Lancers slip past Bombers in final tune-up

Westfield’s Matt Bacon takes a shot from the point against Longmeadow Friday afternoon at Amelia Park Ice Arena. (Photo by Bill Deren)

WESTFIELD – The playoffs start now…
The Westfield High School boys ice hockey team received its final tune-up for the Western Massachusetts Division 3 tournament by closing out the regular season against none-other-than rival Longmeadow Friday afternoon at Amelia Park Ice Arena. The Lancers won 1-0.
Jack Barron scored the game’s only goal, tapping in the puck from a few feet away with 9:26 remaining in the second period. Rob Giampetro set up Barron from behind the net.
“This was a good indication of what it’s going to be like (in the postseason),” said Westfield High School boys ice hockey head coach C.B. “Moose” Matthews, whose team is no stranger to facing Longmeadow for all the marbles when all is said and done. “Our guys have been playing with a lot more heart lately, more physical.”
This past season has featured quite a bit more ups and downs for Westfield than in recent memory, but the playoffs often bring out the best in the Whip City’s young skaters. Even the years Longmeadow dominated play in the regular season, the Bombers often managed to turn things around in the tournament.
“Everybody plays differently (in the playoffs),” coach Matthews said. “As coaches, we need to get them ready for playoff hockey.”
The goaltenders appear to be in tournament shape with Westfield’s net minder Chris Czarnecki and Longmeadow goalie Max Loyuk both nearly perfect Friday, making 25 saves apiece.
Despite losing to Longmeadow 4-1 earlier this season, Westfield showed it could play with the Lancers this time around. The Bombers held their opponent scoreless for the first period, killing off a power play. They killed off another power play in the second period.
Westfield had one of its biggest opportunities with a power play chance early in the third period but Longmeadow’s defense clamped down. Bombers’ Ryan Moorhouse and Gavin Carzello slapped the puck at Loyuk’s pads, and a shot from Connor Fitzgerald skipped off the Lancers’ goalie harmlessly away.
Both teams will likely meet in the finals, but first, the tournament field will be announced Saturday.

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