High schools: Third-period penalties doom Greenfield hockey team in 5-3 loss to Gardner (PHOTOS)

Greenfield’s Hunter Smith (7), right, carries the puck while defended by Gardner’s Cullan White (5) during the Green Wave’s 5-3 loss in the semifinal round of the Chicopee Winter Classic on Wednesday at Fitzpatrick Arena in Holyoke.

Greenfield’s Hunter Smith (7), right, carries the puck while defended by Gardner’s Cullan White (5) during the Green Wave’s 5-3 loss in the semifinal round of the Chicopee Winter Classic on Wednesday at Fitzpatrick Arena in Holyoke. STAFF PHOTO/JEFF LAJOIE

Greenfield’s Brady Booska (10) carries the puck toward the Gardner net during the Green Wave’s 5-3 loss in the semifinal round of the Chicopee Winter Classic on Wednesday at Fitzpatrick Arena in Holyoke.

Greenfield’s Brady Booska (10) carries the puck toward the Gardner net during the Green Wave’s 5-3 loss in the semifinal round of the Chicopee Winter Classic on Wednesday at Fitzpatrick Arena in Holyoke. STAFF PHOTO/JEFF LAJOIE

Greenfield’s Jake Jurek (2) skates into the Gardner zone during the Green Wave’s 5-3 loss in the semifinal round of the Chicopee Winter Classic on Wednesday at Fitzpatrick Arena in Holyoke.

Greenfield’s Jake Jurek (2) skates into the Gardner zone during the Green Wave’s 5-3 loss in the semifinal round of the Chicopee Winter Classic on Wednesday at Fitzpatrick Arena in Holyoke. STAFF PHOTO/JEFF LAJOIE

Greenfield’s Luca Siano (21) fires up a shot against Gardner during the Green Wave’s 5-3 loss in the semifinal round of the Chicopee Winter Classic on Wednesday at Fitzpatrick Arena in Holyoke.

Greenfield’s Luca Siano (21) fires up a shot against Gardner during the Green Wave’s 5-3 loss in the semifinal round of the Chicopee Winter Classic on Wednesday at Fitzpatrick Arena in Holyoke. STAFF PHOTO/JEFF LAJOIE

Greenfield’s Brady Booska (10) skates in for a breakaway shot against Gardner during the Green Wave’s 5-3 loss in the semifinal round of the Chicopee Winter Classic on Wednesday at Fitzpatrick Arena in Holyoke.

Greenfield’s Brady Booska (10) skates in for a breakaway shot against Gardner during the Green Wave’s 5-3 loss in the semifinal round of the Chicopee Winter Classic on Wednesday at Fitzpatrick Arena in Holyoke. STAFF PHOTO/JEFF LAJOIE

By JEFF LAJOIE

Staff Writer

Published: 12-27-2023 8:47 PM

Modified: 12-27-2023 9:16 PM


HOLYOKE – Penalties can often make the difference in high school hockey.

Such was the case for Greenfield on Wednesday night.

The Green Wave led 3-2 in the third period against Gardner during the semifinal round of the Chicopee Winter Classic at Fitzpatrick Arena. But back-to-back penalties taken by Greenfield gave the Wildcats a 5-on-3 advantage with just over five minutes remaining.

Gardner capitalized on the opportunity, tying the game quickly and then netting the eventual game-winning goal with 1:16 remaining. The club tacked on an empty-netter to secure a 5-3 win and punch a ticket to Thursday’s title game.

Greenfield (3-2) will play in the third-place game at 5 p.m. Thursday against host Chicopee. Gardner and Agawam will meet in the title game that follows.

“Penalties came back to haunt us,” Greenfield coach Adam Bouchard said. “Those are huge momentum turners in a game like this. The last five minutes of the game, we take two penalties and that’s a very difficult place to be in. Hopefully we learn from this, and make sure we don’t let something like this happen again.”

Trailing 3-2, Gardner junior Jayden Patel tied the game with 4:50 remaining via a 5-on-3 power play strike. Patel also notched the winner, when he redirected a shot in front of Greenfield goalie Cooper Smith with 1:16 left to give the ’Cats a 4-3 lead.

Derek Plummer sealed the deal with an empty net goal with 47 seconds remaining to make it a 5-3 game.

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Gardner head coach Scott Freniere said that while his club has had several competitive games against Greenfield the past three years, he was happy to finally break through after losing the last two meetings. Greenfield won a state tournament game two years ago and also took down Gardner in the same holiday tournament last year via an overtime decision.

“We always seem to play close, competitive games with Greenfield and they always seem to come out on top,” Freniere said. “So it was nice to finally turn the tide on them. Greenfield’s always very detailed in everything they do. They’re well coached.”

It was all Greenfield in the first period, as Jake Jurek netted a pair of goals and the Wave stormed out to a 2-0 lead.

“Definitely a tough first period, we didn’t play our game at all,” Freniere said.

Gardner cut the deficit in half with a Cullan White goal early in the second period, but Greenfield re-established the two-goal cushion when Hunter Smith’s wrister found the back of the net less than two minutes later.

Gardner’s Drew St. Peter tallied an important goal with just 55 seconds left in the middle stanza however, cutting the lead to 3-2 entering the third.

Cooper Smith (24 saves) made some big stops for the Wave early in the third period, and the club seemed destined to hold on for a big win before taking those untimely penalties in crunch time.

“Give Gardner credit, they took the momentum from us and cashed in their opportunities,” Bouchard said.

Brodie Gagne, Luca Siano and Jack Laurie notched assists for Greenfield, which plays in the consolation game Thursday before returning home to host McCann Tech on Saturday in a Wright Division tilt at Collins-Moylan Arena (6:30 p.m.).

Wrestling

Berkshire Holiday tourney

The Athol wrestling team took second overall in team points at Wednesday’s Berkshire Holiday Tournament in Great Barrington, buoyed by individual titles from Aiden Kirwan (157 pounds) and Riley Reed (165).

Adam Rodriguez was third at 113, and Nick Leblanc also nabbed third overall at 285.

Frontier eighth grader Ber Calhoun was the runner-up at 106 pounds, while senior Wyatt Finch took third in his weight class. Jocelyn Antes and Konnor James each captured a pair of victories via pinfall, and Ben Baker added a pin as well for the Redhawks.

Mahar 41, South Hadley 39 – The Senators won four of the matches contested, and held off the Tigers in an independent contest Wednesday night in Orange.

Cody Preisch won via technical fall at 126 pounds for Mahar, while the squad also received pinfal victories from Tristen Gaj (165 pounds), Colby Chiasson (144) and Elias Roberts (132).

Mahar will get right back on the mat Thursday when it competes in the annual Phil Tomkiel Holiday Invitational at Agawam High School.

Girls basketball

Mahar 39, Quaboag 32 – The Senators built a 21-15 halftime lead and held off Quaboag for an independent road win on Wednesday night in Warren.

Mahar (2-3) received a team-high 14 points from Irati Martinez, including a pair of 3-pointers. Hayden Comeau joined her in double figures with 10 points, and Alivia Patch followed with eight points, including four in the fourth quarter to help seal the deal. Nevaeh Scribner also hit a clutch 3 late to help the Sens grab win No. 2.

Gardner 35, Athol 24 – Emily King led the way with eight points, but the Bears fell to the host Wildcats in the Gardner Winter Classic on Wednesday night.

Allison Robertson chipped in five points for Athol, while Olivia Horrigan and Jenna Bonenfant each added four points.

Pathfinder 48, Mohawk Trail 33 – Natalie Lanoue and Valerie Bzomowski each went for 10 points for the Warriors in an independent loss on Wednesday.

Lanoue had seven of her 10 points in the second quarter.

Pathfinder stormed out to a 16-5 lead after one quarter and led 26-14 at halftime. Bella Pettengill tossed in seven points for Mohawk Trail, and Rachel Pease added four.