Tewksbury Wraps Up MVC/DCLII Title over North Andover with 5-1 Win

North Andover, MA – MassNZ made the trip to Merrimack College for Senior Night as the North Andover Knights hosted the Tewksbury Redmen in a top 10 matchup of D2 contenders. The Redmen are the top-ranked team in the division while North Andover are currently ranked sixth in the MIAA Power Rankings. There was a palpable buzz walking into the rink in warmups. It was a strong crowd on both sides with the North Andover student section chiming in loudest. They were armed with unbridled energy and foam cutouts of the seniors’ faces on sticks. These two teams likely didn’t exchange greetings cards during the holidays and you could see why from the drop of the puck.

In the first period, you could see the rivalry play out in real time as both teams left it all out of the ice and stepped up their physicality right from the start. The early advantage went to the Redmen who were able to set the tone with their hard hits and very aggressive forecheck. There were long stretches where the Knights struggled to escape their own zone. North Andover senior goalie Troy Takesian was up to the task early, making a boatload of saves around the crease to keep this game scoreless. Unfortunately for the Knights the dam would break shortly after. A shot from above the circles by senior forward Jeremy Insogna was stopped but sophomore Tyler Bourgea was there to clean up the rebound: 1-0 Redmen. Tewksbury was flying around the zone and would soon pad their lead just 42 seconds later. This time Bourgea would distribute the puck down low to Matthew Cooke who would find some space short side to make it 2-0. The remainder of the period would be all Redmen as they seemed to win every race to each loose puck and continued to pepper shots on net. 2-0 was our score after one.

In the middle frame it was the same story unfolding once again. Tewksbury came out aggressive and continued to engage a quick and heavy forecheck and activate their defenders to keep pucks in and the pressure around the net. North Andover was able to break more pucks out in the period and put a couple of shots on goal but Tewksbury led the SOG totals by a wide margin. Full credit to Takesian as he kept his team in this game making save after save in the crease. He stopped nearly every puck in this period, except for one. It was Bourgea once again who created a turnover in the attacking zone and he walked across the royal road and buried one off the left post and in: 3-0 Redmen 10 minutes in. That would be our only score of the frame and it would be crucial for North Andover to mount a comeback effort in the third to stay in this game.

In the final frame, North Andover came out with a strong push right out of the gate. They won the territorial battle in the first shift, and that energy transferred to the second shift and so on. The Knights were able to put more shots on net and pin back the Tewksbury defense early in the frame as they fought hard to claw back in this game. As hard as they played, Tewksbury was able to keep many of their chances to the outside and eventually, re-tilt the ice in their favor. As we entered the middle of the frame, North Andover would cut into the lead and end the shutout bid. Senior forward Dylan Fitzpatrick took a pass down low from junior defenseman Nathan Carlson and threw the puck on net from a weird angle and banked the puck home off the goalie to make it a 3-1 game. The two-goal margin would be as close as North Andover would get as Tewksbury would continue to create odd-man rushes and keep the attack pressure on. The Knights called timeout with three and a half minutes to go after neither team had found the scoresheet for a bit. Just a few seconds later, North Andover was righteously aggressive, pulling Takesian with exactly three minutes to go. Shortly after that, Tewksbury would put the game on ice as senior forward Tyler Barnes threw one into the empty net from the red line. Just for good measure, Tewksbury would add one more as Cooke took a pass at the net from Bourgea to make it 5-1, which would be our final score. Tewksbury wins the MVC/DCLII and maintains their ranking as the top team in D2.

Three Stars:

  1. F Tyler Bourgea, Tewksbury
  2. F Matthew Cooke, Tewksbury
  3. G Troy Takesian, North Andover