Redmen Crush Methuen, 8-1, For Seventh Straight Win
Jan 17, 2015 09:26PM
By Rick Spencer
Senior captain Ryan Petti (8) scored three goals to pace Tewksbury to an 8-1 win over Methuen.
If the Methuen High Rangers thought they were going to catch Tewksbury High in letdown mode coming off a big win over Lincoln-Sudbury on Wednesday night, they thought wrong.
The high-flying TMHS Redmen came out skating, hitting and scoring like a team possessed, and rode a hat trick from senior captain Ryan Petti to their seventh straight victory, this one an 8-1 shellacking of the shell-shocked Rangers Saturday evening at the Breakaway Ice Center.
“We came out and played hard. All our lines did,” Tewksbury coach Derek Doherty said after watching his team improve to 8-1 overall, 5-0 in Merrimack Valley Conference/Dual County League play. “That’s one thing about this team is that we’re pretty strong. We’re big, we play with intensity. And we play four lines, so guys are fresh. When you’re fresh…you’re that much stronger than the guy who’s been out there every other shift.”
Petti, who skated into the game as the top-scoring forward in MIAA Division 2 hockey with nine goals and 14 assists, put some distance between himself and the rest of the Division 2 elite by scoring three goals and assisting on two others. As the midway point of the 2014-2015 season nears, Petti has now scored 12 goals and collected 16 assists for a total of 28 points, putting him in position to record one of the highest single-season point totals in Tewksbury High history if he can continue the pace.
Line-mate Colin Quinn was just as effective as Petti, as Quinn assisted on all three of Petti’s goals and scored two of his own. Quinn also ranks among the top 10 scorers in Division 2, with 13 goals and 10 assists so far this season. Both Quinn and Petti recorded rare, five-point scoring nights.
Doherty, who has coached the team for 14 seasons, was hard-pressed to think of a more prolific scoring line than this year’s first line.
“They play well together, they know where each other is all the time,” Doherty said. “Quinn’s hands are ridiculous. He can stick handle in a phone booth. I actually haven’t seen hands like that in a long time. And Ryan Petti just sees the ice so well. He makes things happen. He’s not just a goal scorer. He’s a great hockey player. He’s a two-way player, he’s smart, he’s physical.”
Quinn got things started for the Redmen with 4:10 left in the first period when he collected the rebound of a Dario Riparo shot and stuffed it home for his 12th goal of the season. Quinn made it 2-0 in Tewksbury’s favor just 30 seconds into the second period when he cleaned up another loose puck in front of the net and slid home his team-high 13th goal of the season, with Petti and defenseman Sean Brady assisting.
Petti scored his first of the night midway through the second period, off a pass from Quinn, to make it 3-0. Just one minute later senior center iceman Ryan Meade tallied his second goal of the season on a perfectly placed back-hander from the high slot to make it 4-0.
Methuen responded with a power-play goal by senior forward Mark Picirillo with two minutes left in the second period, but that would be the only sound out of the Ranger offense on this night. Just to drive home the point that you don’t tug on Superman’s cape, Tewksbury responded with four more goals over the next 12 minutes of ice time to move this one out of the category of blow-out and into the realm of beat-down.
First Petti scored his second of the night and 11th of the season just 31 seconds after Picirillo’s goal. Then junior defenseman Brett Morris swooped in from the point and buried a rebound just 2:30 into the third period to make it 6-1. Riparo made it 7-1 with his fourth goal of the season, Meade and Sean Brady assisting, then Petti wrapped up the scoring with four minutes to play when he scorched a laser from the point on the power-play that the Methuen goalie could only wave at.
Things got chippy in the latter stages of the game, as Tewksbury’s hard-checking, physical play just wore Methuen out.
“The physical aspect is a big part of our game,” Petti said afterward. “We go out there and we hit bodies. That’s all we do. We hit their ‘D’ down low and they’re afraid to touch the puck again. That’s our game, that’s our style.. We just hit them until they don’t want to touch the puck anymore. “
The beleaguered Rangers (now 3-3-1 overall) ended up using three different goalies in the game, but none could do anything to slow down the Redmen, who have now scored 51 goals in their first nine games, for a 5.67 goals per game average. TMHS is currently the second highest scoring Division 2 team in the state, behind Everett which has 53.
Doherty credits the team’s depth and his ability to skate four effective lines every night as the main reason behind the team’s success this year.
“It’s a group effort. In the past we’ve had Ryan Doherty, we’ve had Derek Petti, we’ve had Danny Mazzei. We’ve had kids who can dominate individually," Doherty said. "This team right here, we have a group of kids who dominate as a team. So, we’ve had great teams. Our 2011 state championship team was a good team, but we became a good team as the year really came to a close. This year, we started as a unit. This team has been playing as a unit all year. We’ve got a long way to go and we hope to get better, but we’re in a good spot right now.”
“We have a great team,” Petti said. “We’re going into the mid-point of the season and we just know that we can beat anyone who steps on the ice with us. We feel like we can beat any league team and we feel like we can play with any Division 1 team. We just gotta keep working hard because hard work beats talent. We can’t let any of this get to our heads. We just gotta keep grinding and keep working hard. “
The road doesn’t get easy for the Redmen anytime soon. They wrap up the first half of the season with a home game against MVC/DCL Division 1 power Acton-Boxboro on Monday night and will play four games in 10 days following that. TMHS needs just two more wins in its final 11 games to qualify for state tournament play, and that, says Petti, is the next goal.“We just gotta stay humble, stay focused and play hard,” Petti said