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Red Rangers Face Longmeadow Tonight For Return Trip To State Final

Mar 11, 2019 02:34PM ● By Bill Gilman
 At this point, the biggest question for the Methuen/Tewksbury girls hockey team isn't if it will win, it's whether anyone can give them a decent game.
The Red Rangers, who had blasted Westford, 6-2, in the first round of the D1 State Tournament, ran roughshod over Peabody/Lynnfield/North Reading, 7-1, in the quarterfinals, Thursday.
Methuen/Tewksbury (20-1-1), seeded No. 3 in the 27-team tournament, will take on No. 7 Longmeadow (13-2), Monday at 7:30 p.m. at O'Brien Arena in Woburn. With a win, the Red Rangers would earn a return trip to the D1 State Final, where they would meet the winner of the first semifinal, between Andover and Austin Prep (5:30 p.m., O'Brien Arena).
This will be the Red Rangers' third straight trip to the state semifinals. Two years ago, playing in Division 2, Methuen/Tewksbury fell to Notre Dame Academy, 5-1. Last year, after bumping up to Division 1, the Red Rangers beat Masconomet, 4-2, before falling to Woburn in the title game, 1-0.
In the win over Peabody/Lynnfield/North Reading, state scoring leader Julia Masotta had four goals, including two on the power play, to pace the Red Rangers. Cassidy Gruning, Carolyn Curley and Brenna Greene had the other goals. 
PLN hung tough through the first period, tying the game on a power play goal by Sammi Mirasolo. But M/T took over in the second, with the first two of six unanswered goals. Masotta scored on the power play from Gruning (3 assists) to give the Red Rangers the lead for good, 3:36 into the second period. Just a few minutes later, Lydia Pendleton set up Masotta on a shorthanded goal to make it 3-1.
The third period was all Red Rangers, who outshot the Tanners, 33-20, for the game.  Curley (from Jessica Driscoll andRyan Quinn), Greene (from Gruning and Masotta) and Gruning (from Greene) all scored to push the lead to 6-1. Masotta tacked on a late goal for the final.
M/T goalie Kaia Hollingsworth continued her exceptional play, making 19 saves in the win.

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