D2 North: Tewksbury 3, Marblehead 2

BILLERICA, Mass. – The Tewksbury Redmen have just four seniors on their team, but Derek Doherty’s team played like an experienced group on Monday night at Chelmsford Forum.

The top line of Ryan Petti, Colin Quinn and Jack Cash each scored once as the Redmen advanced to next Monday’s Division 2 North Final with a 3-2 victory over upset-minded Marblehead.

“We played well,” said Doherty, Tewksbury’s head coach for the past 13 seasons.

Top line shines: The Redmen jumped on top, 1-0, at the 13:10 mark of the first period when leading scorer Ryan Petti made a nice move towards the net before backhanding the puck on net. Marblehead goaltender Harrison Young made the initial save, but Jack Cash was there to bang home the rebound.

With the score knotted at one midway through the second, the top line struck again. Defenseman Sean Brady fed a nifty pass to Quinn, who snapped a quick shot on net that was denied by a beauty of a kick save by Young. The puck caromed in back of the net where Petti retrieved it and banked one in off the surprised goalie.

The trio gave their team what would turn out to be some much needed breathing room 5:19 into the final frame. Petti’s outlet pass sprung Quinn and Cash on a 2-on-1. Cash delivered a nice feed at the perfect time to Quinn who wasted no time depositing the puck into the back of the net.

“Quinn has great hands. He’s smart, he sees the ice well and he finishes. [Cash and Quinn] looked up and knew they had a little bit of time. They didn’t rush the play,” said Doherty of the game-winning goal.

“They played well tonight. They’ve been playing well, especially the last few games of the tournament,” said Doherty.

Paquette, defense hold down the fort: The Redmen have shut out their opponents seven times this season, and although they allowed two goals on Monday night, it was apparent that the team takes pride in protecting its own end.

Junior goaltender Kyle Paquette was terrific, especially in the second period.

“Kyle’s been great for us,” Doherty said. “He’s been focused and is just staying the course. It was a big game and Kyle came to play tonight.”

Tewksbury played well throughout the third period, keeping Marblehead along the perimeter for much of the final 15 minutes. After allowing the Headers to get within one, the defense clamped down and prevented any serious scoring chances by Marblehead to tie the game.

“Our defense played well in the third period to secure that win. That goal that they scored coming out of the corner shouldn’t have happened. We talked about it after the game. We’ve got to play a little harder,” explained Doherty.

Coachable, composed team: Many young teams would have become flustered with a late goal against to end a period, but not the Redmen. With just 1.6 seconds to play in the first period, Marblehead’s Tom Kolinowski banged home a rebound off a nice rush by Erik Powers.

“They scored that goal with one second left in the first, and I kind of had to settle my team down a little bit,” said Doherty. [My team] has been good. They’re very coachable. If we play our systems we’ll be fine.”

“We are young, but we work hard,” added Doherty.

Tough ending for Marblehead: A sophomore, Kalinowski, and a freshman, Braden Haley, scored the two goals for Marblehead, but it was his seniors who head coach Bob Jackson felt for after the game.

“I feel bad for the seniors in that room right now,” Jackson said. “The seniors gave it their all. You hate to see any senior end their hockey career like this. I loved the four years I got to spend with all of them. I’m tickled pink that I got to know all those young men.”

It was a senior class that won the Division 3 State Championship as freshmen and got to see the program elevated to Division 2 for this season.

“For us to jump up, it was a good challenge,” Jackson said. “We believed in ourselves. We actually thought we had a chance to be here. We would have loved to be playing here next Monday.”

Looking ahead: Tewksbury will have its work cut out facing No. 1 Beverly (20-1-1) in the Division 2 North Final, Monday night (6 p.m.) at Tsongas, but the Redmen are as cut out as any team to take on the Panthers.

We’ll play our game and not worry about [Beverly’s] game,” said Doherty.

“Unbelievable,” said Paquette when reminded that his team would be playing for the sectional final next time out.