Jr. Redmen Win District 10 Championship
Feb 05, 2015 10:00AM
● By Kieran Gilman
(Editor's Note: The following information was submitted by the coaches of the Jr. Redmen.)
The Jr. Redmen Squirt AAA Hockey Team fought through the snow and cold weather for another successful weekend of hockey, sweeping games against the Natick Comets and the Cambridge Falcons, improving their overall season record to 43-8-2. The win over the Cambridge Falcons gave the Jr. Redmen the District 10 Championship of Massachusetts Hockey and qualified them to compete in the State Championships in March.
On Saturday January 31st the Jr. Redmen travelled to Navin Rink in Marlboro for a night game with the Natick Comets Elite Squirt team. The Jr. Redmen faithful were in full force and the loud screaming motivated the locals to come out flying. The line of Conor Cremin, Ryan Flynn, and Jonny Norwood used their tremendous speed to put immediate pressure on the Comets but the boys were unable to get pucks past the goalie. The Comets created some of their own offensive zone pressure midway through the 1st period but thanks to great defense from Jack Griffin and Daniel Kierce, the Comets were unable to get close to the Jr. Redmen net. The Jr. Redmen took a 1-0 lead with 4:06 left in the opening period when Andrew Della Piana fired home a rebound, assists on the goal to Billy Doherty and Matthew Cooke. The final 4 minutes of the 1st period were dominated by the Jr. Redmen but quality scoring chances from Andrew Grieco, William Rosato, and Brady Chapman were denied by the Comets’ goalie.
The Comets opened the 2nd period using their size to create some offensive zone pressure and they were able to tie the game 1-1 with just over a minute gone in the period. The Comets kept attacking and nearly took the lead but Jr. Redmen netminder Ben O’Keefe made a series of saves that had the Comets shaking their heads in frustration. With just under 4 minutes to play in the middle period the Jr. Redmen crisply moved the puck around the offensive zone resulting in a great scoring chance from Ryan Flynn but his shot rang off the post. The Comets had a great chance to take the lead with time winding down in the 2nd period but James Kierce made a great defensive play breaking up a 3-on-1 with a diving poke check.
The Comets went on the powerplay just 43 seconds into the 3rd period and quickly took a 2-1 lead on a deflected puck off a Jr. Redmen skate. The Jr. Redmen quickly went on the offensive and nearly tied the game but Jason Cooke’s wrister from the left point just missed going in. With the clock winding down the Jr. Redmen knew they would have to increase their level of intensity and hard work by Billy Doherty along the right half-wall resulted in a Jr. Redmen powerplay. The Jr. Redmen moved the puck around the Comets zone and Andrew Della Piana found himself behind the Comets’ net with the puck. Della Piana faked to his right and snuck out the left side of the net and tucked the puck into the back of the net to tie the game 2-2, assist on the goal to Matthew Cooke. With 20 seconds left in the game the Comets had a great chance to take the lead but Jack Griffin made a great play blocking a hard wrister from the left faceoff circle. With 10 seconds left in the game Jason Cooke ended up with the puck on his stick in the neutral zone. Cooke skated into the offensive zone and as cool as a cucumber he fired a wrister just under the crossbar into the back of the net for the winning goal with 2.1 seconds left in the game, assists on the goal to Brady Chapman and Daniel Kierce.
The Jr. Redmen were back at it on Sunday February 1st at the Allied Veterans Skating Rink in Everett for a battle with the Cambridge Falcons in the Massachusetts Hockey District 10 Championship Game. The Jr. Redmen set the tone early when the line of Jonny Norwood, William Rosato, and Jason Cooke fired a series of shots on net but the talented Falcons’ goalie was there to make the big saves. The Falcons started to use their speed to create some offensive zone time but they were unable to penetrate the rock solid defense played by Andrew Grieco, James Kierce, Jack Griffin, and Daniel Kierce, resulting in a scoreless 1st period.
The Jr. Redmen jumped out to a 1-0 lead just 2 minutes in the 2nd period when Center Jason Cooke cut across the slot from left to right and fired a wrister that came out of the net as fast as it went in, assists on the goal to Billy Doherty and Andrew Grieco. The Falcons picked up their intensity trying to tie the game and had a number of outstanding scoring chances that were all turned away by Jr. Redmen goalie Ben O’Keefe, highlighted by a full split catching glove save that had the entire sellout crowd applauding O’Keefe. The Jr. Redmen increased their lead to 2-0 with 4:02 left in the 2nd period when Jason Cooke scored his 2nd goal of the game, assists to Billy Doherty and Ryan Flynn. The Falcons battled right back and cut the lead to 2-1 just 53 seconds later. The Jr. Redmen closed out the 2nd period with some outstanding scoring chances but shots from Conor Cremin and Andrew Della Piana were turned away by the Falcons’ goalie.
The Jr. Redmen opened the 3rd period knowing they were one period of hard work away from winning the District 10 Championship and they responded as they always have. The locals came out flying and controlled play for the first 5-minutes of the final period getting great scoring chances from William Rosato, Jonny Norwood, and Ryan Flynn. With just over 4 minutes to play in the game the Falcons created some pressure of their own but great defense from Andrew Grieco and James Kierce along with timely saves from Ben O’Keefe helped maintain the 2-1 lead for the Jr. Redmen. The Jr. Redmen took a 3-1 lead with 2:46 left in the game when Brady Chapman deked around a Falcon defender and skated in alone down the right wing wall. Chapman cut in and fired a wrister off the far post and into the back of the net, assists on the goal to Conor Cremin and Andrew Della Piana. The Falcons pulled their goalie with just under 2 minutes to play in the game but thanks to outstanding defense from Daniel Kierce and Jack Griffin they were unable to get any pucks to the Jr. Redmen net. The Jr. Redmen were whistled for two penalties with 45 seconds left in the game. The trio of Jason Cooke, Andrew Della Piana, and Brady Chapman fought off the 6-on-3 and some final seconds saves from Ben O’Keefe preserved the 3-1 win and gave the Jr. Redmen the District 10 Championship and a spot in the State Championships in March.