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New era of Green Wave hockey begins

  • Senior Camden Barnes joins classmate Evan Simmons as the first two captains of the new Greenfield cooperative hockey team. Barnes, seen playing for now-defunct Turners Falls last season, will be a top defenseman for the Wave. Recorder Staff/Paul Franz

  • Junior Doug Hanieski, seen playing for Turners Falls last season, will center the top line for Greenfield this season after the two teams merged in the offseason. Recorder Staff/Paul Franz

  • Senior Evan Simmons joins former Turners Falls player Cam Barnes (not pictured) as the first two captains of the new cooperative hockey team at Greenfield after the squads merged in the offseason. The Green Wave opens the year tonight at 5:30 at Collins-Moylan Arena in Greenfield against Mt. Everett. Recorder FILE PHOTO

  • Sean O’Sullivan will be a second-line winger for Greenfield this season. The Green Wave opens the 2017-18 Wright Division campaign this evening at 5:30 at Collins-Moylan Arena in Greenfield against Mt. Everett. Recorder File Photo

  • Doug Hanieski (10) has a dangerous shot that he takes over to Greenfield this season after his former team at Turners Falls merged with the Green Wave in offseason. Recorder Staff/Matt Burkhartt



Recorder Staff
Friday, December 08, 2017

The new era of Greenfield High School hockey officially gets underway tonight.

The new-look Green Wave team, which is now a cooperative of eight local schools, opens the 2017-18 season tonight at 5:30 at Collins-Moylan Arena in Greenfield when the Wave faces Mt. Everett Regional High School.

This season marks the first that Greenfield will play with players absorbed from the former Turners Falls High School cooperative, which included Turners Falls, Franklin County Technical School, Frontier Regional School, Pioneer Valley Regional School and Mohawk Trail Regional High School. Mohawk is no longer part of the cooperative due to lack of interest at the school, but the other four schools join Greenfield, which already had a cooperative in place with Mahar Regional School and Smith Academy. The cooperative not only helps the Green Wave put together a more complete varsity team, but also allows the Green Wave to field a junior varsity team, which it has not had in recent memory.

“We have a program now,” sixth-year Greenfield coach Adam Bouchard said. “It’s been wonderful. The way you are going to prepare for a game is to compete with each other at practice. To have three solid lines and three solid defensive lines is wonderful. Players can challenge each other for time. In the past, we had younger athletes who would have to come in and step in right away when they might not have been ready. It’s a good thing to know in the future that when we graduate X amount of players, we have a junior varsity team to help fill the roles.”

Both Greenfield and Turners Falls had been competitive in recent seasons but neither team has made the playoffs in recent seasons. The last time Greenfield went to the tournament was back in 2013-14 when it went 17-1-2 in the regular season. Since that time Greenfield has gone 13-41-6 in the regular season. Turners playoff drought was one year longer, as it last made the postseason in 2012-13 when it went 10-8-2 in the regular season. In the four years since Turners has gone 13-58-6, including back-to-back one-win seasons.

“Not a single player on this team has played a playoff game,” Bouchard said. “We have zero playoff experience. One of our team goals is to make the playoffs.”

The hockey landscape also underwent a bit of a makeover this season as the Fay-Wright Division has once again been split into a Fay Division and a Wright Division due to the inclusion of the three former Berkshire League teams. Greenfield will play in the Wright Division along with Drury High School, Mt. Everett, St. Mary’s Parish School, Easthampton High School and Belchertown High School. The Fay Division now includes former Berry Division team Ludlow High School as well as Fay-Wright holdovers Amherst Regional High School, Chicopee High School, Chicopee Comprehensive High School, South Hadley High School and Wahconah Regional High School.

The Green Wave should immediately compete in the new-look Wright Division thanks not only to the merger, but also to the player’s willingness to make the transition a smooth one, something Bouchard said he was most concerned about after the merger was announced.

“Once I was told that the co-op was going to happen, I called a coaches’ meeting,” Bouchard said. “We thought the hardest thing was going to be bringing everybody together. We really thought that was going to be an extreme challenge. But as soon as everybody stepped on the ice, you wouldn’t have known that this was a group of kids who hadn’t been playing together forever. The kids know they have a job to do and they know what they need to do to make the playoffs.”

Last year’s Greenfield team lost two huge pieces in its talented Tylers — Tyler Miner and Tyler Townsley — who made up the top line along with Evan Simmons. That line played many of the biggest minutes for hte team and was responsible for a large part of the offense as Miner finished with 19 goals and 19 assists, while Townsley had 13 goals and 14 assists. 

While there is no player who will step in and make up that kind of production, the difference this season is the for the first time in at least a decade, Greenfield has some depth among its lines, both up front and on defense.

“We have a pretty deep lineup and we can put out any of those three lines at any time,” Bouchard said. “In the past, both programs had one good line and then had to find ways to get the other lines in place.

“We also have seven defenders who we fell give us a very deep and strong defense,” he continued. “I think our team defense is stronger than our team offense and I think they are going to make some really good things happen.”

The first line to start the season will feature junior Doug Hanieski centering senior wingers Simmons and Ethan LaFleur. Simmons was the top point-producer in the area last season as he finished with 20 goals and 20 assists and his speed is a major asset to the offense. Hanieski led Turners Falls in scoring last season with eight goals and 16 assists for 24 points, and LaFleur was third on Turners in scoring with five goals and eight assists.

The second line will feature sophomore Bryan Baumann at center after he erupted for Turners last year, leading the team with 12 goals and also registering 11 assists to finish second on the club in scoring. He will play in the middle of junior Cassidhe Wozniak and sophomore Sean O’Sullivan. Wozniak is the field hockey star from Turners Falls who has also been impressive on the ice and finished with two goals and three assists last season. O’Sullivan is coming off a sturdy freshman season for Greenfield in which he battled injuries but managed to finish with four goals and four assists. Both should see those numbers improve with another year under their belts.

The third line will be centered by junior Aurel Pydych who had six helpers on Turners Falls last season. He will line up with classmate Chris Urgiel on one wing and senior Mason Whiteman on the other. Whiteman is a proven scorer who finished last winter with six goals and four assists for Turners Falls, while Urgiel came on strong late in the season last fall and scored all five of his points on the season (three goals, two assists) in the second half of the campaign for Turners.

The defense has three solid pairings. Sophomore Booie Harris had a huge freshman year for the Wave last season and wound up with five goals and nine assists, numbers that could only increase with a year under his belt. He will play alongside the only freshman to make the team, Jacob Bryant. Seniors Alec Jordan and Bryce Jordan will be another pairing. Bryce Jordan finished with seven goals and five assists last season for Turners Falls. Another pairing will feature senior Cam Barnes and sophomore Mike McGoldrick, who both played with Turners last year. Barnes finished with three goals and four assists last season, while McGoldrick added two goals and one assist as a freshman. The seventh defenseman on the team is sophomore Cameron Rice, who will be battling for time and should see plenty.

Barnes and Simmons were named captains of the team.

Greenfield also has several goalies battling for time but the starter will be sophomore Riley Drew who is the reigning Rookie of the Year in the Fay-Wright League. Drew established himself as the No. 1 goalie last season after splitting time at the start and he wound up with 413 saves on the season.

“Riley was one of those lucky ones who got to practice with us as an eighth-grader,” Bouchard said. “He got about a four-minute stint that year and saw about five shots in that time. I remember it because he was so short in net and we didn’t know how it was going to go. He pitched a shutout in those four minutes and came back as a ninth-grader willing to fight for the starting position. He took it over and really just ran with it. He had a .916 save percentage on a team that finished under .500. He was a huge part of our success last year and he’s bigger, stronger and faster and we are really excited to see what he can do.”

Local hockey fans will finally get a look at the cooperative team many have been clamoring for over the past few years and the outlook for this year and the future remains bright. 

“No matter where you come from, once you put that sweater on, you are part of the family,” Bouchard concluded.