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Paquette Records Second Shutout, Redmen Handle North Andover, 5-0

Feb 05, 2015 12:48AM ● By Rick Spencer

Tewksbury goaltender Kyle Paquette recorded his second shut out of the season, 5-0 over North Andover

Sometimes it’s a captain’s job to take the wheel and steer the ship in the right direction, and that’s exactly what Kyle Paquette did for the Tewksbury High hockey team Wednesday night.

Paquette, the team’s senior captain and starting goaltender for the past four years, turned aside all 19 shots he faced and earned his second shutout in just three games since returning from injury, as the TMHS Redmen improved their record to 11-3 overall with a 5-0 whitewashing of North Andover at Merrimack College.

With a 6-1 record against Merrimack Valley Conference/Dual County League Division 2 opponents going into the game, it was not as if the TMHS ship was sinking, although there was concern that it was drifting off course a bit as the Redmen had lost two of their previous three games before facing North Andover.

But Paquette and the Tewksbury defense turned in a near-flawless performance, and Ryan Meade scored two goals within a 16-second span in the third period as Tewksbury played its way out of its recent mini-slump and re-focused its sights on winning the MVC/DCL Division 2 championship this season.

“We’ve been in a little bit of a slump so hopefully this game will get us out of it,” Paquette said after recording his 16th career shutout. “Our defense has been playing well all year. They’re blocking a lot of shots and they definitely stepped up while I was out, so hopefully this (win) will get us back on track.”

Paquette, who suffered a high ankle sprain playing soccer this fall, missed the first six weeks of the season while recovering from the injury. Over the past two weeks he has manned the Tewksbury nets for 10 periods of play, and has surrendered just four goals, for a 1.20 goals against average.

“Kyle played great,” said TMHS coach Derek Doherty. “That was the highlight for us tonight. We still need to tighten up as a team but Kyle played great tonight. He made some great saves throughout the course of the game.”

“I felt like I was back to 100 percent tonight,” Paquette added. “I know my team is relying on me. I’ve been here four years and I know they’re counting on me to play a big role, so it was good to watch those final seconds count down without allowing a goal.”

Junior forward Dario Riparo got Tewksbury on the board at the 6:43 mark of the first period when senior forward David Dempsey gained control of the puck behind the North Andover net and tossed it out front to Riparo who slid it home. It was Riparo’s fifth goal of the season.

Tewksbury made it 2-0 on a Ryan Petti power-play goal that came with just 14 seconds left in the first period. With North Andover’s Joe Bramanti in the penalty box for a retaliatory slashing penalty that came well after the whistle had blown, Petti fired a low burner from the point that hit nothing but the back of the net. It was Petti’s 19th goal of the season to go with 18 assists, solidifying his spot as the leading scorer in all of Division 2 high school hockey in Massachusetts.

Tewksbury took its foot off the gas in the second period and was out-shot, 7-3, by North Andover in the second frame. But Paquette came up big when he needed to, stopping a breakaway and several other clean shots at the net.

Junior forward Mark Gorman made it 3-0 four minutes into the third period with his second goal of the season, with Petti and Steve Hamel assisting. Then Meade put it out of reach, first scoring on a breakaway with 5:01 to play, then scoring on a low angle shot off a pass from Brett Morris just 16 seconds later, with 4:45 to play.

The two goals give Meade, who generally centers the team’s second line, seven goals to go along with 15 assists this year.

“He needed that for a confidence boost,” Doherty said of Meade. “We’ve been looking for more production out of him and he’s been a little down. It was good to see him get a couple.”

It was also good to see the Redmen get offensive production out of three different lines, especially since first line winger Colin Quinn saw limited playing time while dealing with an equipment problem (broken skate blade) during this game.

“Any time we get goals out of our third line, that’s a bonus,” Doherty said.

Doherty classified this win as a step in the right direction, but one of many the Redmen need to take in order to be playing their best hockey when state tournament play begins in a little more than two weeks.

“We still need to tighten things up,” Doherty said. “We played poorly in the second period tonight, and we won’t get away with that in the state tournament. We qualified early and we can’t be satisfied with that. We need to move on. We need to get better every day. We can’t just wait to get there. We need to get better and peak for the tournament.”

Tewksbury is back on the road Saturday for a 7:30 game against Concord-Carlisle at the Edge Sports Center in Bedford. Concord sits in third place in the MVC-DCL Division 2 standings, and a win would move the Redmen one step closer to securing the division championship. TMHS beat Concord-Carlisle 8-4 when the two teams met in Tewksbury in early January.

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