For the past nine years, _Tewksbury High_ hockey coach Derek Doherty has taken his Redmen north to Maine over Christmas vacation in hopes that his senior leadership will teach the younger TMHS players what a winning tradition is all about.
That's exactly what happened Monday night, _as seniors PJ Mugford and Dan Ladderbush _provided the offense and freshman goaltender Kyle Paquette notched his first career shutout, as Tewksbury downed Scarborough, ME., 2-0 in the opening round of the Maine Invitational Tournament.
"This (trip to Maine) really brings the kids together," Doherty said. "It's a great experience for the younger guys and its good for us as a team."
Mugford, the team's most experienced defender, continued to lead by example, scoring his third goal of the season on a second-period blast from the point. Ladderbush scored his first goal of the year, also in the second period, and Paquette made the two-goal lead stand up.
"Our goalie played extremely well tonight," Doherty said. "It was a pretty even game all around but the difference was that Paquette came up with some big saves."
Sophomore Jack Cash assisted on Mugford's goal while senior forward Derek Petti and defenseman Shannon Alukonis assisted on Ladderbush's goal.
"_Jack Cash had an outstanding game," Doherty said._ "He's been pretty consistent for us so far. He plays physical when he has to and he doesn't make many mistakes in our own end."
Mugford's blast gives him three goals and three assists so far this winter. He's second on the team in scoring, just a point behind Derek Petti (four goals, three assists).
"We need (Mugford) to be pretty much an all-around player for us and he's done that so far," Doherty said. "His shot from the point is so hard that if the goalie is screened even a little bit, it's gonna whip right by him."
The win is Tewksbury's third straight and it improves the team's record to 3-1 so far. Tewksbury has always enjoyed success at the Maine Invitational, compiling a 24-3-1 record over nine years at the tournament.
"We've played some pretty good hockey up here," Doherty said. "I think we're a little more focused when we're on the road like this."
Tewksbury will have a challenge on Tuesday when the Redmen face Chevrus (Maine) High School in a 2 p.m. game.
"They're older and more physical, and we're still young," Doherty said. "We're playing well, but it's still early. We're still making a lot of mistakes, but luckily we haven't been penalized for it."