Tewksbury fought back from a first period deficit to beat an explosive Franklin team at the TD Garden Sunday afternoon 2-1 in overtime to capture the school’s first Division 2 state title since 1995.
Tewksbury coach Derek Doherty, in his 10th season on the bench, thought his team was nervous after falling behind in the opening period, but the Redmen settled in for the remainder of the game as they capped off their dramatic postseason run.
'In my head I said, ‘Oh man, we need the next one because the way the game was going, if they would have gotten it, we might have sunk a little bit and the momentum would have been there's,' Doherty said. “But we got that next goal and we played hard after that. I'm proud of them.”
With two seconds left in the first period, Panthers' senior captain Thomas Carlow rifled a slap shot from the point that bounced off the back boards and trickled behind Tewksbury goalie Niko Cunha. Franklin senior James Marchand picked up the loose puck before Cunha could locate it and poked it in for the game's first goal.
The Panthers lost some of their stride in the second, killing two power plays before the Redmen got on the board with their third extra-man advantage of the period. Senior Ryan Doherty split the defense with a cross-ice pass to sophomore Derek Petti, who slapped a shot on Franklin senior goalie Bill Spillane. Spillane made the initial save, but senior Frank Mazzei was waiting for the rebound to put the Redmen on the board.
"That was the worst first period we played in the tournament," said Doherty, who picked up his 100th career win earlier this season. "We regrouped after the first, came back out, and I thought the kids played very well in the second and third. If they didn’t we were in big trouble."
The aggravation started to build for the Panthers in the second and third periods,when Cunha and the Redmen defense turned away a flurry of odd-man rush attempts by the speedy Franklin forwards.
"We were getting a little frustrated," said Franklin coach Chris Spillane. "We had four or five penalties and it took the flow out of our game. When you're shorthanded you tend to play the same four or five guys over and it takes a lot out of them."
Four minutes into overtime, Mazzei tried stuffing a wrap-around attempt through Bill Spillane's pads, and the puck trickled along the goal line before senior Mark Petti tapped it in and Tewksbury captured the state championship.
“Frank went around the net (and) shot it out front and the puck was loose so I just put it right in,” Petti said. “We just wanted to put it to the net. That’s what [coach] said, just put it on net and hope for the best.
“This is unreal. I can’t believe it. Just a dream come true.”
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