WESTFIELD – Round 1 goes to the Longmeadow Lancers.
The defending Western Massachusetts Division 3 champion Longmeadow High School boys ice hockey team picked right up where they left off left season, downing the Westfield Bombers 4-1 Wednesday night at Amelia Park Arena.
Four different players scored for the visitors, all in the first period.
Cole Guidrey delivered a pass from the right wing out in front of the net to Ryan Zeiergowski, who finished the first scoring play of the game just 3:35 into the opening period. Then 18 seconds later, Videep Vemulapalli lofted a shot into the net from the top of the crease on a power play to make it 2-0. Simon Higgins made it 3-0 with 7:51 remaining in the first period, notching a goal just as the iron on the goal broke free of the ice.
The goalie argued the scoring play to no avail.
Longmeadow peppered Westfield senior goalie C.J. Czarnecki (21 saves) with an unrelenting attack. The Lancers held a 14-0 shot advantage until the Bombers finally managed to squeeze off their first shot with 3:16 left in the first period.
Longmeadow’s ensuing attack though netted their fourth goal on a shot from Mike Carrol. The score came with 2:26 remaining on the first period clock.
“They beat us to the puck too many times,” Westfield head coach C.B. “Moose” Matthews said. “Defensive coverage in front of the net was non-existent. …We made too many mistakes in front of the net in the first period. That was the end of it.”
Westfield (1-2) finally scored 16 seconds later on a shot from Matt Bacon. Brandon Shuman and Joe Taupier assisted.
Westfield showed some signs of life in the second period, staying nearly even with Longmeadow in the shots on goal department. The Bombers also killed off a pair of Lancers’ power play chances in the middle frame, as well as another one late in the third period.
Westfield gained a power play opportunity in the closing minutes but squandered the opportunity.
“We had our chances but couldn’t capitalize,” coach Matthews said. “We couldn’t put it in.”
It was the first time the two teams met since Westfield watched Longmeadow walk off the ice with the D3 trophy at The Olympia Ice Center in West Springfield last winter. The Bombers and Lancers will meet again Jan. 10 at the MassMutual Center in Springfield.
Considering that the two teams have combined for 16 of the last 17 championships – Westfield was seeking a four-peat last season – it is likely they will also meet a third time this coming postseason.
“We will be more competitive with them down the road,” coach Matthews promised. “We have some work to do. We have to get a bit more aggressive on the puck. We have to play better defensive hockey in our zone … and good things will happen.”
Westfield returns to the ice in a post-holiday tilt against Gloucester Dec. 27-28 at the Dorothy Talbot Rink.
Rams late rally nets victory
Southwick 3, Chicopee Comp 1
Southwick (1-1) scored three goals in the final five minutes of regulation to cap off a thrilling come-from-behind victory on the road at Fitzpatrick Arena.
Thomas Whalley, Noah Jubb, and Nicholas Ensign each scored for Southwick, which fell behind 1-0 early. Rams’ Bryce Russ had two assists and Jubb had one.
Southwick goalie Andrew Morris finished with 24 saves.
“The kids played pretty well at times; they really controlled the pace of the game,” said Southwick boys ice hockey head coach Chris D’Angelo, who noted the Rams plus-11 shot differential.
Southwick outshot Chicopee Comp, 36-25.
Bombers trounce Colts
Westfield 107, Chicopee Comp 69
Senior Tommy Russell and freshman Jaden Noel won two events apiece and also helped spearhead two winning relay events for Westfield.
Russell finished first in the 200 freestyle (2:00.95) and 100 butterfly (58.18); Noel captured victories in the 200 individual medley (2:11.35) and 100 backstroke (59.84).
Noel, Dominic Navarrete, Jack Beaulieu, and Matt Morash swam to a gold-medal finish in the medley relay with a time of 1:50.39. Morash, Noel, Anton Bonacci, and Russell placed first in the 200 free relay in 1:36.64.
Beaulieu (50 free, 24.98) and Westfield’s Patrick Callahan (500 free, 5:54.58) also won individual events.
Bombers dominate meet against Comp
Westfield 137, Chicopee Comp 55
Kathryn O’Connor (200 free, 2:11.68), Emily Langlois (200 IM, 2:27.44), Ally Russell (50 free, 27.67), Jordan Bannish (diving, 202.20), Emily Mihalek (100 fly, 1:06.23), Alexa Richter (100 free, 57.65), and Emilie Pease (100 backstroke, 1:11.00) each won an event for Westfield (2-0).
Westfield also won all three relay races with Pease, Richter, Mihalek, and Langlois teaming up for first in the medley relay (2:02.44); Richter, Russell, O’Connor, and Langlois capturing first in the 200 free relay (1:51.37); and, Mihalek, O’Connor, Russell, and Chloe Schumacher winning the 400 free relay.
“Overall it was a very strong performance from both the boys and girls,” Westfield High School head swim coach Tom Lewis said. “We had some really good times for early in the season.”
Mon., Dec. 16
Cameron leads Bombers to victory in opener
Westfield 64, Northampton 48
Will Cameron exploded for 25 points to lead Westfield to a season-opening road victory Monday night. Four Bombers (Tony Torres, Niko Kapsaris, Mike Hall, Cam Theriault) scored eight points apiece.