Warriors wear Graves crown
TFHS 4 Cody Booska
TFHS 4 Cody Booska and goalie 35 Will Miller
TFHS 12 Jordan Cutting
TFHS Cocy Booska
GREENFIELD — Wahconah Regional High School scored four unanswered goals to snap a 3-3 second-period tie and beat Turners Falls High School, 7-3, in the championship game of the Rabbit Graves Memorial Hockey Tournament Monday afternoon at Collins-Moylan Arena.
Wahconah (5-2 overall) potted a pair of goals late in the second period after Turners Falls (4-3-1) had tied the game earlier in the period. The Warriors continued to increase the pressure in the third, and while the Indians had chances to get back into the game, the Warrior defense and goalie Roger Stedman denied the Indians any more goals.
Wahconah went on top for good with 3 minutes, 9 seconds left in the second period. That’s when Patrick Jamross had the puck on the boards to the right of the Indian net. He fed the puck down low to Austin Poulton and then broke for the net. Poulton one-timed a return pass to Jamross and he shot it past Turners goalie Will Miller (25 saves) for a 4-3 lead. It took the Warriors only 34 seconds to increase the advantage. Wahconah forward Lane Grogan carried the puck behind the Indian net and found teammate David Senecal parked to the left of the cage. Senecal one-time the puck past Miller and sent the Warriors into the intermission with a 5-3 lead.
The Indians came out in the third period looking to get back into the game but Wahconah put an end to any such thoughts with a goal 2:52 into the period. This time Ryan Ouimet appeared to be carrying the puck behind the Indian net but at the last second slid a backhanded pass into the slot, where Nick Montferrot one-timed it past Miller, who was diving across the mouth of the net.
Turners had a chance to get back into the game with 9:40 left when Tim Atkins blocked a shot by a Warriors defender at the Turners Falls blue line and raced off on a breakaway toward the Wahconah net. Atkins was hauled down from behind and awarded a penalty shot, but his backhanded attempt to beat Wahconah goalie Roger Stedman to the blocker side was denied. Three minutes later, the Indians went on the power play and eventually had 16 seconds of a two-man advantage. But, again, Stedman stood tall and the Wahconah defense played tough to stymie any chances by Turners. Wahconah added a late goal with eight seconds remaining and won the trophy.
Although there were 10 goals scored, the first period was relatively quiet, with each team scoring a goal in a 10-second span. Wahconah struck first 4:03 into the game when Grogan beat Miller, but the Indians won the ensuing face off and Atkins wound up scoring the equalizer from Nick Murphy and Brandon Lenois.
The teams then traded short-lived secnd-period leads. The Indians took their only lead of the game 2:01 into the third when Ryan Lenois carried the puck to the Wahconah blue line but was stood up there by two Warrior defenders. Lenois made a deke at the line and crashed into both defenders, sending all three to the ice. Cody Booska picked up the loose puck, walked in alone on Stedman and went to his backhand for the go-ahead goal. It took Wahconah just 22 seconds to answer, with Montferrot scoring the equalizer.
Later, with the Warriors on the power play following an interference call against Brandon Lenois, Ouimet took a shot from the point that was redirected nicely out of the air in front of the Indian net by Grogan, who eat Miller for a 3-2 lead. The Indians answered 37 seconds later when Trevor Peduzzi checked Warrior defender Nate Lapine in the corner of the Wahconah zone, took the puck off the boards and wristed a shot over the glove hand of Stedman.
The game was intense throughout, with both teams picking up 11 penalties, including three sets of matching penalties following post-whistle scrums.
Turners Falls takes on Greenfield High School Saturday night at 6 p.m. at Collins-Moylan Arena in the annual Upton Cup game.