H.S. HOCKEY: Greenfield’s WMass championship a combined effort from several schools

  • Greenfield faces off against Wahconah during the Western Mass. Division 3A title game on Thursday night at the Olympia Ice Center in West Springfield. STAFF PHOTO/DAN LITTLE

Staff Writer
Published: 3/5/2020 10:01:38 PM

WEST SPRINGFIELD — A group of high school hockey players from Franklin County, along with a sliver of Worcester County, brought a Western Mass. championship back to Greenfield on Thursday night.

The Greenfield hockey team downed Wahconah, 2-1, in overtime at the Olympia Ice Center in West Springfield to claim the program’s first title since 2008.

Players from Athol High School, Mahar Regional, Franklin Tech, Greenfield and Frontier all saw time for the Green Wave this season.

There were contributions from each and every school throughout the championship season. Greenfield coach Adam Bouchard said experience has paid off from the last three years playing together as a unit.

“Experience, from day one,” Bouchard said. “Three years ago when the co-op started, it’s been nothing but Green Wave. To come back and play for your high school team and do it with your buddies that you grew up with that’s all you need.”

A lot of the players have relations all the way back to playing for the Franklin County Hockey Association. That familiarity is helpful when putting together a championship run.

“I get to play with my buddies that I grew up with,” Frontier’s Jacob Bryant said. “I have known them all life. Then coming and meeting new guys. We have bonded since day one. A lot of us have been here since the program started. We started at the bottom and built our way up.”

The championship celebration was chaotic and crowded for the Wave. Friends and family from all over made the trip to support their unified squad.

The WMass trophy changed hands several times, and countless pictures froze the championship moment in time.

“It’s been a pleasure playing with these guys,” Bryant said. “We all grew up in the FCHA program. It’s one team no matter how many schools. We all fight for the Green Wave and the logo on the front.”

Keeper Riley Drew, from Mahar Regional, gave up an early goal against the Warriors but held off any attempt for the remainder of the game.

“It’s been outstanding,” Drew said of the co-op. “We are such a good group this year.”

Mike McGoldrick leads the Franklin Tech contingent as a senior captain.

“Representing my school is huge,” McGoldrick said. “In any sport. We don’t have many skaters at Tech. Being the captain and the leader, it feels good.”

It was a bumpy season at times for the Green Wave, but the team learned and grew according to McGoldrick.

“We were able to get through problems, McGoldrick said. “Stuff we would come up, little things, and we would power right through and come together as a team. We have great team chemistry.”

Senior Derek Lenois of Greenfield was there when the co-op started.

“At first it was tough because we didn’t know each other,” Lenois said. “We have a lot of seniors and everyone has grown.”

Matt Willhite is the lone player from Athol on the team.

“It’s awesome,” Willhite said. “We are all a family. We built that over the whole year. It feels so good to win it our senior year. We bond in the locker room, in the bus, during practice on and off the ice. We work really well together that way.”

The ride isn’t over for this group, as the Green Wave advanced to play Central Mass. champion Lunenburg in the state final on Saturday at Holy Cross in Worcester.


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