On Monday February 4th the Tewksbury Redmen Mites AAA Hockey team lost a heartbreaker to Woburn 4-3 before a full house at O’Brien Rink in Woburn.
The Redmen knew they would have their hands full with the much bigger Woburn Tanners who have one of the most high-powered offenses in the Valley League. The Redmen were up to the challenge and came out flying, getting immediate pressure in the Woburn zone resulting in a goal just 1:56 into the game for the early 1-0 lead. Andrew Della Piana took control of the puck at the left face-off circle in the Woburn zone, skated in and fired a hard wrist shot off the right post and into the back of the net, assists going to Brady Chapman and Andrew Grieco. Woburn battled back and scored 2 goals in a 3 minute span to take a 2-1 lead. Woburn had chances to increase their lead as the 1st period was winding down but Redmen goalie Ben O’Keefe made 3 straight saves that had the Redmen parents, brothers, sisters, and his own grandmother chanting Benny, Benny.
The 2nd period started with the Redmen getting quality scoring chances when Conor Cremin, Matt Cooke, and Andrew Della Piana worked the cycle to perfection down low, resulting in back-to-back shots that the Woburn goalie was able to save. Woburn had chances to increase their lead but defensemen Jack Griffin and Danny Kierce made outstanding plays to keep shots away from the Redmen net. With 6:50 left in the 2nd period Jason Cooke nearly tied the game when he took a nice pass from left wing Nick Calouro and skated in alone but Cooke’s hard wrist shot just missed the far post. Woburn was able to increase their lead to 3-1 with 4:06 left in the 2nd period. The Redmen were awarded a power play late in the 2nd period when Danny Kierce was hauled down from behind. The Redmen worked the “PP” to perfection and scored with 3:21 left in the period when Billy Doherty pounced on a rebound in the high slot, firing a wrist shot over the goalie’s blocker, assists to Jason Cooke and Brady Chapman. The Redmen nearly tied the game 3-3 with 1:45 left in the 2nd period when Andrew Grieco skated the puck out of his own zone, thru center ice, and sent a great cross-ice pass to Billy Doherty who was flying down the right wing boards. Doherty fired a wrist shot that the Woburn goalie was able to get a glove on.
The Redmen came out flying in the 3rd period proving they are one of the fastest skating teams in the area. Two early shots on net by Conor Cremin and Nick Calouro were turned away but the Redmen didn’t give up. With 9:50 left in the game Matt Cooke decided to take the game into his own hands. Matt worked hard on the backcheck, breaking up a Woburn scoring chance, stealing the puck, and skating through center ice with the puck. The Redmen were in the middle of a line change so Matt was on a 1-on-3 but the mighty Mite used his speed and toughness to outwork all 3 Woburn defenders, firing a perfect wrist shot into the back of the net for the 3-3 tie. The Redmen were motivated by Cooke’s effort and over the next 3 minutes had multiple chances to take the 4-3 lead but the Woburn goalie made save-after-save to keep the game tied. The final 5 minutes of the game was a back-n-forth battle of 2 quality teams. Redmen goalie Ben O’Keefe made 2 glove saves with just over 4 minutes to play that had the crowd buzzing. The Redmen had their own chances to take the lead when Jason Cooke sent a great pass to Billy Doherty in the slot but Doherty’s shot hit the far post. Woburn scored the game winner with 2:37 to play in the game, taking advantage of a bad bounce behind the Redmen net. The Redmen had chances to tie the game as the clock wound down but final shots from Andrew Della Piana and Brady Chapman were turned away.