One of these days, somebody is going to have to explain to the 2011-2012 Tewksbury High hockey team that this was supposed to be a rebuilding year.
Apparently, the Redmen didn't get the memo.
That became all too clear Wednesday night when the left-over remnants of last year's Division 2 state championship team waltzed into Billerica's Hallenborg Arena and stunned the highly-regarded Indians, 3-2, to raise their record to an eye-opening 6-1-1 so far this year.
After starting the season with a 5-2 loss at Chelmsford, TMHS has run off a seven-game unbeaten streak, and none of the six wins in that streak was any sweeter than Wednesday's thumping of Division 1 power Billerica.
"Wow, what a great night," said Tewksbury coach Derek Doherty after Tewksbury outshot Billerica, 31-21, and outhit the Indians by at least as big a margin. "Any time you can come into this building and get a win, wow ... I mean, every alumni in Tewksbury has to be happy about this win."
For the second straight game, the hard-hitting Redmen played solid team defense up and down the ice, as Tewksbury refused to let the 8th-ranked, Division 1 Indians get their offensive attack organized for any prolonged periods in the game.
"We stuck to the game plan," Doherty said. "We had the third guy up high and as soon as they touched the puck, we put a body on them. We tried to make them not want to touch the puck, and I though we did a really good job of that. The kids really played hard tonight."
Sophomore forward Jack Cash got Tewksbury on the board first, scoring his second goal of the season at 8:07 of the second period, assisted by Connors. But Billerica rebounded with a goal out of a scramble in front of the Tewksbury net and tied the score at 1-1 three minutes later.
Just 40 seconds after their first goal, the Indians took a brief lead on a wrap-around goal from senior forward Stephen Parise. But Billerica's lead didn't last long.
TMHS sharp-shooter Derek Petti knotted the score at 2-2 when he scored his team-leading seventh goal of the season less than a minute later. Mike Casey and Ryan Petti assisted.
Connors broke the tie just 2:12 into the third period when he knocked home the rebound of a George Kuegler shot for his second goal of the year. Strong defensive efforts from PJ Mugford, Shannon Alukonis, Andrew Surrette and Adam DeGregorio in front of freshman goaltender Kyle Paquette made the lead stand up for the rest of the period, and the Redmen rode home as winners once again.
"I think we just made some noise," said Doherty through a sheepish grin afterward. "I thought we played three good periods against a real good team. It's a big win for us."
Tewksbury now stands at 6-1-1 overall and 2-1-1 in Merrimack Valley Conference/Dual County League action. The Redmen go back on the road for an important MVC/DCL contest against Concord-Carlisle on Saturday evening.