Hockey: Cooper Smith, Greenfield blank Easthampton 3-0 to win Wright Division title (PHOTOS)

Greenfield’s Hunter Smith (7) fires a shot against Easthampton in the second period Saturday night at Collins-Moylan Arena in Greenfield.

Greenfield’s Hunter Smith (7) fires a shot against Easthampton in the second period Saturday night at Collins-Moylan Arena in Greenfield. STAFF PHOTO/DAN LITTLE

Greenfield’s Jake Jurek (2) fires a shot against Easthampton in the second period Saturday night at Collins-Moylan Arena in Greenfield.

Greenfield’s Jake Jurek (2) fires a shot against Easthampton in the second period Saturday night at Collins-Moylan Arena in Greenfield. STAFF PHOTO/DAN LITTLE

Greenfield players celebrate a second period goal by Jake Jurek (2) against Easthampton on Saturday night at Collins-Moylan Arena in Greenfield.

Greenfield players celebrate a second period goal by Jake Jurek (2) against Easthampton on Saturday night at Collins-Moylan Arena in Greenfield. STAFF PHOTO/DAN LITTLE

Easthampton’s Grayson Prevey-Catrambone (13) charges with the puck toward Greenfield defender Derek Wissman (22) in the second period Saturday night at Collins-Moylan Arena in Greenfield.

Easthampton’s Grayson Prevey-Catrambone (13) charges with the puck toward Greenfield defender Derek Wissman (22) in the second period Saturday night at Collins-Moylan Arena in Greenfield. STAFF PHOTO/DAN LITTLE

Greenfield’s Matt Garvin (14) sends a pass against Easthampton in the second period Saturday night at Collins-Moylan Arena in Greenfield.

Greenfield’s Matt Garvin (14) sends a pass against Easthampton in the second period Saturday night at Collins-Moylan Arena in Greenfield. STAFF PHOTO/DAN LITTLE

Easthampton goalkeeper Paige Galpin (1) dives on the puck to fend off the attack from Greenfield in the second period Saturday night at Collins-Moylan Arena in Greenfield.

Easthampton goalkeeper Paige Galpin (1) dives on the puck to fend off the attack from Greenfield in the second period Saturday night at Collins-Moylan Arena in Greenfield. STAFF PHOTO/DAN LITTLE

Easthampton goalkeeper Paige Galpin (1) reels in a glove save against Greenfield in the second period Saturday night at Collins-Moylan Arena in Greenfield.

Easthampton goalkeeper Paige Galpin (1) reels in a glove save against Greenfield in the second period Saturday night at Collins-Moylan Arena in Greenfield. STAFF PHOTO/DAN LITTLE

Greenfield’s Matt Garvin (14) fights for a loose puck against Easthampton in the second period Saturday night at Collins-Moylan Arena in Greenfield.

Greenfield’s Matt Garvin (14) fights for a loose puck against Easthampton in the second period Saturday night at Collins-Moylan Arena in Greenfield. STAFF PHOTO/DAN LITTLE

Greenfield’s Matt Garvin (14) fires a shot against Easthampton in the second period Saturday night at Collins-Moylan Arena in Greenfield.

Greenfield’s Matt Garvin (14) fires a shot against Easthampton in the second period Saturday night at Collins-Moylan Arena in Greenfield. STAFF PHOTO/DAN LITTLE

Easthampton’s Brett Baranowski (27) clears the puck out against Greenfield in the second period Saturday night at Collins-Moylan Arena in Greenfield.

Easthampton’s Brett Baranowski (27) clears the puck out against Greenfield in the second period Saturday night at Collins-Moylan Arena in Greenfield. STAFF PHOTO/DAN LITTLE

Greenfield’s Brady Booska (10) carries the puck against Easthampton in the second period Saturday night at Collins-Moylan Arena in Greenfield.

Greenfield’s Brady Booska (10) carries the puck against Easthampton in the second period Saturday night at Collins-Moylan Arena in Greenfield. STAFF PHOTO/DAN LITTLE

Greenfield’s Evan Galli (26) carries the puck against Easthampton in the second period Saturday night at Collins-Moylan Arena in Greenfield.

Greenfield’s Evan Galli (26) carries the puck against Easthampton in the second period Saturday night at Collins-Moylan Arena in Greenfield. STAFF PHOTO/DAN LITTLE

Easthampton’s Rob Herman (16) fires a shot against Greenfield in the second period Saturday night at Collins-Moylan Arena in Greenfield.

Easthampton’s Rob Herman (16) fires a shot against Greenfield in the second period Saturday night at Collins-Moylan Arena in Greenfield. STAFF PHOTO/DAN LITTLE

Easthampton’s Rob Herman (16) carries the puck up the ice under pressure from Greenfield’s Derek Wissman (22) in the second period Saturday night at Collins-Moylan Arena in Greenfield.

Easthampton’s Rob Herman (16) carries the puck up the ice under pressure from Greenfield’s Derek Wissman (22) in the second period Saturday night at Collins-Moylan Arena in Greenfield. STAFF PHOTO/DAN LITTLE

By THOMAS JOHNSTON

Staff Writer

Published: 02-17-2024 10:20 PM

Modified: 02-18-2024 12:21 PM


GREENFIELD — The Wright Division title was on the line at Collins-Moylan Arena Saturday night. 

The Greenfield hockey team entered its final regular season game of the season against Easthampton with a 7-0 record in the division while the Eagles came in at 6-1, their lone loss coming in overtime against the Green Wave earlier in the season. 

Behind a stellar second period, Greenfield made sure it wasn’t going to be sharing the league title.

After a scoreless first period, Jake Jurek potted the opening goal of contest 3:15 into the second period. It began what was a dominant period for Greenfield, which ripped off two more goals in the frame to take a 3-0 lead going into the third. 

The Eagles were unable to get a shot past Green Wave goalie Cooper Smith in the final 15 minutes, as Greenfield captured the outright Wright Division title with a 3-0 victory. 

“It’s fitting that the Wright Division was decided in the last game of the regular season,” Green Wave coach Adam Bouchard said. “For the Green Wave student-athletes to come out and perform the way that they did is what we strove for to finish off the regular season. When you look at the gauntlet of lineups we had to close the regular season, to finish 2-2-1, we’re happy and proud of that. It shows that when we play Green Wave hockey, good things happen.” 

Easthampton coach Tim Pfau said his team came into Saturday’s game with the simple mindset of trying to beat Greenfield, not fixating on a league title race. 

“I wasn’t focused on winning the league, I was just focused on beating Greenfield,” Pfau said. “We haven’t beat them in years. Of course you want to win the league but I just want to beat Greenfield one time. They’re a good team and you have to give it to them. It’s a frustrating loss.” 

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It was a snipe from Jurek that put the Green Wave (11-7-1, 8-0) on the board in the second period. 

Brodie Gagne got the puck and fed it over to Jurek, who had a head of steam skating up the right wing. Jurek snapped a shot that banged off the pipes and ricocheted into the net, giving Greenfield the 1-0 lead.

It didn’t take long for the Green Wave to add to their advantage. Just after the goal, Porter Hall sent a pass over to Luca Siano, who made a pair of dangles to draw the Eagles defense to him behind the Easthampton goal. 

Siano sent a pass out in front to Shawn Baumann, who rocketed the shot home to give Greenfield a 2-0 lead just 30 seconds after the Jurek tally. 

With 3:46 to go in the second period, Green Wave senior Derek Wissmann made it a 3-0 game while on the power play. 

Matt Garvin put a shot on goal that was saved by Easthampton goalie Paige Galpin. The puck deflected out near the blue line to Wissmann, who blasted a shot in from the point to add to the Greenfield lead. 

With a three-goal cushion going into the third, the Green Wave were able to fend off the Eagles attack by controlling the neutral zone and preventing Easthampton (12-7, 6-2) from getting good looks on goal. 

“We got the two goals in 30 seconds, then got the third before the period ended,” Bouchard said. “We go into the third up three goals and it’s a great spot to be in. We took that 3-0 lead, put more pressure in during the first half of the period then shut down the neutral zone and tried to not give them chances in our zone.”

Penalties hurt Easthampton from getting back in the game in the second, as they were sent to the box three times in the middle frame. 

“Penalties killed us,” Pfau said. “I don’t think we got a fair shake again. It is what it is.”

After a 6-5 overtime loss to Greenfield in the first meeting of the season, Pfau said he thought the second meeting would feature fewer goals. 

Outside of a few stretches in the second, the Eagles defense did its job limiting the Greenfield attack. 

“I was expecting it to be a low scoring game,” Pfau said. “I didn’t think it’d be 6-5 again. I thought it would be close. A couple bounces didn’t go our way. We shut them out for two periods and had one crummy stretch where we beat ourselves with some stupid penalties we took. We didn’t have enough passion on our end from the puck drop. We have to kick it into overdrive going forward because the season isn’t over yet.’ 

Galpin made an impressive 33 saves for the Eagles while Smith stopped all 23 shots he saw in goal for the Green Wave. 

No saves were more important than the two breakaways Smith stopped, one on a 2-0 opportunity for the Eagles in the first period and the second on an Easthampton breakaway while Greenfield was on the power play. 

“Cooper played phenomenal,” Bouchard said. “His team gave him the hard hat coming out tonight. It was a full team effort. Cooper was there when we needed him. All the players were there when we needed them. It was a great way to cap off Senior Night.” 

Next up, the Green Wave will be looking to add another Western Mass. championship this week, when they open the Class B tournament as the No. 2 seed against No. 3 Taconic in the semifinal round on Wednesday. That game is set for 6 p.m. at the Olympia Ice Center in West Springfield, and all tickets must be purchased online through GoFan (https://gofan.co/event/1391532?schoolId=MA99912).

After closing the regular season against Southwick, East Longmeadow, Westfield, West Springfield and Easthampton, Bouchard said his team is ready for the postseason to begin. 

“We’ve been playing playoff hockey for the last five weeks,” Bouchard said. “That’s the way we look at it. That’s not to discredit the games before it but that’s how the schedule ended up. That’s what you want going into the playoffs. As long as we play the way that we can, utilize our depth on the bench, try to run their horses out of gas, run our forecheck and backcheck, good things will happen.”