The Tewksbury Redmen Squirt ‘A’ Hockey continued their strong play by going 1-0-1 over the weekend against Billerica and Stoneham.
The Redmen Squirts opened up their weekend action on Saturday January 26t by taking on rival Billerica in a game that everyone knew would be a battle of 2 great goalies. Redmen Squirt goalie Caulin Martel also plays for the Billerica Squirts so the Redmen called up super-goalie Ben O’Keefe from the Redmen Mite team. The Redmen came out flying, knowing they would have to be at their best in order to get pucks past Martel. The Redmen had some early scoring chances as the line of Evan Zonderman, Maci Chapman, and Jake McDonough combined for 2 quality shots that Martel was able to turn aside. Billerica battled back trying to create their own scoring chances but outstanding defensive efforts from Chance Fitzgerald and Cam Whealan kept Billerica off the scoreboard. With 5:25 to go in the 1st period the Redmen nearly took a 1-0 lead when defenseman Austin Tingtella sent a nice breakout pass to Justin Rooney, who used his speed to break in alone but Martel made the glove save. Billerica had its own breakaway with just over 2 minutes to play in the 1st period but Redmen goalie O’Keefe made a fantastic left pad save to keep the game scoreless after one period. The 2nd period opened fast and furious with both teams getting great scoring chances but the 2 goalies each made saves that had the packed crowd at Hallenborg Arena going crazy. The Redmen’s best chance early in the 2nd period came when Julia Stanizzzi and Shayne MacDonald worked the forecheck to perfection, sending a pass to Kaylen Taddia in the slot. Kaylen fired a hard wrist shot that rang off the left post. The Redmen finally were able to break through the “Martel wall” with just over 6 minutes to play in the 2nd period when Trevor Lindsey made a great play at his own blue line to break up a Billerica 2-on-1. The puck squirted loose into the neutral zone where Timmy Sweeney used his speed to win a race for the puck. Timmy skated in alone and beat Billerica goalie Martel through the 5-hole for the 1-0 Redmen lead. Billerica tied the game 1-1 with just under 2 minutes to play in the period. The 3rd period was a classic up-and-down period with both teams getting many scoring chances. Billerica nearly took the 2-1 lead just 1 minute into the period but Redmen goalie Ben O’Keefe made back-to-back highlight reel saves. Billerica kept attacking but the Redmen defensive pairing of Jade Owirka and Jared LeGrand used their size and strength to keep the game tied. The Redmen had their chances early in the 3rd as well when the line of Aidan Silvia, Justin Rooney, and TJ Moore had sustained offensive zone pressure resulting in 2 quality shots on net that Martel saved. The Redmen were determined to win the game and kept attacking. Their determination and hard work paid off when center Justin Rooney used his blazing speed to get to a loose puck at center ice. Justin skated in alone and fired a high wrist shot over Martel’s left shoulder for the 2-1 lead. Billerica had chances to tie the game in the final 2 minutes but great saves by O’Keefe along with outstanding defensive plays by Fitzgerald, Owirka, and Tingtella secured the 2-1 win for the Redmen.
On Sunday January 27th the Redmen took on a Stoneham team that was tied with the Redmen for 1st place in the Valley League. Both teams played outstanding 2-way hockey and the game ended in a 2-2 tie. The Redmen set the tone early, taking a 1-0 lead just 3 minutes into the 1st period when Aidan Silvia and Timmy Sweeney worked the puck into the Stoneham zone, finding Justin Rooney at the left face-off circle. Rooney fired a low, hard wrist shot that found the back of the net for the 1-0 lead. Stoneham battled right back and tied the game with 6 minutes to play in the 1st period. Stoneham nearly took the lead on the ensuing face-off but Redmen goalie Caulin Martel made a great glove save and defenseman Jared LeGrand was in the perfect position to clear the rebound. Kaylen Taddia, Julia Stanizzi and Shayne MacDonald nearly netted the go-ahead goal with 3 minutes to play in the period but Stanizzi’s backhander was saved. Stoneham scored off a bad bounce with 1:34 left in the period to take a 2-1 lead. The 2nd period opened with the Redmen getting great defensive plays from Austin Tingtella and Trevor Lindsey to keep the Stoneham lead at just 2-1. The Redmen tied the game with 8:32 left in the 2nd period when Evan Zonderman stole the puck from a Stoneham defenseman and sent a great cross-ice pass to Jake McDonough at the left face-off circle. Jake quickly fired a one-timer into the back of the net that the Stoneham goalie never saw. The Redmen nearly took the 3-2 lead when Redmen defenseman Chance Fitzgerald picked up a loose puck behind his own net, skated through the entire Stoneham team, and fired a wicked wrister that just missed the left corner. The Redmen opened the 3rd period with a flurry of shots from Shayne MacDonald, Kaylen Taddia, and Julia Stanizzi but the Stoneham goalie was there to turn them away. The Redmen once again got great play from defensemen Jade Owirka and Cam Whealan to keep the bigger Stoneham forwards away from the Redmen net. Both teams put on a show for the loud crowd at Breakaway Ice Center in the final 5 minutes of the game. The Redmen nearly took the lead with 4:42 left in the game when Jake McDonough and Timmy Sweeney combined on a 2-on-1 but their shot just sailed wide. The Redmen were called for a penalty with 3:21 left in the game but great penalty killing by Chance Fitzgerald, Austin Tingtella, Justin Rooney, and Aidan Silvia kept the game tied. The Redmen had the final chance to win the game with 45 seconds to play but shots by Evan Zonderman and Jared LeGrand were saved by the Stoneham goalie.