Tewksbury’s Magic Ride Ends As Canton Finishes Undefeated
BOSTON -- The Tewksbury High boys hockey team ascended to heights few imagined this winter.
A young Redmen squad literally grew up on the ice, continually learning what it took to win big games, while keeping a sharp focus on where it wanted the season to wind up.
Relying on its nice mixture of senior leadership and youthful exuberance, the Redmen took off in the postseason, winning the Division 2 North crown and securing a berth in Massachusetts high school hockey’s annual Garden Party.
A season of triumph didn’t end with a victory. But that doesn’t diminish in anyway all that this edition of the Redmen accomplished during their memorable run to the state final.
Canton High was picked by many as the team to beat in Division 2 heading into the tournament. And the Bulldogs more than lived up to their advance billing when it matted most.
The Bulldogs jumped out to a three-goal first-period lead while skating to a 6-2 victory in the Division 2 state final Sunday at the TD Garden.
After falling behind 4-0 on a Canton shorthanded tally with 9:25 remaining in the second period, the never-say-die Redmen trimmed the deficit to 4-2 on goals by seniors Aaron Scott (with 4:29 left in the middle period) and Kyle Lombardo (with 12:11 left in the third).
Just when it seemed Tewksbury had swung the game’s momentum in its direction, Canton took a three-goal lead on the second of John Hagan’s three goals with 7:19 remaining.
“I’m proud of my guys,” said Tewksbury coach Derek Doherty. “We weren’t supposed to do anything this year and here we are today. We’re excited about it but, unfortunately, we’re a little disappointed, too.”
The Redmen players mirrored their coach’s proud demeanor in defeat.
“It was fun,” said Scott. “It was a crazy journey. At the beginning of the year we knew we had seven freshmen and everyone doubted us. But we just came out and showed everyone what we can do.
“We stuck with it. We’re a great group of brothers. Once we go down we never stop. We just keep going. But they got ahead of us today. It happens.”
Tewksbury finished the season with a 17-5-3 record. The Redmen won Division 2 state titles in 2011 and 1995.
Canton completed an unbeaten season at 25-0-1. It was the Bulldogs’ first Division 2 state crown since 2010. Canton outscored its opponents 29-3 during its five state tournament games.
“There was a lot of hype about should (Canton) be a Super Eight team,” said Doherty. “We don’t know because we don’t see them play. But they are the best team we’ve played this year that’s for sure.”
Redmen goalie Pat Letourneau made 27 saves, including some big stops to keep Tewksbury within striking distance late in the first period and in the second period.
“It was a tremendous season,” said senior defenseman Michael Arsenault. “We’re a family in the locker room. We have been since the very first day. We’re friends outside of hockey. We do everything together. Kids look forward to coming to practice. It was a heck of a ride.”
Hagan paced Canton’s offense with three goals and two assists. Ryan Nolte chipped in with a goal and four assists for the Bulldogs.
Kyle Morris, Caden Connors and Campbell Pierce tallied one assist each for the Redmen.
“We had a lot of young guys on the team,” said Doherty. “I think our older guys really brought the team together and got everybody acclimated. They treat everybody fairly in the locker room, They are really good to the younger kids and that helped. And that’s going to be good for us in the future, too.”
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