The Jr. Redmen Squirt AAA Hockey club hit the road on Sunday October 13th to Kasabuski Rink in Saugus for a battle with the Lynnfield-Saugus Stars and left the rink with a hard fought 2-2 tie.
The 1st period started with the Stars controlling play but unable to get shots to the net thanks to outstanding defensive work from Sean Murphy and Andrew Della Piana, each making great individual plays to break up scoring chances. The Stars were finally able to get pucks to the net but Jr. Redmen super-goalie Ben O’Keefe made back-to-back glove saves to keep the game scoreless midway through the 1st period. The Jr. Redmen got on the scoreboard first, taking a 1-0 lead with 5:46 left in the period when Billy Doherty fired a nice wrister under the sliding Stars’ goalie, assists to Conor Cremin & Andrew Grieco. The Stars battled right back and tied the game with 2:23 left in the initial period. The Jr. Redmen had a great chance to take the lead with time winding down in the period when Justin Rooney rushed the puck end-to-end but his wrist shot rang off the far post.
The 2nd period was another 12 minutes of fast-paced, up-n-down hockey, with both teams creating excellent scoring chances. The Jr. Redmen had the early chances when Timmy Sweeney and Jack Griffin worked the give-and-go to perfection resulting in Sweeney firing a wrister that the goalie snagged with his catching glove. The Stars took advantage of a bad bounce at the Jr. Redmen blue line and took a 2-1 lead with 8:13 to play in the 2nd period. The Jr. Redmen battled right back and tied the game with 6:11 left when Jake McDonough picked up a loose puck in the high slot and fired the puck into the back of the net, assist to Jason Cooke. The remainder of the 2nd period turned into a goaltending clinic, with both goalies making save-after-save to keep the game tied at two. Jr. Redmen goalie Ben O’Keefe made spectacular saves on consecutive breakaways from speedy #9 from the Stars to close out the period.
Both teams came out in the 3rd period determined to leave the rink with a ‘W’. The Jr. Redmen knew they would have to dig down deep as 5 members of their team played 4 soccer games in a 24 hour period leading up to the Sunday night hockey tilt. The Jr. Redmen had the early chance to take the lead when the birthday girl, Maci Chapman, stole the puck from a Stars defenseman and sent a pass cross-ice to Alex Pescatore. Pescatore used his speed to get to the net, firing a great backhander that the Stars’ goalie kicked to the corner. The Stars nearly took the lead with 5:24 left in the game but another outstanding O’Keefe save kept the game tied 2-2. Brady Chapman nearly gave the Jr. Redmen the lead with just over 2 minutes to play in the game when he was hauled down from behind on a breakaway but neither referee put their hand in the air to call the penalty shot. With the clock winding down, Jake McDonough split the Stars’ defense and fired a shot that the goalie saved, resulting in both teams getting a well-deserved point for the 2-2 tie.