Redmen Are Upset In MIAA Quarterfinals -- Lose to Concord-Carlisle On Penalty Shots
Feb 28, 2015 10:38PM
By Rick Spencer
Tewksbury's Ryan Meade (5) is stopped at point blank range by Concord Carlisle's Leon Paladjian.
It’s the age old story in play-off hockey, no matter what the level. The team with the red hot goaltender shocks the world by knocking off a highly-rated opponent that no one thought they could beat.
Such was the unfortunate fate of the Tewksbury High hockey team in the MIAA Division 2 North quarterfinals Saturday night, as top-seeded TMHS ran into a buzz saw in Concord-Carlisle netminder Leon Paladjian, and the heavily-favored Redmen suffered a heart-breaking, 1-0 defeat on penalty shots that ended their season weeks before anyone anticipated it would end.
"Lightning struck twice,” said a visibly disappointed Tewksbury High head coach Derek Doherty afterward. “The same thing happened two years ago against Watertown. We outshot them 2-to-1 but we ran into a hot goalie. It’s tough.
“Their goalie played well.,” Doherty added. “He made every save he had to.”
The upset is even more shocking when you consider the distinctly different paths that both teams took to get to this point. Normally high-powered Tewksbury, which had averaged 4.23 goals per game during the regular season, had earned the No. 1 seed in the Division 2 North Sectional tournament with a 16-5 regular season record. Concord-Carlisle, meanwhile, had earned the bracket’s ninth seed with a 10-6-4 regular season record. The Redmen and the Patriots, who both play in the Merrimack Valley Conference/Dual County League’s second division, had faced each other twice this year, with Tewksbury taking two convincing wins, 8-4 at home in January and 4-1 on the road in February.
But none of that mattered to Paladjian on Saturday, as the senior keeper stopped all 46 shots the Redmen threw at him through three regulation periods and two sudden death overtimes, forcing the game to be decided in a shoot out. Predictably, Paladjian’s stellar netminding in the shoot out forced the contest to go 10 rounds. It was tied at 3-3 after nine rotations before sophomore forward Jeff Costanza, who had not scored a single goal during the regular season this year, beat TMHS goalteder Kyle Paquette to win it for the Patriots.
The Redmen had plenty of chances to build a lead in this game as they fired at least 10 shots at the C-C net in every period, and got the better of things in overtime as well. But Paladjian zoned in on every one of those shots and turned them all aside, setting the stage for the monumental upset on penalty shots.
“I thought we played well as a team, but you have to get in front of their goalie and create commotion and we didn’t,” Doherty said. “We didn’t have enough net front presence. That was our conversation between the periods. We needed more net front presence. We needed to have that second guy in front of the net. We had a lot of shots, but you have to put one of them in, that’s the problem. We didn’t put any of them in.”
Tewksbury did beat Paladjian three times during the shoot out, as senior forward Ryan Petti scored on the team’s first chance and junior forward Dario Riparo connected in the fourth round. But Concord Carlisle scored on its fourth and fifth shots to extend the shoot out. Junior forward Steve Hamel almost won it for Tewksbury in the eighth round, but Concord-Carlisle got the equalizer on its next try and won it in the 10th rotation.
Concord-Carlisle will now advance to play Masconomet in the sectional semi-finals next week.
“It’s too bad because we’ve got a really talented group of kids and now I feel like the best team is out of the tournament,” Doherty said. “They’re a good group of kids. We won a lot of games with them over the last two years. We thought we were going to be a little more successful than this.”