FITCHBURG -- At the start of the season, North Middlesex hockey head coach Mike McCarthy said goals would be hard to come by in 2013-2014. North Middlesex has outscored its opponents 18-3 in its last three games, including a 5-0 home victory over nonconference 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. McCarthy and Miller cycled the puck to the mouth of the cage from the back boards. 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 slapshot 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 outshot 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 McCarthy. 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 Dupre and 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. McCarthy's shot snuck through the legs of Coiroin with 2:15 left. North Middlesex outshot the Tigers, 35-12.
North Middlesex returned to the rink on Monday when it faces Oakmont at Cushing Academy -- faceoff is scheduled 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." Tomorrow, North Middlesex will step out of the Coughlin Conference for a non-;eague battle with Hopedale, who hails out of the Russell Conference. Hopedale at the time of publication currently stands at 0-1-2. The Patriots host the Blue Raiders at 7 p.m. inside the Wallace Civic Center in Fitchburg.