Redmen Win A Big One At Lincoln-Sudbury, 4-1
Jan 14, 2015 08:58PM
By Rick Spencer
Sophomore forward Ryan Dempsey (4) scored two goals in Tewksbury's 4-1 win over Lincoln-Sudbury.
Going into enemy territory to play an important mid-season game is always a challenge, and no place has been tougher on the Tewksbury High hockey team in recent years than playing Merrimack Valley Conference/Dual County League rival Lincoln-Sudbury Regional High School at the New England Sports Center in Marlborough.
So for the Redmen to bust in to NESC and skate away with a convincing, 4-1 victory over Lincoln-Sudbury on Wednesday afternoon is a huge step forward in Tewksbury’s quest to wrestle the MVC/DCL Division 2 title away from the two-time defending champion Warriors .
“It’s a big win, a real big win,” said TMHS head coach Derek Doherty after sophomore winger Ryan Sheehan scored two goals to spark the Redmen to their seventh win in eight tries so far this season. “That’s a tough place to play, and we always struggle down there. But we played an all-around solid game and we got a big win.”
Tewksbury is now 7-1 overall, and 4-1 in MV/DCL play. Lincoln-Sudbury is now 7-2 overall, but suffered its first league loss of the year against the Redmen on Wednesday.
“It was a critical game on our schedule,” Doherty said. “Most people considered us and them to be the top contenders in our division. They won the division the last two years, and they didn’t lose many kids (to graduation) and neither did we, so this was big.”
As expected, both teams played tough defensively in the early going but Sheehan, who is often the forgotten “third wheel” on Tewksbury’s high-scoring first line that features superstars Ryan Petti and Colin Quinn, gave TMHS a 1-0 advantage with his second goal of the season with just 55 seconds to play in the first period. Petti dug the puck out of the corner, and slid it to Quinn, who passed to Sheehan in the slot for the goal.
Tewksbury’s third line increased the Redman lead to 2-0 just two minutes into the second period when senior forward Pat Leonard scored on a strong individual hustle play. Leonard took a pass from defenseman Sean Budryk, flew into the L-S zone and let a shot fly. It was saved, but Leonard pounced on his own rebound and slammed it home.
Tewksbury went up 3-0 with three minutes to play in the second period, when Sheehan scored his second goal of the night on play similar to the one that produced his first, with Petti and Quinn assisting.
“They’re starting to click and (Sheehan) is becoming more of a threat to score,” said Doherty of his first line. “He’s starting to learn a little bit about Petti and Quinn and their tendencies and he’s adjusting and they’re doing a good job.”
Lincoln-Sudbury scored its only goal of the game on a questionable play (the puck never appeared to cross the goal line) with 2:00 left in the second period, but by that time, the TMHS defense had established its dominance and there wasn’t enough fight left in the Warriors for them to mount a comeback.
Senior forward David Dempsey locked up the big win when he scored Tewksbury’s fourth goal with six minutes to play in the game. Budryk and Ryan Meade assisted.
“We wore them down,” Doherty said afterward. “We played seven defensemen and four lines, and by the third period we were putting a lot of pressure on their defense and they were having a hard time breaking the puck out of their own end.”
Defenseman Brett Morris, Sean Brady, Ryan Morris and Sean Budryk all had strong games, according to Doherty.
Junior goaltender Chris Raymond got the win in the Tewksbury nets, turning aside 22 of the 23 shots he stopped, including a breakaway.
“Raymond played great,” Doherty said. “He made a lot of big stops. He had one of his best games of the year. He came up big for us.”
At 7-1 through eight games, Doherty is more than happy with the way his team is playing so far this season.
“All four lines are working real hard and our defense is working real hard,” Doherty said. “We’re wearing people down. A lot of kids are getting ice time and I think all the kids are playing with confidence knowing that everybody has a part. We’re really coming together as a team .”
Tewksbury returns to the friendly confines of the Breakaway Ice Center in Tewksbury for another important league game against Methuen on Saturday at 4:00 p.m.