Tewksbury, MA – MassNZ was in the house for what was the game of the night and a huge rematch in Division 2 as top-ranked Concord-Carlisle Patriots took on the second-ranked Tewksbury Redmen as per the MIAA Power Rankings. In their last meeting on January 6, CC took the win by a final of 5-2 on home ice and the Redmen were now getting a chance on their home turf. As is always the case with home games in Tewksbury, the town, the students and the alums all show up for every tilt at Breakaway Ice Center. When we arrived 20 minutes before game time, the expansive parking lot was nearing capacity and the stands were nearly full while two youth teams were still practicing on the ice. As the game got closer: parents, local teams from other divisions, locals and other interested onlookers lined the glass at both ends 2 to 3 people deep. There was energy in the building tonight, and the Redmen fed off that.
In the first period, Tewksbury came out heavy and jumped on the Patriots with a strong forecheck. It was hard to break out the puck because there was no room to carry through the neutral zone and they were finishing every check. In the early minutes of the period, it was purely a territorial battle as both teams were trying to assert their style. The Redmen were more hand-to-hand combat whereas Concord-Carlisle could move the puck quickly and stretch the zone. The Redmen continued to put the pressure on and would eventually break through six minutes in as junior forward Jason Lavoie found sophomore forward Tyler Bourgea with a nice pass to the dot on the backdoor and a quick wrister to make it 1-0 Tewksbury. Concord-Carlisle would make a push and create more scoring chances as the period wore on, but the Tewksbury defense was too tough to crack: 1-0 was our score after one.
In the middle frame, Concord-Carlisle owned the possession early and got on the board two and a half minutes in as freshman speedster Joe Grasso carried the puck through the teeth of the Tewksbury defense and created his own lane to the net to bury it and tie the game at 1-1. This was exactly the boost that they needed and the momentum was starting to shift their way. The Patriots put more quality shots on net and could string together long stretches of offensive zone time. To Tewksbury’s credit, they refused to back down from their game plan and forced Concord-Carlisle to earn every inch of ice. At the 10-minute mark, the balance of power shifted once again: a shot from the point by junior Anthony DiFranco led to a nice backdoor mid-air tip by Jeremy Insogna which gave Tewksbury the lead at 2-1. From this point on, the Redmen would own more of the ice and tilt the game back in their favor. One minute and 46 seconds later they would extend that lead seizing on the momentum as a turnover in the neutral zone led to a 2-on-0 give-and-go play between Insogna and senior forward Matt Cooke, finished by the latter to make it 3-1, which would be our score after two periods.
In the final frame, Concord-Carlisle needed to make a push, but this period entirely belonged to the Redmen who swarmed the Patriots at every turn. It was tough to get shots through and it was even tougher to skate cleanly through the neutral zone and as a result, more time was spent in the Patriots’ end which meant sophomore netminder Sam Griswold had to be on his game. In the early part of this period, he made some terrific stops with his glove, blocker and by sprawling out to cover the bottom half of the net on weakside passes. Without his effort between the pipes, this game could have gotten away from Concord-Carlisle early. With that said, Tewksbury kept the pressure on and broke through in a big way starting at the 8:44 mark. Cooke flew to the blue line and stole a D-to-D pass in his defensive zone and went in all alone and buried top shelf for his second of the night to make it 4-1. That felt like the dagger, but the Redmen were not done. Just 13 seconds later a beautiful give-and-go play by Bourgea and Insogna led to Insogna’s second of the night. But wait, there’s more! Twenty-four seconds later, freshman Kevin Andriolo mucked and grinded in a scrum in front of the net, scoring a greasy goal. That gave us our final on the evening: 6-1 Tewksbury took down the previously undefeated Concord-Carlisle.
- F Jeremy Insogna, Tewksbury
- F Matt Cooke, Tewksbury
- F Tyler Bourgea, Tewksbury