WMass Top 10: No. 6 Chicopee topples rival No. 7 Comp

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

RankTeam[tooltip text="PR*" gravity="ne"]Previous Ranking[/tooltip]WLT
1Minnechaug11320
2Longmeadow21240
3E. Longmeadow31141
4Westfield4691
5Amherst51113
6Chicopee71040
7Chicopee Comp61042
8Wahconah8931
9West Springfield96101
10Belchertown10742

The importance of special teams was never more evident than it was during No. 6 Chicopee’s 5-2 win against crosstown rival No. 7 Chicopee Comp.

The Colts failed to capitalize on a two-man advantage late in the game and the Pacers held on for the victory against the reigning sectional Division 3A champs.

CHICOPEE COMP defenseman Cam Kagan chases puck as Chicopee's Dan Johnson pursues during Chicopee's 5-2 win. (Fran Sypek photo)
CHICOPEE COMP defenseman Cam Kagan chases puck as Chicopee’s Dan Johnson pursues during Chicopee’s 5-2 win. (Fran Sypek photo)

Ben Jablonski, John Baker and freshman Mike Palermo keyed the penalty kill against the area’s highest-scoring offense.

No one gave the Pacers much of a chance after graduation took many of their top players away. One of the Pacers’ young players, sophomore Ryan McDonough scored two goals, including one late in the second period to give his team a 2-1 lead.

Dominic Gallant and Dan Doyle were outstanding on defense for the Pacers. The win ended a three-game losing streak for Chicopee and assured the Pacers of a Division 3A tournament berth.

Cam Mariani scored four goals for his first career hat trick in No. 1 Minnechaug’s 10-4 triumph over Marlborough. Noah Hemenway had two goals and an assist. Matt Kowal, Tyler DeCarolis, Liam Walsh and Josh DeCarrolis each had one goal and an assist. Eric Symnczyk had 14 saves and John Hardin had six saves in his first varsity appearance.

No. 2 Longmeadow earned its second straight win over a Central Mass. opponent with a 2-1 decision over Groton-Dunstable. No. 3 East Longmeadow got a goal and an assist from Nick Corbin in its independent, 4-1 win over Abington. The Spartans secured a tournament berth earlier in the week with an 8-3 win over No. 9 West Springfield.

No. 4 Westfield is doing it with defense and goaltending. Cam Parent’s 26 saves sparked a 2-0 win over Wachusett.

The race for the final playoff spot in Division 3 got a lot closer after Ludlow stunned Agawam, 5-3. The win enabled the Lions to pull to within one point of the fourth place Brownies.

No. 5 Amherst had a big offensive output in its 11-1 triumph over Turners Falls.

No. 8 Wahconah boosted its playoff hopes after it beat West Springfield and now the Warriors are within one point of clinching a tournament spot. No. 10 Belchertown remains in the hunt after a 3-2 win over South Hadley.

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