News Article
Tilton Ram Hockey Brings Championship Title to the Hill

In a breathtaking display of determination, endurance, and teamwork, Tilton Boys’ Varsity A Hockey were crowned New England Preparatory School Athletic Council (NEPSAC) Champions this past weekend. The team defeated Holderness School 5-2 in the NEPSAC Piatelli/Simmons Small School Championship, held at St. Anselm College’s Sullivan Ice Arena. Led by Head Coach Brooks McQuade ‘04 and Assistant Coach Sean Doherty, this is the first time since 2002 that the team has brought a title to the Hill.

“The Northeast Showcase was the weekend before Thanksgiving, and I knew at that point we were going to do good things,” McQuade said of the start of his team’s championship season. “We won every game in that tournament, but our momentum, how we were skating and how we were playing...I remember talking to Coach Doherty and we just knew something was going to happen.”
In the quarterfinals, the #1 seed Tilton played #8 seed Pomfret School at home. The RAMS started strong with a goal in the first period and significantly outshot their opponents in the second, extending the lead to two goals. Another goal in the third brought the RAMS up by three. Pomfret scored in the closing minutes with their goalie pulled, but an empty net goal at the end secure a 4-1 victory for Tilton. Jack Seymour ‘20 (Chelsea, QC) scored two goals, with the other two coming from Brendan Sjostedt ‘19 (Tewksbury, MA) and Jagger Benson ‘20 (Lynnfield, MA). Goalie Owen Cuddyer ‘19 (Braintree, MA) made 35/36 saves in the quarterfinal games.

Tilton School hosted the Small School New England Semifinals in the MacMorran Field House on March 2, matching up against #5 seed St. Mark’s School. The RAMS played strong from the beginning, coming out on top with a power play goal against the Lions. A second period goal extended their lead into the final period, where St. Mark’s scored midway through. Two more in the net settled the game with a 4-1 Tilton victory. Jack Seymour ‘20 scored two goals, with the other two coming from Jacob Iida '19 (Yorba Linda, CA) and Tae Lee '20 (Seoul, KR). In the net, Owen Cuddyer made 31/32 saves.

Onto the NEPSAC Piatelli/Simmons Small School Tournament championship game, where Tilton School played Lakes Region rival Holderness School on March 3. An early goal by Shawn Leslie ‘19 (Braintree, MA) put the RAMS in the lead, but Holderness scored with 6:49 left in the period to tie it up. The game remained tied going into the third period, but with 6:45 left in the final Jagger Benson ‘20 put one in the net to regain the lead. Goals by Brendan Sjostedt ‘19 and Jack Seymour ‘20 secured a 4-1 lead. Holderness was able to score once more, but an empty net goal by Sjostedt with 35 seconds left in the third sealed the deal. In the net, Owen Cuddyer made 33/35 saves. The RAMS were crowned NEPSAC Small School Champions with a final score of 5-2, and the crowd went wild.

Boys’ Varsity A Hockey was joined at St. Anselm College by several fan busses, where the crowd provided the energy and enthusiasm needed to keep the team in high spirits and driving forward. During a hard-fought season, players and coaches alike displayed a high-level of skill and determination, while also providing a great example of leadership, sportsmanship, and teamwork. This round of playoffs brought energy and excitement to Tilton School, and serves as a great source of pride for our community.

“During the championship game at St. Anslem’s, I got on the ice and I looked up, and this wasn’t until the game was over, but I couldn’t believe how many people were there,” McQuade said of the community support. “It was so meaningful to have everybody there. And the kids felt it all year, especially in the playoffs.”

The Tilton Boys’ Varsity A Hockey Team ended their 2019 season with a record of 22-8-0. They finished fourth in New England, scoring a total of 134 goals.

It’s been a total of 17 years since the last Tilton Boys’ Varsity Hockey team won a New England championship. The number 17 was worn by the late Peter “PJ” Shaughnessy Jr. ‘02, a three-year Tilton student and talented athlete who once served as captain of the varisty hockey team. An alumni tournament is played in his honor every year.

“It’s been 17 years since the last championship, and 17 is the number on PJ Shaughnessy’s jersey that hangs in MacMorran Fieldhouse,” McQuade said. “I think that means something.”
Author: Sarah O'Neill; Photo Credit: Larry Vanier