CHICOPEE- On Saturday September 28, 2019 the game between the Wachusett Mountaineers and the Chicopee High School Pacers was held at Szot Park. The game was dictated by both defenses but an error-filled second half for the Pacers led to Wachusett closing the gap and taking the lead only to lose that same lead minutes later ending the game in a tie.
“Besides working on what we usually work on, we certainly worked on our defensive shape,” said Pacers Head Coach Tom Rivet prior to the start of the game. “They have a player who sets all their records and plays very well, but we also have a player like that [Mamadi Jiana] but if our guys can perform as well as their guys, we will have a shot at winning,” continued Rivet.
Within the first three minutes of the game, Chicopee was already on the board with a goal from Junior Nathan Roberts assisted by Junior Mamadi Jiana. The Pacers defense held the Mountaineers to scoreless for the first half.
The first of the three goals the Mountaineers scored in the offensive onslaught that was the second half was scored in the 36th minute. Jiana dribbled down the field, was tripped up on the play, and was awarded a penalty kick. The shot ricocheted off the goalie’s hands but was rebounded by Jiana who scored, capitalizing on the sleepy Wachusett defenses increasing the Pacers lead 2-1.
Wachusett responded by scoring two goals, one of which was in the 25th minute and the other having been in the extra time period, putting the Mountaineers up 3-2, but the Pacers kept a level head. Sophomore Ethan Langevin rebounded a shot that missed and fired the ball into the back of the net to even the game at three apiece. The whistle blew soon thereafter, ending the game at a 3-3 tie.
“Defense played really well in the first half and didn’t let up a goal until the second half, but that’s when it all fell apart. We really pulled through at the end there, but we still have things we need to improve on for our next game,” said Senior Eric Chmielewski after the game.
“It was a good game considering Wachusett is one of the best teams in the state. I think offense dictated the game but we need to get the ball to someone else for an opportunity to score a goal,” said a Pacers fan in attendance at the game.
Post-game, Pacers Head Coach Tom Rivet explained, “I thought it was a fair result. We could’ve kept our foot on the gas to keep them out of it and score a couple more, but we started to get too comfortable in the second half and that’s what led to the tie. They scored in the last five minutes and our guys could’ve just given up, but we rallied back and tied it up and I think that speaks toward the type of character we have on our team.”
Putting this game behind them, the Pacers have their sights set forward to their next opponent, Southwick, whom they will face on September 30 in Southwick.
By Matthew Demers and Brendan Tadeo