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WMass Top 10 Poll: Perennial Power Westfield At It Again

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Western Mass. Top 10 Poll

4East Longmeadow1084
6South Hadley6114

Strong in goal. Deep on defense. Four solid lines. That’s what has made Westfield the top Division 3 team in Western Massachusetts for most of the past decade.

Things should not be different this season. Even though the Bombers were hit hard by graduation, especially in goal and on defense, few if any, teams in the region can match their depth.

Longmeadow was the last team to beat Westfield in a sectional final. That happened in 2012.

No. 2 Agawam managed to give Westfield fits during the sectional final, but the Bombers prevailed. The Brownies lost 11 seniors from that team, but may have the best chance of unseating Westfield.

With a strong junior class No. 3 Longmeadow should improve. The big question is how good will the Lancers’ goaltending be?

No. 4 East Longmeadow was hit hard by graduation the past two seasons. But the Spartans will be competitive enough to be in the hunt.

For the first time since 1968, No. 5 Chicopee reached the Western Mass. final. But the Pacers saw their title hopes dashed by Wahconah. The Pacers will be an experienced team and could reach the final again.

Coach John Houle will have big holes to fill as No. 6 South Hadley will look to rebound from a six-win season.

Wahconah will still lack depth, but that hasn’t hurt the No. 7 Warriors the past few seasons.

No. 8 Minnechaug has been building for several season and could reap the rewards this season.

Coach Paul Rivest lost some key players to graduation, but No. 9 Ludlow has some solid players returning.

No. 10 Belchertown hopes to build off last season’s success.

Gil Doe, who has coached West Springfield since 1986, will not be back. Brian Tremble will take over the Terriers.

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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