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Tourney Journey! Jr. Redmen Win Three Over Break

Feb 24, 2015 04:00PM ● By Kieran Gilman

(Editor's Note: The following information was submitted by the coaches of the Jr. Redmen.)

School vacation week was a busy week for the Jr. Redmen Squirt AAA Hockey Team as they played 4 games over a 6-day period, going 3-1 to improve their overall season record to 48-9-2.

On Wednesday February 18th the Jr. Redmen had an early morning battle at the Haverhill Valley Forum against the one of the top teams in the Valley Elite Division, the Triton Vikings, and skated to an impressive 2-1 win.  The Vikings used their tremendous team speed early on to create offensive zone pressure but thanks to great defense from Andrew Grieco and James Kierce, the Vikings were unable to get any pucks on net.  The Jr. Redmen finally got their wake-up call and started to use their speed to generate some offense.  William Rosato, Ryan Flynn, and Jonny Norwood worked the forecheck to perfection resulting in a Viking turnover but Flynn’s wrist shot from the low slot was snagged by the Viking netminder.  The Vikings had a great opportunity to take the lead with just over 2 minutes to play in the opening period when speedy #4 broke in alone on a breakaway but Jr. Redmen goalie Ben O’Keefe made an incredible glove save.  

The Jr. Redmen got on the board early in the 2nd period on a great wrap-around goal by Matthew Cooke, assists on the goal going to Andrew Grieco and Daniel Kierce.  The Jr. Redmen nearly took a 2-goal lead with just under 7 minutes to play in the 2nd period when Billy Doherty and Andrew Della Piana worked the give-and-go to perfection out of the left corner resulting in Doherty’s wrister clanging off the right post.  Thanks to hard work along the right wing boards by Conor Cremin, the Jr. Redmen were awarded a powerplay with 53 seconds left in the 2nd period.  The Jr. Redmen PP unit capitalized and took a 2-0 lead when Jason Cooke fired a wrister into the back of the net with 3 seconds left in the period, assists to Brady Chapman and Conor Cremin.  

The 3rd period started with the Vikings looking to get on the scoreboard but the defensive pairing of Daniel Kierce and Jack Griffin made a series of great plays to keep the 2-0 lead in tact for the Jr. Redmen.  The Vikings went on a powerplay with just over 6 minutes to play in the final period and were able to cut the Jr. Redmen lead in half.  The final 5 minutes of the game turned into a fast-paced, up-and-down battle of two talented teams.  The Vikings pulled their goalie with 2 minutes to play in the game but the Jr. Redmen were able to withstand the final push thanks to great goaltending from O’Keefe and solid team defense, securing the 2-1 victory.

On Friday February 20th the Jr. Redmen headed north to Waterville Valley, NH to participate in the 2015 Deep Freeze Tournament.   The locals 1st game in the tourney was late Friday evening against the Cambridge Falcons, a team the Jr. Redmen recently defeated to with the Massachusetts District 10 Championship.  The packed crowd created an electric atmosphere and pushed both teams to come out flying.  The Jr. Redmen knew they’d have to step up their level of play as Jason Cooke saw limited ice time due to an “upper body” injury.  Early scoring chances by Ryan Flynn and William Rosato were turned away by the Falcons’ netminder.  The Falcons had some early chances of their own but once again Jr. Redmen goalie Ben O’Keefe was there to make all the saves.  With time winding down in the opening period Jonny Norwood used his speed to win a race for the puck but his shot just missed going in resulting in a scoreless 1st period.  

The Jr. Redmen controlled play for the 1st three minutes of the 2nd period and were rewarded for their efforts when Brady Chapman fired home a wrister from the high slot, assists on the goal going to Conor Cremin and Andrew Della Piana.  The Falcons battled back looking to tie the game but great defensive efforts from Andrew Grieco and James Kierce kept the 1-goal lead for the locals.  The Jr. Redmen nearly increased their lead with just over 3 minutes to play in the middle period when Billy Doherty took a great cross-ice pass from Matthew Cooke but Doherty’s one-timer ended up in the goalie’s glove.  

The Jr. Redmen took a 2-0 lead with 8:57 left in the final period when Matthew Cooke buried a wrister into the back of the net, assists on the goal going to Conor Cremin and Billy Doherty.  The Falcons turned up their intensity looking to get back into the game but they were unable to get anything past the rock-solid defense of Daniel Kierce, Jack Griffin, Andrew Grieco, and James Kierce.  The Jr. Redmen controlled play for the final 3 minutes of the game and headed back to the hotel for a fun night after the 2-0 win.

The Jr. Redmen were back at the rink on Saturday February 21st facing the Westchester NY Vipers.  The Jr. Redmen cheerleading squad made up of Molly Kierce, Allie Cooke, Lyla Chapman, Maci Chapman, Colleen Cremin, Molly Cremin, Avery Della Piana, Gianna Flynn, Vanessa Flynn, and Cassie Norwood created the early energy in the rink, pushing their brothers to come out flying.  Billy Doherty fired home a one-timer from the high slot putting the locals on the scoreboard early, assists going to James Kierce and Andrew Della Piana.  The line of Ryan Flynn, Jonny Norwood, and William Rosato nearly gave the Jr. Redmen a 2-0 lead but a series of shots were all turned away by the Viper goalie.  

The Jr. Redmen took a 2-0 lead just 1:12 into the 2nd period when Daniel Kierce’s bomb from the right point found the back of the net, assists to Billy Doherty and Jack Griffin.  The Jr. Redmen kept attacking and increased that lead to 3-0 when Conor Cremin scored a highlight reel goal sending a wrist shot bar-down, assists to Matthew Cooke and Brady Chapman.  The Vipers started to create some offensive zone pressure late in the 2nd period but Jr. Redmen goalie Ben O’Keefe made a number of fantastic saves to keep the 3-0 lead for the Jr. Redmen.   

The final period started with the Jr. Redmen increasing their lead to 4-0 when Brady Chapman fired home a rebound from the low slot, assists to Conor Cremin and Daniel Kierce.  The Vipers cut that lead to 4-1 midway through the final period but the Jr. Redmen regained their 4-goal lead when Jason Cooke buried a snap shot into the top corner of the net, assists to Andrew Grieco and Andrew Della Piana.  The Jr. Redmen controlled play for the final 3 minutes of the game and skated off with a convincing 5-1 win.  The locals headed back to the hotel for a fun night of swimming and knee hockey knowing they had secured a spot in the Championship Game of the Deep Freeze Tourney on Sunday.

On Sunday February 22nd the Jr. Redmen skated in the Championship Game of the 2015 Deep Freeze Tournament against a familiar opponent, the Cambridge Falcons.  This will mark the 5th time in the past 2 months the Jr. Redmen have faced the Falcons, winning the previous 4 games.  The Jr. Redmen controlled play for the first 4 minutes of the game getting quality scoring chances from William Rosato, Conor Cremin, and Billy Doherty, but the Falcons’ goalie was there to make all the saves.  The Falcons were able to gain some offensive zone time and took a 1-0 lead with 5:25 left in the opening period.  The Jr. Redmen went back on the attack and nearly tied the game with time winding down in the 1st period but back-to-back shots on the powerplay by Brady Chapman and Jason Cooke were turned away.

The 2nd period started with the Falcons controlling play but outstanding defense from Daniel Kierce, Jack Griffin, James Kierce, and Andrew Grieco kept the score at 1-0.  The Jr. Redmen went on the attack at the 8 minute mark of the middle period but the Falcons’ goalie made quality saves on scoring chances from Ryan Flynn, Jonny Norwood and Andrew Della Piana.  The Falcons increased their lead to 2-0 with 4:02 left in the 2nd period when a bad bounce in front of the Jr. Redmen net ended up in the back of the net.  With time winding down in the 2nd period Andrew Grieco provided the spark that the Jr. Redmen were looking for.  Grieco skated the puck through the neutral zone, around 2 Falcon defenders, and fired a shot on net that was saved.   Grieco picked up his own rebound, skated around the net and fired a perfect pass to Matthew Cooke who buried a one-timer into the back of the net with 2 seconds left in the period.  

The goal sparked the Jr. Redmen who came out flying in the final period but scoring chances early on from Matthew Cooke, Conor Cremin, and Billy Doherty were all turned away.  Ben O’Keefe made a series of unbelievable saves midway through the 3rd period to keep it a 1-goal game.  With time winding down the Jr. Redmen pulled their goalie for an extra attacker but shots from Daniel Kierce, Brady Chapman, and Jason Cooke all ended up being saved by the talented Falcon goalie, resulting in a 2-1 loss.

The Jr. Redmen players would like to thank their parents, sisters, brothers, and grandparents for making this such a memorable experience.
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