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Meade, Second Line Lead Redmen To A 7-3 Win Over Methuen

Feb 16, 2015 03:14PM ● By Rick Spencer

Ryan Meade fires the puck at the Methuen net. Meade led Tewksbury to a 7-3 win with a three-goal hat trick.

METHUEN -- On most nights this season, Tewksbury High’s second line of Ryan Meade, Dario Riparo and David Dempsey have served as the team’s back-up singers while the first line of Ryan Petti, Colin Quinn and Ryan Sheehan has basked in the spotlight and soaked up all the publicity.

But on an afternoon when conditions were perfect for a letdown game, it was Meade and his wingmen who stepped up and squashed any upset hopes that Methuen High might have had. Meade scored three goals, Dempsey had two and Riparo added one as Tewksbury’s second line accounted for six goals and led the Redmen to their fifth straight win, this one a 7-3 thrashing of the Rangers, Monday afternoon in Methuen.

“We got a big game out of our second line,” TMHS head coach Derek Doherty said. “Those three guys have been playing together for a long time and they play well together. They’re a fast line and Meade brings the physical presence.”

Meade, a senior captain and four-year varsity player, brought a little bit of everything against Methuen, as he collected a pair of assists in addition to his three goals, for a career-best five-point day. Meade now has 11 goals and 19 assists on the season.

“Ryan is a guy that we rely on every day,” Doherty said. “He’s a first line player on almost any other team. He’s a big part of our team. He’s definitely the leader on that second line. He gets those guys going. He should be skating first line on our team, but having him center the second line gives us balance.”

Dempsey, a senior winger, collected an assist along with his two goals, giving him nine goals and three assists so far this year. Riparo had a goal and an assist, giving him six goals and 13 assists this season.

“It was a good afternoon for those guys, and that’s important heading toward the state tournament,” Doherty said.

The Redmen, who had just clinched the Merrimack Valley Conference/Dual County League Division 2 championship with a resounding 5-1 win over Lincoln-Sudbury less than 48 hours earlier, looked ripe for an upset in the early going against Methuen. The Rangers were still mathematically eligible to qualify for the state tournament if they could have upset TMHS and then knocked off Haverhill later this week, and they seemed hell-bent on doing so when they scored the game’s first goal just 2:49 into the first period. But Tewksbury’s second line evened the score at 1-1 five minutes later when Meade collected the puck behind the Methuen net and slid it out front to Dempsey, who one-timed it into the goal.

Meade gave Tewksbury the lead with 4:34 left in the first period when he collected a Ryan Petti pass from behind the net and scored his first goal of the night to make it 2-1. Methuen responded with a goal from senior forward Pete Menzies with 2:39 left in the first period, and it was 2-2 at the break.

The tie didn’t last long, however, as Riparo took a feed from Meade just 18 seconds into the second period and buried it for a power-play goal that gave Tewksbury the lead for good.

Six minutes later, the quick-strike Redmen, who are at present the top-scoring Division 2 team in Massachusetts with 87 goals through 18 games, put the game out of reach with back-to-back goals just 20 seconds apart. First Meade notched his second goal, assisted by Riparo and Dempsey with 8:32 to play in the second. Then junior forward Mark Gorman made it 5-2 in Tewksbury’s favor when he re-directed a Cody Morgan pass into the net with 8:12 left in the period.

If two goals inside of 20 seconds weren’t enough, the Redmen struck for two more just six seconds apart in the latter stages of the middle period. First Meade scored his third goal on the rebound of a Petti shot with 1:28 to play in the second, then Dempsey took the ensuing face-off and raced in and scored Tewksbury’s seventh goal of the game just six seconds later, with 1:22 to play.

Doherty then emptied his bench and rested his first two lines for almost the entire third period, and the Redmen coasted to their 15th win in 18 games so far this season.

“It got a little chippy but I thought we did a good job bearing down and getting through it,” Doherty said. “It was good to get the third and fourth lines and the rest of the bench some ice time. We’ve got two more big games against play-off caliber teams coming up, so we gave the first two lines a little rest.”

Tewksbury finishes out the season with non-league games against arch-rival Wilmington (8-7-4) Wednesday at 1:30 at Ristuccia Arena, and Catholic Central League powerhouse Austin Prep (17-1), which is ranked fourth in the state by ESPN-Boston. That game is scheduled for Friday at 3:00 p.m. at the Breakaway Ice Center in Tewksbury.

The seeding meeting for the MIAA post-season tournament will be held this Saturday, with first-round play beginning as early as Monday, February 23. The Redmen are expected to be seeded among the top two or three teams in the Division 2 North Sectional and could see a first-round bye, depending on the number of teams that qualify for post-season play.

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