FITCHBURG - At the start of the season, North Middlesex hockey head coach Mike McCarthy said that goals would be hard to come by for the 2013-2014 installment of the Patriots. North Middlesex has outscored its opponents 18-3 in its last three games, including a 5-0 home victory over non-conference foe, Tyngsboro, Thursday afternoon at the Wallace Civic Center in Fitchburg.
"We have been having some consistency out of our first line," Mike McCarthy said. "Our first line was on the ice for all five of them again. I am looking for more production out of our other kids, but it looks like we found our top line, for sure."
Do-it-all senior captain Danny McNamara recorded four points including a pair of goals in the Patriots win. Ryan McCarthy,Josh Miller and PJ Dupre also scored for the Patriots. Senior captain Ryan Twomey made 12 saves to propel the Patriots to a 3-1 start to the campaign.
"Ryan Twomey was there when we needed him tonight," the coach said. "Obviously, with the amount of shots they had, he wasn't the standout that he has always been for us - he didn't need to be tonight. He did make some timely saves for us early in the game when the contest was very much in question. The defense did a fantastic job keeping the pucks in play and getting them in deep."
North Middlesex controlled the first four faceoffs of the game, and it quickly cashed in with its first goal at 2:34 of the first period. Ryan McCarthy and Josh Miller cycled the puck to the mouth of the cage from the back boards.
Ryan McCarthy's centering pass deflected off the left pad of Tyngsboro goalkeeper Seth Corioin and squirted out to the stick of McNamara.
McNamara jabbed at the puck and snuck it inside the right post to give the Patriots a 1-0 advantage.
Tyngsboro's Andrew Margins clanged the puck off the left post in the first period and narrowly scored on the rebound, but Twomey recovered swiftly and swept the puck away with his glove.
Seven minutes later, McNamara returned the favor, setting up Miller for a slap shot in the slot to extend the Patriots lead to 2-0. That is where the score would stand as the game went to the first intermission.
Tyngsboro, despite being out-shot, 11-5, kept North Middlesex off the board for much of the second period - that is until McNamara beat Corioin with 4.5 seconds remaining.
McNamara controlled the draw at neutral ice and scored on the breakaway from Ryan McCarthy. Ryan McCarthy shoveled his pass from the left wing and McNamara coasted in with a twisted wrist-shot to make it 3-0.
North Middlesex kept its foot on Tyngsboro's jugular in the final period, as defenseman PJ Dupre and Ryan McCarthy both netted insurance goals.
Dupre's unassisted tally came at 8:51 of the third period on the breakaway. Dupre blazed tape-to-tape and tucked the puck under the crossbar. Ryan McCarthy's shot snuck through the legs of Coiroin with 2:15 left.
North Middlesex out-shot the Tigers, 35-12. North Middlesex returns to the rink on Monday when it faces Oakmont at Cushing Academy - faceoff is shceduled for 6 p.m.
The Spartans handed the Patriots their first and only loss of the young season.
"On Monday, we have a game against Oakmont," the coach said. "They beat us to open the season and beat us pretty good. We'll see if we've gotten any better and shown any improvement. It should be a good contest."