The Tewksbury Redmen Mites finished off 2012 with a hard fought 4-3 win over the Winthrop Vikings at Malden Valley Forum on Saturday 12/29. The win improves the Redmen season record to 19-3.
The Redmen knew they would have to play their best as the Vikings have 2 of the fastest/skilled Mites in the area. The Vikings came out quickly and got the first 2 scoring chances of the game but Redmen superstar goalie Ben O’Keefe was there to make the saves. The Redmen started to use their speed and quickness and created scoring chances when Conor Cremin got in on the forecheck, created a turnover, and sent a quick pass to Matt Cooke in the slot. Matt fired a quick wrist shot that rang off the left post. The Vikings took a 1-0 lead with 7:54 to play in the 1st period and had opportunities to increase that lead but great defensive plays from Andrew Grieco and Nick Calouro kept the deficit at one. The Redmen had a great opportunity to tie the game late in the 1st period when Billy Doherty stole the puck from a Winthrop defenseman and skated in alone but the goalie made a great glove save on Doherty’s wrist shot.
The Redmen were determined to keep their winning streak alive and came out flying in the 2nd period, scoring just 45 seconds into the period to tie the game 1-1. Right Wing Jason Cooke started the play behind the net when he gained control of a loose puck and sent a nice pass to Center Billy Doherty at the right face-off circle. Doherty sent a one-time pass across the crease to Left Wing Andrew Della Piana who wasted no time, sending a hard wrist shot under the sliding Viking goalie. The Vikings battled back but were unable to get pucks to the Redmen net because of great defensive efforts from Danny Kierce and Jack Griffin. With 7:04 left to play in the 2nd period Jason Cooke picked up a loose puck at his own blue line, skated around 2 Viking forwards, split the 2 Viking defenseman, and beat the Viking goalie with a high wrist shot to the top corner for a 2-1 Redmen lead. The remainder of the 2nd period turned into the Benny O’Keefe show as he made save after save to keep the lead for the Redmen.
The Vikings came out strong in the 3rd period and were able to tie the game 2-2 with 10:50 left in the period. The Redmen Mites battled back and regained the lead with 8:17 to play in the game when Andrew Della Piana sent a pretty cross ice pass to Jason Cooke who used his speed along the right wing boards to break in alone and once again Jason fired a high wrist shot that the Viking goalie never even saw. The final 8 minutes of the game turned out to be high-energy, exciting hockey with both teams getting great scoring chances. Conor Cremin used his speed and toughness to chase down a Viking forward, stealing the puck and moving in alone for a scoring chance. The Vikings had back-to-back breakaways with 4 minutes to play in the game but Redmen Goalie Ben O’Keefe once again shut the door, proving he is the best goalie in the Valley League. Down a goal late in the game, the Vikings pulled their goalie for an extra skater and the Redmen made them pay. Jack Griffin and Andrew Grieco made a great play at their blue line breaking up a 3-on-2, and sending the puck into the neutral zone where Center Matt Cooke carried it into the Viking zone. Matt felt the pressure of 2 Viking backcheckers so he curled back and sent a cross-ice pass to Brady Chapman who fired a one-timer into the empty net for the 4-2 lead. The Vikings were able to cut into the lead, scoring with 27 seconds left, and nearly tied the game as speedy #10 from Winthrop took the ensuing face off and broke in alone but Goalie Benny O’Keefe made one last game-clinching save to secure the 4-3 Redmen win.