Paquette, Redmen Blank Boston Latin
Jan 28, 2015 11:56PM
By Rick Spencer
The Tewksbury High Redmen congratulate goalie Kyle Paquette on his 2-0 shut out of Boston Latin in his 2014-2015 season debut.
Considering the fact that the Boston Latin High School hockey team featured the stingiest defense among all 21 teams in the Merrimack Valley Conference/Dual County League this year, the Tewksbury High Redmen knew they would have to come up with one of their strongest defensive efforts of the season if they wanted to get back on the winning track against the visiting Wolfpack at Tewksbury’s Breakaway Ice Center Wednesday night.
And that’s exactly what TMHS did as the Redmen blue-liners welcomed senior goaltender Kyle Paquette back from injury with their most efficient all-around effort of the season, sparking Tewksbury High to a critical, 2-0 shutout victory in an important MVC/DCL Division 2 showdown.
Senior forward Colin Quinn’s first period goal stood up as the game-winner and senior center-iceman Ryan Meade’s last minute tally sealed the deal as Paquette turned away all 16 shots he faced in his first appearance of the season.
“I thought it was the best game our defense has played all season,” said Tewksbury head coach Derek Doherty after watching his team bounce back from an unexpected 3-2 loss to Haverhill last Thursday and improve its record to 10-2 overall, 6-1 in MVC/DCL Division 2 play. “We knew coming in it was going to be a tough game. They’re well-coached and they haven’t given up a lot of goals. So it was important for us to take the pressure off our goal-scorers and play well defensively, and I thought we played exceptionally well on defense tonight.”
Senior defender Robert Cutone, juniors Brett Morris and Sean Brady and sophomore Jonathan Fowler all made standout defensive plays, while the forechecking of the TMHS offensive lines kept Boston Latin bottled up on its defensive half of the ice for most of the night.
When the Wolfpack did penetrate Tewksbury’s end of the rink, Paquette, who suffered a severe ankle injury during soccer season this past fall and was only recently medically cleared to play, had no trouble turning aside everything he faced.
“It’s a big boost to us to get Kyle back,” Doherty said. “He’s been an important part of our program for four years. He’s a vocal leader for us and it’s a big plus to get him back at this time of year. You could definitely feel the electricity. It’s something Kyle’s been waiting for and this team has been too. I think it’s why we came out so strong in the first period.”
Tewksbury came out flying for the first 15 minutes of the game and peppered the Latin net with multiple scoring chances over the first seven minutes of the game, until Quinn stole the puck near the blue line and ripped a laser past Wolfpack keeper Rob DeAngelo at the 7:43 mark of the opening period. It was Quinn’s 14th goal of the season.
Second period play was more even, but neither team could capitalize on two power play opportunities each, and the Redmen took a precarious 1-0 lead into the third period. But thanks to the TMHS defense, Latin never mounted a serious threat in the final frame, as the Redmen carried a decisive advantage in offensive zone puck time. Tewksbury outshout the Wolfpack, 8-1 over the final 15 minutes (and 32-16 in the game), and Meade iced the victory with his fifth goal of the season, with just 12 seconds left to play in the game.
“It was a great all-around defensive effort,” Doherty said. “We played smart and we played strong.”
The victory was Tewksbury’s 10th overall, good enough to qualify the Redmen for MIAA post-season play yet again this season. And adding Paquette, last year’s MVC/DCL Division 2 Player of The Year, into the mix on the same night that his team locked up a post-season bid was icing on the cake for Doherty.
“It’s just a bonus to have Kyle back,” Doherty said. “Chris Raymond (who went 9-2 and allowed just 23 goals filling in for Paquette during the team’s first 11 games) did a great job getting us to within one win of qualifying for the tournament, and now we’ve qualified and it’s definitely a luxury to have him and now, hopefully, we can just go.”
Tewksbury returns to action Saturday evening at 7:00 p.m. on the road against Billerica at Hallenborg Pavillion. The Redmen return home Monday night at 7:00 p.m. against Austin Prep.