Going into Monday’s MIAA Division 2 North title game, there certainly wasn’t going to be any secrets. It was the third meeting of the season between MVC/Dual County II foes Boston Latin and Tewksbury.
The fourth-seeded Wolfpack had gotten the better of the seventh-seeded Redmen during the regular season, winning both contests. But this time, it would be Tewksbury’s night.
Two goals just over a minute apart in the second period gave the Redmen a commanding 4-1 lead and they held on for a 6-4 win to secure the D2 North title and a date with South champ Canton on Sunday at TD Garden. Still, this one was not over until Tewksbury’s Jason Cooke deposited an empty-net goal with 32 seconds left.
“I thought we did a good job getting the lead,” said Tewksbury coach Derek Doherty. “But, we sat back again, partly due to the inexperience of our younger players. We knew what they were all about, and they certainly knew what we were all about. We just wanted to funnel pucks on net as much as we could.”
The teams traded goals in the first period. The Wolfpack struck first on a goal by Owen O’Brien 5:12 in as the junior converted a nice rush down the left side. Defenseman Ben Bieren tied it for Tewksbury at 1-1 at 6:46 when his wrister from just inside the blue line found the twine.” Asa DeRoche and Aaron Connelly drew assists on the play.
Just 17 seconds into the second period, Campbell Piecrce slid a well-placed, along-the-ice shot just inside the near post to give the Redmen their first lead at 2-1.
At 6:01, Kyle Morris scored the first of his two goals from the slot, and then at 7:04, Cooke slid one home in front. All of sudden, Tewksbury was on top 4-1.
“Those two goals were huge,” Doherty said. “We knew that we needed that one more goal for them to just pack it in, but we didn’t get it. So it made for an interesting third period.”
The Wolfpack did cut the lead to 4-2 before the end of the stanza on a slap shot by Evan Frechette, assisted by Jeff Monahan.
That goal seemed to give Latin life, as they carried the play for pretty much the first half of the third period. But, at 7:19, Tewksbury defenseman Robert Casey fired from the left point for the Redmen’s first shot of the period, and Morris was right there to bang home the rebound on the second shot to restore the lead to 5-2.
Still, Boston Latin would not go away.
With goalie Luke Young pulled for a sixth attacker, Sam Hutchinson banged home the puck from the right post to make it a 5-3 game at 10:44. Less than a minute later, with Young back in the cage, Josh Sharek threw the puck into the crease from behind the goal line and it somehow trickled past Tewksbury goalie Patrick Letourneau. All of a sudden it was now a 5-4 ballgame.
Boston Latin coach Frank Woods pulled Young again with 1:35 left, but they Wolfpack could not muster an attack, as Tewksbury’s forechecking kept them pinned in the defensive zone. Cooke then grabbed a loose puck and backhanded it home from the slot for the 6-4 lead.