Tewksbury wins in OT
Mark Petti scored at 3:57 of overtime as Tewksbury fought back from a first-period deficit to beat explosive Franklin, 2-1, yesterday at TD Garden to capture the school’s first Division 2 state hockey title since 1995.
Coach Derek Doherty, in his 10th season behind the Tewksbury bench, thought his players were nervous after falling behind in the opening period, but the Redmen settled in and successfully capped a dramatic postseason run.
“In my head I said, ‘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 theirs,’’ Doherty said. “But we got that next goal and we played hard after that. I’m proud of them.’’
In the first period, Panthers captain Thomas Carlow rifled a slap shot from the point that bounced off the back boards. James Marchand picked up the loose puck before Tewksbury goalie Niko Cunha could locate it and poked it in with two seconds left in the period for the game’s first goal.
Tewksbury (18-5-1) got on the board on its third power play of the second period. Senior Ryan Doherty split the defense with a cross-ice pass to sophomore Derek Petti, who fired on Franklin senior goalie Bill Spillane. Spillane made the initial save, but Frank Mazzei was waiting for the rebound and put the Redmen on the board.
“That was the worst first period we played in the tournament,’’ said Doherty. “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.’’
Aggravation started to build for the Panthers in the second and third periods, when Cunha and the Redmen turned away a flurry of odd-man rush attempts by the speedy Franklin forwards.
“We had four or five penalties and it took the flow out of our game,’’ said Franklin coach Chris Spillane, whose team finished 17-5-2. “When you’re shorthanded, you tend to play the same four or five guys and it takes a lot out of them.’’
Nearly four minutes into overtime, Mazzei tried stuffing a wraparound attempt between Spillane’s pads. The puck trickled along the goal line before Mark Petti, a senior, tapped it in.
“Frank went around the net, 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.
“This is unreal. I can’t believe it. Just a dream come true.’’
Petti also scored the winner against Saugus in the Division 2 North title game.
Mazzei suffered a dislocated finger following Tewksbury’s first goal, but the trainers took care of it on the bench, and he went back on the ice.
“Frank is a tough kid,’’ Doherty said. “He’s a big body and he has good hands, too, so he made a lot of things happen out there.’’
Cunha, who had a 1.64 goals-against average in the regular season, finished with 25 saves.
“He’s played great for us all tournament,’’ Doherty said. “You can’t win a state championship without a good goalie.’’