TEWKSBURY, Mass. – As the final horn sounded, Lincoln-Sudbury goaltender Derek Ashe pumped his fists twice and let loose a smile that shone through his facemask.
Ashe turned aside 25 shots to backstop the Warriors to a 3-1 win over Tewksbury in a battle of two of the top squads in Division 2.
“Derek held us in,” Lincoln-Sudbury head coach Tom Pare said of Ashe. “He knows the game, he has a high hockey IQ. His heart and his brain make up for anything you could do physically. I'm really proud of how he played. He's carried us.”
Ashe's shining moment came in the opening half of the second period when Tewksbury peppered the cage with 10 shots and at least a dozen more shot attempts. The Redmen were able to score one, but Ashe stood on his head to keep anymore from getting past.
Ashe's effort paid off when a defensive lapse by the Redmen sprang Lucas Morgan on a breakaway and he buried the shot midway through the second to put LS up 2-1.
“These guys played with confidence, that's what I was really excited about,” Pare said. “We came in, we were confident as a group, we were confident as a program.”
Offensively, the Warriors were led by Ryan Dale. The junior assistant captain scored the first goal of the game and capped the night with a 150-foot empty-net goal in the final minute to seal the win. Dale and the Warrior was able to establish its tempo for the bulk of the game.
“It was a very intense game,” Dale said. “I'm really glad we could pull out a W.”
Even in defeat, Tewksbury goalie Kyle Paquette had a solid game. The junior turned aside 20 shots in the loss.
Paquette's highlight came in the third period when he stopped a Drew Baker penalty shot.
“He kept us in there in the first period,” Tewksbury coach Derek Doherty said of Paquette. “He's been doing for us for three years, but we shouldn't have to rely on him like that.”
Brett Morris was Tewksbury's lone goal scorer, solving Ashe at 4:10 of the second period.
INCONSISTENCIES: Despite playing a physical, entertaining game, both teams left much to be desired in the neutral zone. Possessions were squandered away by both teams that forced a lot of transition hockey.
“That comes down to practice time,” Pare said. “When I'm jotting down notes in the game it comes down to preparation. We do a lot of those sort of things, a lot of individual skills, but it comes down to the mental aspect. It's overthinking and overanalyzing things.”
Both teams each committed five penalties, and Tewksbury clanged three shots off the bar.
“We're usually more disciplined and we weren't very disciplined tonight,” Doherty said. “I think we didn't play 45 minutes of hockey tonight and they did.
“We have some pretty good players in the locker room and they really didn't step up tonight and perform the way they should of. The better team won the game.”