MIAA Western Mass. Division 3A Tournament Preview: New Champ Will Be Crowned; Greenfield Is Top Seed

Chris Kyne
Chris Kyne
Chris Kyne is a hockey devotee who has spent most of his life playing, coaching, and writing about hockey. The 2019-2020 season is Chris' first year covering Central and Western Mass. hockey for Hockey Night in Boston. Chris has spent the past five years covering hockey and other sports for the Worcester Telegram. He is currently in his 14th season as an assistant coach with the Fitchburg State University Men's Ice Hockey team. Chris also is a Learn to Skate instructor for the Peak Performance program in Fitchburg. Chris grew up in Waterford, CT where he played youth hockey, before playing Jr. A hockey for the Connecticut Jr. Whalers. Chris graduated from the University of Connecticut where earned a Communications degree, while also covering sports for the Daily Campus. Chris currently works at Leominster High School, where he has spent the past 12 years as a history teacher. Chris lives in Sterling, MA with his wife Gabrielle, and his two daughters, Quinn (7) and Delaney (4), who both play hockey.

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The Western Mass. Division 3A tournament will feature six total teams with top-seeded Greenfield and second-seeded Amherst receiving opening round byes.  There will be a new Western Mass. 3A champion this year as 2019 winner Easthampton did not qualify for this year’s tournament.

In one of two quarterfinal matchups, No. 4 Chicopee (9-7-4) will face No. 5 South Hadley (11-7-2) on Tuesday at 8 p.m. at the Olympia Ice Center.  The Pacers and Tigers met twice during the regular season, with South Hadley earning a 7-1 win back on February 1st, before the two teams skated to a 5-5 tie late in the regular season.  The Tigers are led by goaltender Anthony Cigal and up front by Ryan Tucker (14-7-21).  The Pacers are led by sophomore sniper Trevor Poirier, who scored 21 goals in the regular season.  The Chicopee/South Hadley winner will move on to the semifinals where top-seeded Greenfield awaits.

The Green Wave (17-3) put a ten-game winning streak together before dropping their season finale to Division 2 Whitman-Hanson.  Bryan Baumann (21-22-43) and Sean O’Sullivan (14-14-28) lead the way for the top offensive team in Western Mass.

In the other quarterfinal contest, No. 3 Wahconah (14-3-2) will play No. 6 Belchertown (7-8-3) on Tuesday at 6 p.m. at the Olympia Ice Center.  The Warriors and Orioles played once during the regular season, a 1-1 tie back just before Christmas.  Andrew Fijal (8-6-14) is a player to watch for Belchertown while senior netminder Ethan Rajpold held opponents to under two goals per game.  Owen Kroboth is the offensive catalyst for the Warriors.  The Wachconah/Belchertown winner will face Amherst-Pelham in the semifinal round.

Chris Foster
Kouji Ishida
Ethan Rajpold

The Hurricanes (13-4-3), winners of the Fay Division, earned the No. 2 seed.  Goaltender John Hanscom has been tough to beat all season long, while Chris Foster (18-19-37) and Kouji Ishida (16-21-37) provide much of the offense for the Hurricanes.

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