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Wednesday, March 9, 2011
Saugus, Tewksbury advance to D2 North final

By Tom Layman

NORTH BILLERICA, Mass. -- Tewksbury head coach Derek Doherty said he didn’t give any extra words of encouragement to his top forward before his team’s 6-1 dominating win against seventh-seeded Beverly, in the Division 2 North semifinal on Tuesday at the Chelmsford Forum.

There was no pregame speech, no extra allowance or even an extra serving of mashed potatoes at the dinner table thrown his way.

The sixth-seeded Redmen’s top forward is Derek Doherty’s son, Ryan, and the senior forward jumped right out of his playoff scoreless streak all on his own in grand fashion with a three-goal-game to send Tewksbury to its first sectional final since 2008.

“I said Ryan it’s my birthday can you give me a present please,” said a laughing Derek Doherty, whose Redmen (17-5-1) face Saugus on Friday night. “We don’t really talk about it. I’m Dad with him and it’s go take the garbage or let’s sit down and talk about schools.

“We are really a tight-nit group inside (the locker room),” he continued. “Everything that we talk about here is with each other. I don’t grab Ryan separately and say that you’ve got to do this, you’ve got do to that.”

The younger Doherty seemed to respond like he got some good old fatherly advice though as he scored two pretty unassisted goals.

Doherty’s first goal, which proved to be the game-winner, came at 8:26 of the second period. He used a series of moves to get around his defender, and as he made his move back to center in front of the Panthers’ goalie he fell down. But the rejuvenated goal scorer was able to get a stick on the puck as he was falling to the ice for what was then a 2-0 lead.

Beverly (16-6-1) got back to within a goal and had the man advantage with 2:14 seconds left in the second period, but Ryan Doherty took that advantage away when he buried a short-handed goal at 2:11 off a nice feed from Derek Petti.

“We come out every game the same way,” Ryan Doherty said. “Whether I score or Derek (Petti) scores it doesn’t matter. As long as the puck goes in the net I’m happy.”

Petti, Doherty and Frank Mazzei, who played parts of the game together on the front line, all set the tone offensively for the Redmen in a convincing third period to close out the win.

SAUGUS ANSWERS QUESTIONS
There were a lot of questions about what kind of team Saugus was heading into the D-2 North tournament. The Sachems only lost one game in the regular season, but with seven ties the skeptics had to wonder if this was a team that could hang tough with anyone, or a team who couldn’t put teams away.

The No. 5 Sachems (15-1-7) answered a few of those questions on Tuesday night when they eliminated No. 1 Wilmington (18-3-2) with a convincing 5-1 victory in the North semifinals in the first game at the Chelmsford Forum.

Saugus head coach Jeff Natalucci led some of his feelings out after the loss.

“I told these guys that we have one loss this year,” said Natalucci, whose team will face Tewksbury in the North finals on Friday. “We felt we really haven’t gotten the respect that we deserve. No one was really talking about us coming in to this tournament. We have one loss all season, but everybody wants to talk about the seven ties. … We got our chance tonight to show people.”

The Sachems showed everyone off the bat what kind of offense they possess with two goals in the first three minutes of the game, and three overall in the period before Wilmington could even respond.

Saige Tait scored 34 seconds in to the game, and Kurt Roderigues had a hat-trick and an assist.

Roderigues showed great awareness for his surroundings on two of his goals as he banged in rebounds off big blasts from his teammates.

“I just like to get open in front of the net and I let my teammates take the shot,” Roderigues said. “Hopefully I get the opening and put it home.”

The junior, who is one of the smaller players on the ice, showed a little bit of feistiness when he capitalized on a loose puck in front and stole it away from Wildcats’ goalie Joe Aucoin for his second of the night and a big 4-1 at 7:58 of the second period.

“The defenseman bobbled it and it came out front,” Roderigues said. “I just picked it up at the post and the goalie didn’t seem ready. He left his five-hole open and I slipped it through.”