There's not much the average high school kid can get accomplished in just nine seconds, unless of course you're _, who pretty much punched the TMHS hockey team's ticket to the state tournament in that incredibly short span of time Wednesday night.
Petti, the junior forward who now leads Tewksbury with 16 goals in just 13 games this season, broke open a 0-0 deadlock with two second-period goals just nine seconds apart, then later added a third to spark the Redmen to a 3-0 win over Dracut at the_
_ had entered the game in need of just one more victory to guarantee themselves a return trip to the MIAA state tournament this winter, and Petti made sure that happened, in the blink of an eye.
"When we're down and out, he steps up and takes care of business," said _. "That's what he did tonight. We didn't play particularly well, but Derek just took control."
Petti's two goals in a span of just nine seconds is likely a school record for the quickest two goals in Tewksbury High hockey history. Petti also netted a rare "natural hat trick," scoring three straight goals in the second period against Dracut. Petti's hat trick came in a span of just 7:24, which also has to rival the quickest hat trick in TMHS history.
"I'm not sure about the hat trick, but two goals in nine seconds, that's pretty hard to beat," Doherty said. "He took control and he can do that. He's nifty. If a team tries to cover him, put a guy on him, good luck. He's fast, he's smart. And he got it done tonight."
Petti's first goal, which came at the 4:51 mark of the second period, was a thing of beauty, as he gained control of the puck at his own blue line and flew down the ice, skating past three different Dracut defenders before beating the Middie goalie with a wrist shot.
Petti and linemates Mike Casey and (little brother) Ryan Petti stayed on the ice for the ensuing face-off, and the elder Petti collected the puck, skated down the ice and flipped it toward the goal. When the puck deflected in off a Dracut defenseman, just nine seconds had elapsed since the first goal.
Petti completed the hat trick with 2:47 to play in the second period, flipping home a back-hander just inside the Dracut goal post, and that was more than enough to do the job.
Ryan Petti, a freshman, assisted on his older brother's first two goals, and sophomore forward Alex Hamilton assisted on the third.
Defensemen Andrew Surrette, PJ Mugford, Shannon Alukonis and Adam DeGregorio played well in front of freshman goaltender Kyle Paquette, who stopped all 13 shots Dracut threw at him. It was Paquette's third shut out of the season.
Tewksbury now stands at 9-2-2 on the year, 5-2-2 in Merrimack Valley Conference/Dual County League play. The Redmen needed to earn 20 points (two for a win, one for a tie) in order to qualify for a return trip to the MIAA Division 2 state tournament, and they accomplished that on Wednesday with seven games still to play.
"We’re in the tournament. I’m definitely happy about that,” Doherty said. “It’s nice to get it out of the way early. Our main priority right now is to battle for the (MVC/DCL Division 2) title.”
Tewksbury is currently tied for first in the division with Boston Latin and Lincoln-Sudbury at 3-0-2. All three teams have tied each other each time they have played.
The Redmen start their second run through the division on Saturday when they play at Methuen High in a game that starts at 12 noon.
BASKETBALL TEAM EARNS A BIG WIN
_ knows that his team is going to have to make its Division 2 and 3 games count if his Redmen hope to qualify for the MIAA Division 2 state tournament this year, and that’s exactly what TMHS did Wednesday night in Tyngsboro.
_ and senior guard Bobby Lumbard added 14 as the Redmen trounced Tyngsboro, 62-42, for their sixth win of the season.
_ while senior forward Sean Foley had 10 points and six rebounds.
Tewksbury led 27-18 at halftime and extended its lead to 20 points in the second half.
“We played well in spots,” Conners said. “We had one good stretch and that’s when we took control. Sean Foley had a great all-around game. He rebounded well and played great defense. Kevin (Dick) did a good job, too. He went to the hoop a little bit.”
The Redmen now stand at 4-3 in tournament qualifying games and need to win one more Division 2 game to qualify for post-season play for the first time since 2007. TMHS has two games against Division 1 opponents (Friday at Central Catholic, Tuesday at Chelmsford) before hosting Dracut next Friday in a Division 2 game that could send the Redmen to the MIAA tournament if they win it.
WRESTLERS TOPPLE MALDEN, 50-9
_ got a much-appreciated break from the rigors of the Merrimack Valley Conference Wednesday evening and flexed their muscles at the expense of Malden High School in a non-league dual match at the Wynn Middle School. Tewksbury took a lopsided, 50-9 win.
The Redmen got some welcome help from the lighter weight classes as 106-pounder Mike McAteer, 120-pounder Mike Donovan and 126-pounder Will Ramsdell all pinned their opponents in the first round as Tewksbury ran out to an early 18-6 lead.
_ with a pin at 132 and Joe Burger won by technical fall at 138.
Brendan McCarthy earned a first period pin at 145 and Dan Altavesta won by technical fall at 152.
_produced one of the more exciting performances of the night, pinning his opponent in the third period after trailing for much of the match. _
took less than a minute to extend his unbeaten streak to 28 straight matches, pinning his opponent in the first period.
David Allen wrapped things up for the Redmen with a pin at 220.
Tewksbury improves to 9-6 in dual meets this season with the win. The Redmen will compete in the Methuen Invitational on Saturday.