South Hadley and Amherst lose 1-1


AMHERST – There is bound to be some rust in the opening game of the season, and that was true for the South Hadley and Amherst hockey teams on Friday night. However, it didn’t take long for the two teams to get their skates under them, and not at all for their two goalies to duel in front of a packed house at Mullins Center Practice Rink.

In the end, the Tigers and Hurricanes were tied 1-1 after both teams scored one goal in regulation and skated five minutes of scoreless overtime.

That said, both teams could have come off with the win – South Hadley goaltender Devin Carleton, only a sophomore, made several incredible saves to keep the Tigers in the game, and the Hurricanes killed off. a major penalty of three and a half minutes in overtime. to preserve the tie, a performance that left Hurricanes head coach Mike Rousseau duly impressed.

“Nothing had prepared me for three and a half minutes of (four) against three. And we’ve been practicing it for maybe 10 minutes this week, ”Rousseau said. “(To) be able to stay in the middle, get into the shooting lanes, block shots, block passes – I couldn’t have practiced that for a week and I did it better.”

This performance was matched only by Carleton’s play in net. South Hadley head coach Kevin Stefanik could only shake his head when asked about some of the saves made by Carleton, who is still just a sophomore, all throughout the game.

“He’s very calm and reserved, but he’s definitely a competitor. It’s a big role for him to adapt, ”Stefanik said. “Goalies are a breed in their own right and he is the most normal goalie I have ever known. I (say) this certainly in a good way because he is a player through and through.

That intensity was needed in South Hadley’s net, as Amherst’s offense improved as the game progressed, carrying the puck into the zone with speed and getting several good looks on Carleton, especially in the second half of the game. Carleton was there to challenge them every time, making a number of jaw-dropping saves; perhaps the most spectacular was a heroic glove save at the end of the third period as the second had already fallen and wallowed in the paint, but managed to put his glove in place on a second chance. luck just in the slot.

Calm and reserved he might be, but when he’s in the net Carleton is focused on one thing: the next shot that falls on him.

“I don’t think of anything other than the puck,” Carleton said. “I stay focused on the puck. “

Amherst managed to resolve Carleton once in the opening frame; Carter Beckwith took to the left wing and brought back a nasty shooter with 8:46 left in the first half, helped by Liam Flynn.

Hurricane keeper Charles May was solid in the first period, stopping every shot he faced and sending Amherst into the first intermission with a 1-0 lead.

South Hadley tied the game at the end of a power play when Caleb Lundgren tapped the puck off the side of the net, assisted by Kadyn Laramee and Connor McDonnell. The game remained tied at the end of the second period, with Carleton still making huge saves to keep his team in the game.

After a scoreless third period, the game went into a five-minute, four-on-four overtime period, but it didn’t stay that way for long. Quick play along the boards saw South Hadley’s McDonnell shaken off by a high kick from Beckwith, which the referees quickly whistled like a major boarding with just over three and a half minutes to go in overtime. McDonnell was able to skate off the ice on his own, rocked but OK after the hit, and the Tigers knew there was no malicious intent behind it.

“I actually coached (Beckwith) too, and he’s a great hockey player. It’s not his game, ”Stefanik said.

With just three players on the ice, the Hurricanes managed to pull off a penalty for the remainder of overtime to secure the tie, an almost monumental feat, especially in Game 1 of the season.

Overall, both coaches were happy to come away tied, knowing there is room for improvement but it’s a good starting point for their respective teams.

“The number of passes between the South Hadley boys and our boys who were under sticks, on sticks, in people’s skates – it’s just rust, it’s not the timing of playing time.” , Rousseau said. “But overall I was happy with the way we competed. Their goalie, Mr. Carleton, played absolutely fabulous. You know, I can’t take anything away from their effort, from our effort. That’s what it is, and I’m glad we both got it.


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