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Indians open hockey campaign today

Turners Falls High School hopes to keep the momentum gained at the end of last season going as it kicks off the 2012-13 hockey season today at 4:40 p.m. at Smead Arena in Springfield against Wright Division rival Central High School.

The Indians got off to an awful start last season, going 2-9-0 in their first 11 games and were toiling near the bottom of the Wright Division. Something clicked for the team in the second half of the season, however, and the Indians went unbeaten in their final nine regular season games to finish third in the Wright and qualify for the postseason. Turners took on third-seeded Agawam in the Division IIIA quarterfinals and played a close game but eventually dropped a 2-0 decision.

The team lost just three seniors from last season and every player on this season’s roster is a returning player except sophomore forward Tim Atkins, who played for a club team last season but has joined the high school club this winter. After getting a taste of the tournament last season, Indian coach Kevin Brennan said the club is hungry to get back there this season.

“I think that is definitely a goal,” he said. “Even though we lost, the guys felt good about the game. We could have won. It wasn’t just a moral victory to be there, it was a winnable game and I think the guys have high expectations this season after what we were able to accomplish.”

The Indians have four seniors this season, including goalie Will Miller, who got his first taste of Turners Falls hockey when he served as a team manager while he was in fifth grade. He joined the team in junior high and has been playing goalie ever since. This season he is serving as one of three captains and it’s something he has taken seriously according to his coach.

“He’s taken the captaincy very seriously, filling out paperwork and making sure the young guys know that this is not Peewee hockey any more,” Brennan explained. “His effort, as always, has been great in practice and he really came on at the end of last season as a guy we could count on in the net.”

Turners Falls also welcomes back a number of talented scorers from a year ago and this season Brennan said he will run anywhere from nine to 10 players at the forward position, which would give him three lines. He admitted that the team doesn’t have any set lines, instead opting to mix-and-match players. Senior Tim McMahon is joined by juniors Cody Booska, Nick Murphy and Trevor Peduzzi as top returnees up front. Sophomores Jordan Cutting and Zach Demars were both contributors up front, while freshman Cullen Wozniak and eighth-grader Ryan Waldron each saw time last season.

Seniors Brandon Lenois and Christian Sawicki head the defensive corps, which is also deeper this season according to Brennan. After running with essentially three players at defense last season, he has nearly double those numbers this year. Junior Dan Moro will be joined by freshmen Ryan Lenois, Alex Smiarowski and Dan Chabott in the back.

“We have a sense of what it takes to win games and to get into the playoffs,” Brennan said.

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