Wave looks to keep rolling

  • Junior Bryan Baumann led the Green Wave in points last season and returns this winter to center the top line. FILE PHOTO/DAN LITTLE

  • Jacob Bryant transitions from playing defense last season to serving as a second-line winger this winter. FILE PHOTO/DAN LITTLE

  • Greenfield junior Sean O'Sullivan will play one of the wings on the top line for the Green Wave this season. file photo/PAUL FRANZ

Staff Writer
Published: 12/7/2018 11:16:38 PM

It’s year No. 2 of the new-look Greenfield High School hockey program and if year one was any indication, there is reason to be excited inside Collins-Moylan Arena in Greenfield.

Last year was the first winter that players from the former Turners Falls cooperative joined forces with their former rival across the river to form the new Greenfield team, which is formed of players from not only GHS, but also Turners Falls, Frontier, Pioneer, Franklin Tech, Mahar, Smith Academy and Athol. The team came together quickly and went on to register a 14-4-2 record on the season, tying Easthampton atop the Wright Division.

“We were happy with how we came together as a team last year,” said coach Adam Bouchard, who enters his seventh season with the team. “You can see it really has grown stronger. If you didn’t know, you would think these players had been a team for many years. They’ve all grown up playing together (in the FCHA program), and now they get to play in high school together, too.”

Greenfield opens the season tonight at home at 6:30 when it plays host to defending Fay Division champion Chicopee High School. Greenfield plays in the Wright Division again this season along with Belchertown, Easthampton, Drury, Mt. Everett and the brand-new program from Southwick.

Greenfield ended a postseason drought last season that spanned back to 2013-14 season as it picked up the third seed in the five-team WMass Division 3A tournament, which gave the Green Wave a free pass to the semifinals, where they took on second-seeded Easthampton. The Wave’s season came to an end with a 3-2 loss, but each of the players on the team got their first taste of the tournament.

“Not a single player was able to say they had played in a playoff hockey game prior to last year, but this year we have some experience playing in the postseason,” Bouchard said. “To have that experience, and to know what it felt like to not move on, which is a real motivating factor, particularly for the seniors who are here.”

Greenfield lost only a handful of players from a year ago, the most notable of which on offense was Evan Simmons, who was second on the Wave in scoring with 19 goals and 16 assists. Other offensive players lost to graduation included Ethan LaFleur, Bryce Jordan and Mason Whiteman, as well as Cam Barnes and Alec Jordan. Another noticeable missing person this season is Cassidhe Wozniak, who would have returned for her senior season but suffered a shoulder injury that will cost her the winter after she scored seven goals and seven assists last year. Wozniak will remain with the team and serve as the manager.

Greenfield still only has three seniors this winter, including top-line winger Doug Hanieski, who had 13 goals and 24 assists last winter. Centering the top line is junior Bryan Baumann, who led the team in scoring with 44 points a year ago. Moving up to the top line to play the wing is junior Sean O’Sullivan, who finished with 12 goals and five assists last winter but missed some time with an injury.

“Bryan puts up those points, but what people might not know is that he is also the best defensive forward we have as well,” Bouchard said of his top line. “Doug broke out last year with all of his assists, and he has led this team from captains practices to tryouts. I am very proud of what he has been able to do as a captain to bring this team together. And O’Sullivan had a breakout campaign last year and he comes in with tremendous speed, great stick skills and he has grown physically over the past summer.”

The second line will be center by sophomore Kyle Barnes who will have a pair of new wingers this season in sophomore Jacob Bryant and junior Matt Wilhite. Bryant played defense last year but he will use his speed and size to dominate up front this winter, while Wilhite moves up from a third-line roll this year after progressing over the past 12 months. The third line will be centered by sophomore Derek Lenois with Adam Savoy (junior), Cam Rice (junior) and Chris Urgiel (senior) each vying for time on the wing. The fourth line will split time between junior varsity and varsity and will consist of freshmen Jake Croteau with juniors Porter Clancy and Trevor Beaudet.

“We are very excited to see how the depth of our team comes into play,” Bouchard said. “Not only do we think we are very deep offensively, but with our defense as well.”

The top defensive unit will be anchored by junior Mike McGoldrick, who finished with 14 points a season ago. He will be paired with freshman Will Averill.

“McGoldrick has great puck moving skills and we are pairing him with a freshman,” Bouchard said. “I think watching those guys man the back end and lead our breakout with the first line will be pretty exciting.”

The second defensive pairing is junior Booie Harris and sophomore Aiden Roache, while the third pairing features senior Aurel Pydych and freshman Kevin Baumann. The fourth line will split time on JV and varsity and will feature sophomore Tony Wozny and freshman MJ Paulin.

Junior Riley Drew returns to net for his third season after he won the starting job midway through his freshman season and kept it last winter. Drew went 12-5-2 last season and finished with a .889 save percentage and a 2.42 goals against average. 

“We rely on him to make a lot of big saves and he has proven that he can handle it,” Bouchard said. “He has really grown physically and his technical ability is great.”

Jordyn Lavallee will serve as the backup in goal.

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