METHUEN — It’s simply impossible to question Ryan Tierney’s dedication.
For more than two years of his high school career, Tierney awoke every morning at 5:15 a.m., and by 6 a.m. was out the door and on the road with one of his parents or grandparents, who drove him from his Methuen home to LaCascia’s Bakery in Burlington.
From there, Tierney would catch a bus that would take him to Arlington Catholic High School.
But for Tierney — who still rises at 5:15 but can now drive the hour-long trip himself — it is well worth it.
“It took some adjusting,” he said with a laugh. “And it can still be tough. It’s unique, but the more I did it the easier it got. I don’t dread waking up and going to school. I love Arlington Catholic.”
Tierney’s dedication and ability to stave off sleep deprivation, have paid off not just for the Arlington Catholic junior, but for the entire hockey team.
The 6-foot-1, 180-pound winger has scored seven goals, one off the team high, and his 20 points (7-13—20) are two off the team-best to lead Arlington Catholic to a 10-3-1 record. AC is No. 5 in Eastern Mass. and No. 6 in the state-wide Super 8 rankings, as the Cougars eye their first trip to the elite tourney since the 2005-06 season.
“Ryan is a big, strong left wing who we depend on a great deal,” said Arlington Catholic coach Dan Shine. “He is a guy that we consider a go-to guy. He plays on power plays, he kills penalties and he has really progressed into a very good player.”
But there was a time, quite a few years ago, when Tierney had no interest in being on the ice.
“I started learning to skate when I was about 5-years-old and I hated it,” he said. “From what my parents told me I would just hang on the boards and was really intimidated. It was really tough for my parents to convince me to get out there. But now I am grateful they did. I started to like it, and once I started playing hockey I just fell in love.”