No one is going to claim that the Tewksbury High hockey team painted a masterpiece at The Edge Sports Center Saturday night, but what the Redmen did do is something they've become quite accustomed to this season.
Junior sharpshooter Derek Petti scored two more goals and freshman goaltender Kyle Paquette recorded his second career shutout, as TMHS ran its 2011-2012 record to a remarkable 7-1-1 with a 3-0 road win over Concord-Carlisle.
"We didn't play great," said TMHS coach Derek Doherty. "We were running around a lot out there. But we'll take it. We'll take it, but we expect to get better."
One thing that can't get much better about the Redmen is their record. The win over Concord-Carlisle was their seventh in their last eight games. TMHS is 7-0-1 since opening the season with a 5-2 loss at Chelmsford on Dec. 14.
No one has had more to do with that streak than Derek Petti, Tewksbury's sniper-like first line center iceman. Petti has scored nine goals during the eight-game unbeaten streak, and has recorded two goals in a game on four different occasions.
"He's a pure goal scorer and he's doing the extra things to give himself the opportunities to score," Doherty said of Petti. "He goes to the net, he knows when to separate himself and get open and free, and he's got a quick shot. He's a very good player and a great kid."
Petti got Tewksbury on the board just five minutes into the first period when he stole the puck just outside the blue line and skated in alone to beat Concord-Carlisle goaltender Justin Gray low to the glove side. The goal was unassisted.
Petti made it 2-0 five minutes into the second period when senior winger George Kuegler set him up with a perfect feed from behind the Concord net, which Petti one-touched past the unsuspecting Gray.
Junior forward Patrick Doherty put the game out of reach just 58 seconds later when sophomore winger Jack Cash dug the puck out of a scrum at the blue line and sent Doherty in alone for his fourth goal of the season. Dan Ladderbush also assisted on Doherty's goal.
Paquette made the three-goal lead stand up with several strong saves late in the second period, and when the TMHS defense limited Concord-Carlisle to just a handful of chances in the third period, Paquette had his second shut out of the year.
"He's been solid for us," Doherty said of Paquette. "He's made the saves he's had to. I'm not expecting him to save everything because its not gonna happen. But those shots we expect him to save, he's saving. He's been doing a nice job for us."
Doherty had high praise for the play of Kuegler, Chris Connors and Tyler Slavin, who have teamed-up to form a solid third line for the Redmen.
"That's a big plus for us," Doherty said. "When you have a strong third line you know you can rely on, it just makes the first two lines that much better."
The Redmen are now 3-1-1 in Merrimack Valley Conference/Dual County League play, and are right in the thick of the race for first place in the MVC/DCL's Division 2 standings. TMHS has a well-deserved week off before returning to MVC/DCL action with a home game against Haverhill next Saturday.
WRESTLERS WIN ONE, LOSE TWO IN QUAD MEET AT DRACUT
The Tewksbury High wrestling team was reminded why the Merrimack Valley Conference is widely considered the top high school wrestling league in the state, as the Redmen lost to both Dracut and Methuen before salvaging a win over Andover in a quad meet at Dracut on Saturday.
Senior 170-pounder Chris London was once again the top performer for the Redmen, pinning all three of his opponents, two of them in the first period. London, who won the Division 2 North Sectional championship at 160-pounds last year and the George Bossi/Lowell Holiday Tournament at 170-pounds this year, is now a perfect 19-0 in individual matches this season.
"He's just so strong and he works hard too," said TMHS coach Brian Aylward of London. "He's always looking to improve."
Beyond London, however, the results were mixed at best. Host Dracut edged the Redmen 44-36 in the opening match for both teams, in spite of pinfall victories by London, Dan Altavesta (152 pounds), Mike Davidian (160 pounds), Nick Jansen (heavyweight) and Mike Donovan (120 pounds).
Methuen, which is the top-ranked Division 1 wrestling team in the state, then handed Tewksbury its worst loss of the year, 60-9. London's first period pinfall victory and a hard-fought, 5-4 decision won by senior Tim Martel at 182-pounds accounted for all of Tewksbury's points.
But the Redmen rebounded and topped Andover, 33-24, in their last match of the day. In addition to London's pinfall win, Jansen, Davidian, Altavesta and 195-pounder Derek Tarpey all pinned their opponents. Junior 126-pounder Will Ramsdell also earned his first varsity victory against Andover, taking an 8-6 decision.
"Dracut beat us in a couple of tough spots and that hurt," Aylward said. "The Methuen match was closer than the score indicates because we had a bunch of matches where we were in control but got pinned."
The Redmen wrestle at Central Catholic in a dual meet on Wednesday.