Western Mass. Top 10: Westfield, Agawam are top tourney seeds

Fran Sypek
Fran Sypek
Fran has covered hockey at all levels, NHL, AHL, junior, college and high school for the Springfield Republican from 1978-2013. His column "Hockey Talk'' appeared in the Sunday Republican. The hockey beat took him from Maine to Arizona in the United States and from Newfoundland to Alberta in Canada. Fran was the recipient of the Matthew Ryan Award for Outstanding Coverage of High School Hockey and the Janet McCormick Award from the Springfield Olympics. He then shifted from pros to college when the University of Massachusetts restored its program and joined Hockey East. Later, he continued covering the Boston Bruins and the Springfield Falcons. Fran's covered future NHL players from Western Massachusetts in Paul Fenton, Bob Kudelski, Rick Bennett and Bill Guerin. He is a member of the Bessone Award committee, which helps select the top high school hockey player in Western Mass. Fran was a goalie for Holyoke Community College in 1973-74 and graduated from the University of Massachusetts in 1977. Fran is currently a free lance writer living in Bondsville, Mass and grew up in Chicopee, Mass, has visited all 50 states, and is an avid photographer.

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Western Mass. Top 10 Poll

RankTeamPrevious RankingWLT
1Agawam11532
2Westfield21343
3Longmeadow31154
4Minnechaug41180
5Chicopee 51352
6Chicopee Comp.61154
7Amherst81334
8East Longmeadow78120
9Belchertown91181
10Mount Everett101153

Division 3

Thanks in part to a strong schedule, Westfield again emerged as the top seed in the tournament. The Bombers are reigning champs.

Seamus Curran Agawam
Seamus Curran
Agawam

Chris Sullivan will lead Westfield. He’s recorded 12 multi-point games and the Bombers will count on him even more with Connor Sullivan out with an injury. Craig Lacey leads the defense and Garrett Matthews has proved to be a capable netminder.

Two years removed from the state Division 3A title, Agawam will attempt to win in Division 3. Cam Rivest, Joe Mercadante, Chris Breault and Seamus Curran all have at least 12 goals. Curran (21-23-44) remains a force on defense and has the ability to dominate a game. Connor McAnanama’s .916 save percentage this season is the best in the region.

Longmeadow features Michael Tabb. The Lancers got hot down the stretch and won their last three games.

Freshman Cam Mariani, who keys the first line, will lead Minnechaug. Mariani has scored eight goals in the last four games.

Tournament Seeds

1. Westfield (13-4-3)

2. Agawam (15-3-2)

3. Longmeadow (11-5-4)

4. Minnechaug (11-8-0)

Division 3A

Chicopee, which will seek its first Sectional title since 1968, is the top seed. Devan Longtin has 27 goals and has registered three hat tricks. Chicopee slipped a bit down the stretch, losing to reigning sectional champ Wachonah and tying rival Chicopee Comp.

Jeremy Lewis leads Chicopee Comp. He’s among the top skaters in Division 3A and scored 30 goals. The Colts will also count on goalie Parker Nunes (.915 save percentage).

Amherst’s calling card has been its defense and that should bode well for the Hurricanes during the postseason. Jordan Tetreault can jump into the offense when called upon and is a shutdown defenseman. Matt Gazaille has also been outstanding on the blueline. The Hurricanes also have an outstanding goalie in Ben Thompson (.914 save percentage).

Belchertown has won against every team in Division 3A except Chicopee. The Orioles finished with a 9-4-1 streak. Alex Bachand has 10 games with two or more points for Belchertown.

Freshman Jake Corcoran leads Mount Everett. He’s produced 47 points for the Eagles and already has the strength to win the puck from more experienced opponents. He finished tied for fifth in Western Mass. with 47 points this year. He can create opportunities with his play along the boards and has a hard shot that makes him a threat from anywhere. The Eagles went from one win last year to their first winning season in at least four years.

Wahconah needed to win its last game to enter the tournament and beat Chicopee, 9-5 in a rematch of last year’s final. Andrew Beaudoin scored four goals and set up another during a third period rally against the Pacers.

Tournament Seeds

1. Chicopee (12-6-2)

2. Chicopee Comp (11-5-4)

3. Amherst (13-3-4)

4. Belchertown (11-8-1)

5. Wahconah (10-9-1)

6. Mt. Everett (11-5-3)

 

 

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