Tewksbury, MA – The top seed in the Division 2 bracket was one of the last games to be played in the Round of 32 and Breakaway Ice Center felt like a powder keg just before puck drop. Students, parents and local onlookers all turned out in a big way to support the defending D2 champs, the Tewksbury Redmen, looking to start their road to get back to the Garden. Standing in their way was the play-in winner and 32-seed Lowell Catholic Crusaders.
Both teams came out flying trying to set the tone physically. A couple of massive hits to start the game and the first penalty against Lowell Catholic set up Tewksbury with a power play at 12:48. There were a few big saves on the man advantage by freshman stud Vinny D’Urso to keep us scoreless and the Crusaders did a nice job of clogging the shooting and passing lanes to successfully kill it off. There was plenty of back-and-forth action mostly controlled by Tewksbury until the Redmen took a penalty of their own at 6:55. They killed it off as Lowell Catholic had trouble setting up in the attacking zone. After a hard-fought period, it was scoreless after 1.
The second frame opened up with a quick penalty against Tewksbury at the 13:08 mark. It was a very short-lived man advantage as Lowell Catholic took a penalty of their own at 12:40 to make it 4-on-4 hockey for a little under a minute and a half. After this, the game seemed to slow down for both teams. The puck seemed to never leave the offensive zone for Tewksbury but they couldn’t seem to figure out how to solve D’Urso. He made a barrage of beautiful saves including a glove save on a shot from the slot, another save on a deflection, and yet another on a snap shot in tight. Soon after there was a great defensive play by Crusaders sophomore defenseman Andrew Marcucci to stop an odd-man rush. But the dam soon broke as Tewksbury would open the scoring on the power play at 3:57 on a great pass from junior forward Matthew Cooke to senior forward Conor Cremin near the crease: 1-0 Redmen. That would be our score after two periods.
It was more of the same at the start of the third with Tewksbury dominating possession and play while not allowing the puck to leave the offensive zone. They got a chance to double their lead early in the third with a power play opportunity but Lowell Catholic was able to kill it off. Shortly after there was a big power play opportunity for Lowell Catholic at 6:18 which gave them a chance to tie the game. At 4:37 Tewksbury was whistled for another penalty giving Lowell Catholic 18 seconds of 5-on-3 play. With 3:45 to go, and about a minute remaining on the power play, Marcucci took a shot from the point and it hit senior forward Kyle Dauteuil in front and deflected in to tie the score at 1. That would not be the end of this story: Redmen senior forward Ryan Flynn scored by tipping home an initial shot by Cremin that somehow found the net with 37 seconds remaining in the game. Lowell Catholic pulled the goalie with 28.3 left on the clock and an offensive zone faceoff which led to a huge opportunity in the slot which was the last attempt: saved by Redmen senior goalie Ben O’Keefe.
Final score 2-1 Tewksbury.
- F Ryan Flynn, Tewksbury
- G Vincenzo D’Urso, Lowell Catholic
- F Conor Cremin, Tewksbury