Redmen Massacre Lincoln-Sudbury, Clinch MVC/DCL Division 2 Title
Colin Quinn (2) attacks the net in Tewksbury's 5-1 win over Lincoln-Sudbury.
Gallery: Lincoln-Sudbury at Tewksbury [4 Images] Click any image to expand.
It didn’t take place in Chicago and there was no one named Capone or Moran involved, but what happened at the Breakaway Ice Center in Tewksbury on Saturday evening was certainly a St. Valentine’s Day Massacre of the high school hockey variety.
It was billed as a heavyweight battle royale between the top two teams in the Merrimack Valley Conference/Dual County League Division 2 standings, and the winner would take home the divisional championship.
But the knock-down-drag-out fight that many had anticipated never materialized, as the Tewksbury High Redmen simply kicked butt and took names on their way to an historic, 5-1 thrashing of Lincoln-Sudbury that clinched the 2014-2015 MVC/DCL Division 2 championship for the Redmen.
“It feels great. We stepped up on the big stage and got a big team win,” said TMHS senior defenseman Brett Morris, who recorded a Bobby Orr-like hat trick in the game to pace Tewksbury to its most significant win of the season.
“Last year it didn’t end the way we wanted it to and it was really a humbling experience,” agreed senior center iceman Ryan Petti, who stole Morris’ thunder by recording two goals and two assists to become Tewksbury High’s all-time leading scorer, breaking the record set by his coach, Derek Doherty. “Coming into this year we had that in the back of our minds. We wanted to use that as motivation going forward. So it’s huge (to win). We won it my sophomore year but we had it stolen away from us last year. We wanted it back and we got it back.”
The Redmen left no room for doubt in this one, as Doherty’s first goal, which came at the 2:05 mark of the first period, kicked the Redmen into overdrive, and they played like champions from that point on. Tewksbury out-shot Lincoln-Sudbury by a 27-15 margin in this game, but that advantage paled in comparison to the way the Redmen out-muscled the Warriors, as TMHS rattled the glass with dozens of resounding body checks that left the ice strewn with fallen Lincoln-Sudbury skaters.
“It’s a big part of our game. We have to play physical,” Doherty said. “The first guy has to bury the defenseman and the second guy has to hit the winger…It’s kind of like a chess game with a lot of intensity and a lot of attitude. That’s how they played tonight. They played awesome.”
“We play a physical style,” agreed Petti. “When teams come in and try to play physical against us we put them down. We don’t back down, we stand back up and put them on the ice.”
Petti’s first goal, which tied Doherty’s record, was a thing of beauty, as the Tewksbury captain collected a pass from junior forward Mark Gorman along the high boards, then skated in and flipped a back-hand shot past L-S goalie Cam Kessler on the short side to give the Redmen a 1-0 advantage.
That lead stood until the 4:33 mark of the second period when Morris scored the first of his three goals on a blast from the point on a Tewksbury power-play. Senior center Ryan Meade had won the opening face-off on that power-play, and drew the puck back to Petti at the point, who passed across to Morris. Petti’s assist broke Doherty’s record of 139 career points, which had stood since 1987.
“It’s awesome to see him do it,” said Doherty of his star pupil’s accomplishment. “He’s a good person, so you want a kid like that to break your record. I’m honored to be coaching him.”
Petti made it 3-0 with his second goal of the night and 24th of the season when he tipped in a Jonathan Fowler shot with 7:55 left in the second period. Morris made it 4-0 less than a minute later with what might stand as the prettiest goal he’ll ever score. Senior forward Patrick Leonard slid a perfect pass across to Morris as he coasted into the attacking zone, and the 6-1, 195-pound Morris one-timed a laser shot that traveled 55 feet to the back of the net so quickly it could not be seen by human eyes.
After L-S scored its only goal with six minutes left in the third period, Morris wrapped up the scoring with 1:18 to play in the game, tucking home the rebound of a Petti shot for his first career hat trick.
The end result was a statement of absolute dominance from the Tewksbury squad, which had stumbled briefly losing two-out-of-three during the last week of January. But February has been a different story for the Redmen, who have now won four straight by a combined score of 18-3.
“Overall I thought this was the best game we’ve played all year,” Doherty said. “Especially the second period. I thought that was the best period we’ve played all year.
“It was good to see,” Doherty added. “Last year we let Lincoln-Sudbury take the (league) championship from us, but we learned from it. We let Beverly beat us in the state tournament, but we learned from it. We wanted to go out here tonight and prove that we could be champions.”
The Redmen, who qualified for state tournament play more than two weeks ago, wrap up the regular season with three games next week, against Methuen, Wilmington and Austin Prep.
“We’ve got three big games left ,” Petti said. “This was a nice test for us to see how we can play in these types of games. We’ve got the state tournament coming up so this was a good test for us to play against a playoff caliber team in a state tournament atmosphere.”
“This is the way we want to be playing,” Doherty said. “Absolutely. When you’ve got guys rolling like this, you just want to keep it going.”
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