WEST SPRINGFIELD – The Westfield and Longmeadow high school boys’ ice hockey teams skated out to the sounds of “Welcome to the Jungle.”
It was No. 2 Westfield though that rocked the Whip City faithful and rolled, or rather skated past top-seeded Longmeadow 5-3 in the West D3 finals Thursday night at the Olympia. The Bombers (17-5) received goals from four different players to secure their fourth title in five years and 10th since 2002.
For the fifth time in 15 years, the Westfield Bombers are repeat champions.
“The third time winning it, it just doesn’t get better,” said Westfield senior captain Sean Moorhouse, who set up his younger brother in the second period of the game.
Longmeadow (17-4-1) slapped away the first two Westfield shots. The third was a charmer.
Westfield’s Scotty Bussell slapped the puck in on a rebound off a Max Maggipinto shot five minutes, 41 seconds into the game. Liam Whitman assisted.
Less than a minute later, Whitman made it a 2-0 advantage. Maggipinto and Matt Pelletier set up the goal.
Anyone expecting Longmeadow to pack up and call it a game would be sorely mistaken, and obviously ignorant to the history between the two teams. It was the 12th meeting in the finals between the Lancers and Westfield Bombers in the last 16 years. Together, the two teams have now produced 15 of the last 16 champions with the Bombers taking 10.
So a quick fade into the night was not likely.
Longmeadow bounced back Thursday night with 2:23 remaining in the opening period. Lancers’ Nick Taylor stuffed a cross-feed from Joe Letendre into the corner of the net. Michael Bechard assisted.
A Moorhouse to Moorhouse connection – Ryan scored on a pass from older brother Sean – resulted in a 3-1 Westfield lead. The goal came just 1:38 into the second period.
Longmeadow answered with a goal of its own less than three minutes later on Taylor’s second scoring effort to make it a 3-2 game. Andrew Pierre-Pierre and Robert Joyal set up the play.
Westfield regained a two-goal lead late in the period when Josh Adams scooped up a dropped save and hammered it home with 2:14 left in the period. Evan Glenzel took the initial shot. Loyuk thought he had cradled the puck into his chest but it popped out in front of the goal. Adams converted the easy opportunity.
Adams also scored an empty net goal in the closing minutes on a pass from Sean Moorhouse.
“I told (our players) ‘it’s not me, it’s you guys,’” Westfield coach C.B. “Moose” Matthews said. “We built a good program in Westfield. Even all the Junior Bombers – they can’t wait to get up and play with us.”
Westfield junior goalie Cameron Parent finished with 32 saves.
These veteran Bombers will next play in the Division 3 state tournament Wed., March 15 against the Central Mass champ at the MassMutual Center in Springfield at 5:45 p.m.