sent a quick pass to Brady Chapman in the slot and Chapman waited for the Rocket goalie to go down and quickly sent a wrister into the top corner for the winning goal and the tourney championship.

The Jr. Redmen players and coaches would like to thank their parents, brothers, sisters, grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, and friends for all the cheering and support they provided, making this such a memorable experience.

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