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1. What's on the schedule. If you like hard-hitting, fast-paced action and frenzied crowds, you'll want to head to Superskills Hockey Rink in Tewksbury as the Wildcats and Redmen hold their annual rivalry game. Puck drops at 8 p.m., but you'll want to get there early to assure yourself a seat in what should be a packed house.
2. What they're saying. "I expect we’ll have our usual war with them, and we expect to have our hands full," said Wilmington head coach Steve Scanlon. "I’m sure they’ll remember last year. They were embarrassed, and it really kick started them on an impressive playoff run."
3. What happened last time. When the teams met last year, Wilmington left no doubt who came to play at Ristuccia Arena. The Wildcats pummeled the Redmen, 6-0, and punished them physically as well. It was Tewksbury who had the last laugh, however, as they went on to win a state championship while Wilmington fell to Saugus, 5-1, in the North Division 2 semifinal just one game away from a rematch with their bitter rival.
4. What's at stake. In the standings - not much. While the game could impact where each team falls in the bracket, that's about all that's on the line besides bragging rights and playoff fine tuning. Still, both teams know what a win (or a loss in Tewksbury's case last year) can do to your confidence as the postseason is just about one week away.
5. What the numbers say. Entering play on Wednesday, Wilmington sits at 10-4-5 overall, finishing just shy of a Middlesex League championship. The Wildcats skated well against teams that can make some noise in the Division 1 bracket, or even at the Super 8 level. Tewksbury, meanwhile, skated to a 9-3-3 mark overall, 5-3-3 in Merrimack Valley/Dual County play. The Redmen also faced some top notch foes, so both are battle tested.
6. (A bonus fact!) Where you can read about the game. Wilmington Patch Local Editor Matt Schooley will be in attendance at the big game, and you can check back on Thursday for complete coverage of one of the best rivalries around, including a game recap, photos and video. Can't make the game? Become a fan of the Wilmington Patch Facebook and Twitter pages, as we'll do our best to bring you up to the minute updates.