By Matt Williams
---- — NORTH BILLERICA — All the Marblehead High hockey team needed last night was a chance.
Freshman Braden Haley’s goal with 1:14 left in regulation gave them that chance, making their Division 2 North semifinal with Tewskbury a one goal game.
The Redmen didn’t give the Headers any room to cash in on that chance, holding on for a 3-2 win at Chelmsford Forum.
Tewksbury (17-3-2) controlled the puck for most of the final 74 seconds, though Marblehead did have an offensive zone faceoff with goalie Harrison Young pulled for an extra attacker with only 1.4 seconds on the clock.
The Headers, who won the majority of the faceoffs throughout the night, couldn’t win the final one cleanly and saw their season end at 18-6-1.
“With 1:14 left on the clock, I thought we might have a shot at it,” Marblehead coach Bobby Jackson said. “Tewksbury is a very disciplined team and they played their positions. They didn’t allow us to regroup and get our goalie pulled again.”
The last sequence was a microcosm of the game, which saw the Headers control possession for stretches of time. Tewksbury almost always had a stick or skate in the passing lanes, however, and Marblehead was unable to turn possession into quality scoring chances.
To compound that, the Redmen scored each of their three goals thanks part to rushing counter attacks. Tewksbury’s top line of Colin Quinn (goal, two assists), Ryan Petti (goal, two assists) and Jack Cash (goal, assist) did the bulk of the damage.
Cash’s rebound goal gave Tewksbury a 1-0 lead with 1:50 to go in the first, but Marblehead’s Tim Kalinowski flipped home an Erik Powers rebound with only one second left on the clock to tie it up after 15 minutes.
“It was a chess match to begin, and after Marblehead got that late goal we told our guys to stay the course, and if we play our system we’ll be fine,” said Tewksbury coach Derek Doherty, who team is 17-3-2 and faces Beverly in the Division 2 North final next Monday at Tsongas Arena.
Midway through the second, Petti scored from below the endline after Young (19 saves in all) made two great saves on Quinn. The rebound trickled to Petti, however, and he slipped it into the cage for a lead the Redmen never gave up.
“We worked hard for that goal at the end of the first to give us momentum,” said Jackson. “I thought we’d come out strong in the second after that, but when they got that goal it seemed to put us back on our heels again.”
Redmen goalie Kyle Paquette (23 saves) was at his best in the second when he made 12 saves. The Headers brought big pressure from their top line of Tom Koopman, Matt Koopman and Haley in the third, and they finally broke through when Matt centered to Haley just as Young got off the ice for the extra attacker.
“We knew we really had to keep an eye on number seven (Matt Koopman) and that line was coming every other shift in the third. We had to get a little more physical with them and I thought we did,” said Doherty.
Senior captains Liam Gillis and Tom Koopman were forces for the Headers most of the way, and seniors Chris Cormier and Max DelVento had scoring chances denied last night. Erik Powers, Trevor Gelineau, Dean Fader (a beast on faceoffs), Colby Shepard and the goaltender Young are also graduating.
They helped the Headers to their fourth 17-win season in the last five years.
“The seniors in our room gave it their all,” said Jackson. “You hate to see any senior end their career with a loss, but I’m so proud of all our guys. We loved the four years we had with them.”
As a program, the Headers moved up to Division 2 North this season and equated themselves well by making the sectional final four and going toe-to-toe with an established program like Tewksbury.
“We’ve had the attitude that we play in the Northeastern Conference. We see Beverly, Winthrop, Danvers and other big teams all the time,” said Jackson. “For us, the jump up was a challenge but we believed in ourselves and we thought we had a chance to be here. We would’ve loved to be playing next Monday, too.”
Tewksbury 3, Marblehead 2
at Chelsmford Forum
Tewksbury: 1 1 1 — 3
Marblehead: 1 0 1 — 2
First period: T, Jack Cash (Colin Quinn, Ryan Petti), 13:10; M, Tim Kalinowski (Erik Powers), 14:59.
Second Period: T, Petti (Quinn, Sean Brady), 7:47.
Third Period: T, Quinn (Cash, Petti), 5:29; M, Braden Haley (Tom Koopman, Matt Koopman), eag, 13:46.
Saves: M, Harrison Young 19; T, Kyle Paquette 23.
Records: M, 18-6-1; T, 17-3-2.