Mass. Boys HS Hockey – Western Mass. Preview: Keep An Eye On Minnechaug; Fay Race Wide Open

Gary Demopoulos
Gary Demopouloshttp://www.hnibnews.com
Gary Demopoulos has been covering prep school hockey for the HNIB News for over 30 years, and has been the editor of the HNIB News since 2005. A former sportswriter and news editor at the Woburn (MA) Daily Times Chronicle, he has been the HNIB News' key reporter for Mens Prep School hockey since 1988, as well as womens hockey, both at the prep school and high school levels. for almost 20 years. Gary also helps organize and oversee HNIB's many summer tournaments and festivals for scholastic players.

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Western Mass. teams will again be broken up into three divisions: Berry, Fay and Wright. There are plans for a Western Mass. tournament prior to the new state-wide post-season. Here is a look at the majority of teams:

BERRY DIVISION

LONGMEADOW (10-1-0)

Coach: Jim Joyce

MIAA Division: 2

Sean Baker Longmeadow

The Lancers have been a pillar of success in the Berry Division and should be in the mix again this year despite not having as much depth as past years.

Forwards driving coach Joyce’s offense will be senior captain Sean Baker, senior Adam Low, junior Jojo Mikaelian and junior Gabe Higgins.

Senior captain Robby Croteau and fellow senior Nick Medeiros will be strengths on the blue line.

Three will compete for the varsity goaltender’s job, including returning senior Connor Rintoul.

WESTFIELD (3-3-3)

Coach: Dave Pelletier

MIAA Division: 2

A young team with great energy was how coach Pelletier described his squad heading into the new campaign.

Offensive production will be needed from returning seniors Kevin Hosmer and Matt Kotfilia, and junior Jax Grady.

Three blueliners also return for the Bombers in juniors Brandon Shuman and Drew Glentzel, and sophomore Michael Pelletier. New freshman Evan Mastoianni is ready for the starting job in goal.

Other newcomers looking to have impacts are Sawyer King, Francis Powers and Darren Schnopp.

MINNECHAUG REGIONAL (6-3-2)

Coach: Kyle Bousquet

MIAA Division: 2

Keep an eye on the Falcons, who will have a strong core returning with strong leadership.

David Noel Minnechaug

A big nucleus returns up front in seniors David Grout, Gavin Weischselbaumer, Steve Pollard and Joe Haluch, and juniors David Noel, Tyler Genovese, Drew VanZandt and Gabe Tassinari. Supplementing that group are senior Zach Riddle, junior Matt Kumpulanian, sophomore Christian Erskine and freshman Brayden O’Sullivan.

Three juniors – A.J. Vreeland, Mike Moriarty and Derek Semanie – form the defensive braintrust for coach Bousquet. Five new underclassmen will battle for playing time.

Both junior John Pollard and senior Collin Gallant return in the cage.

EAST LONGMEADOW (2-8-1)

Coach: Dan Reid

MIAA Division: 3

The Spartans will be young and to have success will need to step up team defense in front of the team’s two new goaltenders.

A key defenseman for the club will be senior Travis Arnold.

Three juniors – Braedin Dobek, Tedy Kuhn and Aidan Asher – will be looked on to provide necessary scoring.

** West Springfield will also compete in the Berry Division this winter.

FAY DIVISION

Brandon Prior Agawam

AGAWAM (1-8-0)

Coach: Todd Rowley

MIAA Division: 2

A young team with a lot of potential is how coach Rowley defined his Brownies squad heading into the season.

Up front, senior captain Nate Manser, junior Nick Shea and sophomore Peyton Buffum will be counted on for offensive production.

Senior Owen Connery will provide solid defense on the blue line.

In goal, senior Brandon Prior is back and ready for a big season.

CHICOPEE COMP (7-4-0)

Coach: Brett DiClementi

MIAA Division: 4

With a senior-laden club, this will be an important season for Comp, which expects to have a strong squad.

Scoring will need to come from captains Dylan Seymour and David Girouard, along with Danny Stefanik, Cal Bullins and Carson Langlois.

Captain Nick Farrell and Mason Whitehead will be steady performers on defense. Senior Victor Canavan projects as Comp’s starter in goal, and will be pushed by younger brother Zac Canavan.

Freshmen Elijah Saravia and Matthew Tisdell look to contribute.

AMHERST/PELHAM (1-8-1)

Coach: Mike Rousseau

MIAA Division: 3

The Hurricanes hope to improve on last season’s record, and strong defensive play could help lead the way.

In the forward ranks, guys like seniors Joe Freniere and George Aliminos, and sophomores Yuki Ishida, Cooper Beckwith and Walker Goeckel will be heavily involved. Freshman Eric Chen hopes to crack the lineup.

The defense unit will see seniors Carter Beckwith and Nick Paul, and sophomores Liam Flynn and Skylar Ferro playing key minutes.

Sophomore netminder Charlie May is hoping for a solid season.

WAHCONAH REGIONAL

Coach: Matt Risley

MIAA Division: 4

This program was unable to play games last winter, so be sure there is plenty of excitement for the upcoming season.

Juniors Devin Lampron and Geoff Pensivy will be sparkplugs on offense for coach Risley. Sophomore Rylan Padelford and Roshan Warriar should contribute as well.

Defensive keys for Wahconah are senior Joe Massaro and junior Jackson Molleur, while junior Antonio Sclaise projects to be the starter in goal.

LUDLOW (5-5-0)

Coach: Paul Rivest

MIAA Division: 3

With some good speed up front and depth on the blue line, the Lions should be a factor in the Fay Division.

A bunch of production returns up front for coach Rivest, starting his 22nd year at Ludlow. Senior Brandon Gomes (13 pts), juniors Sam Cocchi (18 pts), Ben Corbin (18 pts) and Josh Grandfield, and sophomore Ryan Kurtz (11 pts) give Ludlow many options up front. Add to the mix new sophomore Alex Gomes.

On the blue line, senior Aaron Picard and junior Nolan Wikar will be cornerstones. Senior Tyler Charest is a veteran netminder.

CHICOPEE (3-7-1)

Coach: Al Styckiewicz

MIAA Division: 4

The Pacers look to be a challenger in the Fay Division under long-time head coach Styckiewicz, entering his 36th year overall behind the bench.

Key players for Chicopee project to be senior forwards Trevor Poirier, junior defenseman Anthony Bartolo, and senior goaltender Dylan Rooney.

SOUTH HADLEY (3-3-1)

Coach: Kevin Stefanik

MIAA Division: 4

New head coach Stefanik is looking for his upperclassmen to help push the play in the offensive zone.

That task will fall on returning seniors Gabe Arabik, Joe Cigal, Ben Gardiner, and Joe Meon, juniors Joshua Chateauneuf, Austin Deren, Nick Hartley and Nate Loughman, and sophomore Caleb Lundgren.

Three more seniors – Dylan Laramee, Kadyn Laramee and Aidan Sullivan – will patrol the blue line with junior Mike Arabik and sophomore Michael Beaulieu. Sophomore Devin Carleton returns in goal.

Newcomers looking to fit in are sophomore Connor McDonnel and freshmen Tyler Denison and Chris Walczak.

** Southwick is expected to compete in the Fay Division this year. No information was available as of post time.

WRIGHT DIVISION

BELCHERTOWN

Coach: Derek Chandonnet

MIAA Division: 4

After having last year’s season cancelled, the players feel like they have a lot to prove, says new head coach Chandonnet.

Andrew Fijal will be an offensive catalyst, as will Aiden Torna (a key member of Belchetown’s state champion soccer team). Brady Moreau and Francis Henderson are two other important cogs in the offense. Freshman Charlie Fijal is expected to have an immediate impact.

The Orioles defense will be powerd by the duo of Glenn Scott and Luke Wojnas. Senior Terrell Ladue will answer the call between the pipes.

GREENFIELD (10-0-1)

Coach: Adam Bouchard

MIAA Division: 4

The Green Wave will go for their fifth straight Wright Division title when they hit the ice.

A young but talented forward group features junior Shane Prusak (19 pts), sophomore Devin Niles (20 pts), junior Sammy Knight (15 pts), juniors Matt Lavoine and Trevor Kuckieski and sophomore Brodie Gagne.

Seniors Kevin Baumann and M.J. Paulin, and sophomores Hunter Smith and Jayson Smith will patrol the blue line in front of junior netminder Joshua Bordeaux (1.73 gaa).

Newcomers hoping to chip in are senior R.J. Grondin, junior Eathon Bryan, sophomore Gabe Voudren and freshmen Matt Garvin and Jake Jurek.

EASTHAMPTON

Coach: Tim Pfau

MIAA Division: 3

Paige Galpin Easthampton

After sitting out last winter due to the pandemic, the Eagles are ready to go. New head coach Pfau feels his team will need to play strong team defense.

The forward lines will be led by seniors Tyler Darling and Tyler Galpin, and junior Ethan Marowitz.

Senior Jonny Callahan is a key blueliner, with senior Owen Hunter ready for any role needed.

The goaltending chores will fall on new sophomore Paige Galpin.

DRURY

Coach: Derek Durocher

MIAA Division: 4

Maintaining strong defensive play along with getting offensive contributions from everyone will dictate how the season goes for the Blue Devils.

Abby Fuls
Drury HS

Senior Brandon Lincoln, and juniors David Delisle and Nick Abuisi will head up the forward lines for coach Durocher, now in his fourth season at Drury.

A pair of seniors – Tyler Pettit and Cam Taylor – are back to power the rearguard group, supplemented by senior Zachary Lillie and Austin Buda.

Sophomore Abby Fuls is back in goal.

MT. EVERETT

Coach: Jake King

MIAA Division: 4

The Eagles are under new management this winter with coach King taking over the reins. He was utilizing the pre-season to get a read on his personnel.

“We are working on the team buying in as ONE,” he said. “I am really excited about what this year will bring. The team is finding ways to do the little things.”

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