The Jr. Redmen Squirt AAA Hockey Team played a vacation week game on Thursday February 20th at Lawrence Valley Forum against the Woburn Tanners and left the rink with a solid 4-3 win.
The Jr. Redmen were inspired by a great pre-game speech given by NHL Hall of Famer and Boston Bruin legend Ray Bourque. Thanks to the fiery speech by #77, the Jr. Redmen came out flying, putting immediate pressure on the Tanners leading to early scoring chances from Jack Griffin on a breakaway and Conor Cremin on a nifty backhander. The Tanners used their size and physicality to generate some offense of their own but Jr. Redmen goalie Ben O’Keefe was there to make all the big saves. The Jr. Redmen took a 1-0 lead late in the 1st period on a pretty goal by Justin Rooney on the powerplay, assists to Sean Murphy and Andrew Della Piana.
The Tanners opened the 2nd period looking to even the score but were unable to penetrate the rock solid Jr. Redmen defense of Andrew Grieco and Timmy Sweeney. The Jr. Redmen took a 2-0 lead with 8:48 left in the 2nd period on a goal by Jake McDonough, assists to Sean Murphy and Maci Chapman. The Tanners cut into the Jr. Redmen lead just 45 seconds later. The Jr. Redmen controlled play for the next 4 minutes getting great offensive zone pressure leading to quality scoring chances from the line of Jason Cooke, Billy Doherty, and Brady Chapman. The Tanners scored two late 2nd period goals to take a 3-2 lead. The Jr. Redmen nearly tied the game as the clock was winding down when speedy left winger Alex Pescatore blew by a Tanner defender and fired a hard wrister off the crossbar.
The 3rd period started with the Jr. Redmen buzzing around the Tanner zone. Conor Cremin used his speed to get to a loose puck in front of the Tanner net but just as he was about to shoot the puck he was cross-checked from behind by a Tanner defender, leading to a major penalty and a Jr. Redmen powerplay. The Jr. Redmen made the Tanners pay, as they quickly scored on the powerplay to tie the game 3-3 on Jake McDonough’s 2nd goal of the game, assists to Sean Murphy (his 3rd assist of the game for the Playmaker) and Timmy Sweeney. The remainder of the final period was a fast-paced, chippy battle between two excellent teams. Outstanding defensive plays from Justin Rooney, Andrew Grieco, Timmy Sweeney, and Andrew Della Piana kept the game deadlocked at 3 heading into the final minutes. With just over 2 minutes to play the Jr. Redmen nearly took the lead when Billy Doherty made a great play on the backcheck, stripping the puck from a Tanner forward and sending a pretty cross-ice pass to Brady Chapman. Brady skated in the Tanner zone and fired a goal-mouth pass to a streaking Jason Cooke whose redirection tip just sailed over the crossbar. The Tanners took a penalty with 1:26 left in the game, putting the Jr. Redmen back on the powerplay. Once again the PP unit delivered as Sean Murphy buried a wrist shot from the high slot with 22 seconds left in the game, assists to Alex Pescatore and Justin Rooney. The Tanners were looking to pull their goalie but the Jr. Redmen controlled the puck in the Tanner zone, earning a hard-fought 4-3 win.