By Brendan Tadeo and Cody Darr
HOLYOKE – Grab your coats and get your lungs ready for cheering, folks. It’s officially slam season in Chicopee! On Thursday December 12, 2019, Chicopee High School played their hockey season opener against long-time-rivals Chicopee Comprehensive High School at Fitzpatrick Arena Skating Rink in Holyoke. With the excitement of a season opener, packed seating, and a rival match up, fans were hyped up and in for a game that set the bar high for Chicopee High’s hockey season.
The game had played out and ended the way in which it had begun– LOUD.
Players slammed their sticks around the benches, fans cheered and stomped. Enthusiasm was so thick in the air that it became contagious, infecting fans and players alike. With the blow of a whistle and the drop of a puck, the game sped up and never seemed to slow down. Chicopee High’s offense was quick to come out and shine bright.
Within the first 4 minutes of the game, Senior #11 Nolan Florence would drive up the puck and tip it into the net, being the first player of the night to parade his goal to the crowd around him. Not even 5 minutes had gone by before Sophomore #16 Trevor Poirier put his gift of sonic-the-hedgehog-like speed to use, bypassing defenders and scoring for Chicopee High once more around the 7:30 minute mark, putting the Pacers up 2-0. This was a trend that would persist throughout the remainder of the heated match up.
The first period would remain a back-and-forth display of grit and resilience with Chicopee High consistently drilling the puck into the pads of Chicopee Comp’s goalie with little luck, while a powerful Pacers defense stonewalled all attempts from Comp players. On top of the rock-solid defense, the Pacers weren’t shy in entertaining the crowd with plenty of body-breaking slams whose impacts reverberated throughout the rink and the fans alike.
Within the last 3 minutes of the first period, Chicopee High was able to sprinkle its first pinch of salt onto Comp’s freshly-lacerated wounds, as Senior #22 Trent Lahair would break away and let the goalie shift before plowing the puck forward and into the back of the opposition’s net, leaving the goalie dangling and finishing off the first period of play with the Pacers leading comfortably 3-0.
After a short break, the second period was underway. commencing in the same manner the first period had, resulting in fast-paced-play and a quick goal. Within the first minute of the second period, #16 Trevor Poirier scored his second goal of the game, slapping the puck into the back of the net with ease.
Not long thereafter, Pacers #22 Trent Lahair would get put into the penalty box for tripping. Aggression being the nature of this match-up, this would not be the last time he would visit the box. Despite the power play on Comp’s side as a result of Lahair’s penalty, the Colts still could not manage to notch in a goal. It wasn’t until 2 minutes after Lahair left the box that Comp scored their first goal of the game in the 10th minute of second period play.
The 60 seconds following Comp’s goal would be the epitome of high school hockey intensity. Once more, #22 Trent Lahair would find himself hanging out in the penalty box for 1 minute. During this minute, #16 Trevor Poirier would score yet again earning himself a hat-trick in his very first game of the season.
Trent Lahair would leave the penalty box, and within 10 seconds of Lahair’s return to the ice, the Comp Colts stole the puck and scored once more, marking up the score and closing the score gap from 3 goals to 2 goals within the blink of an eye. The Pacers led 5-2 headed into the third and final period of play.
Heading into the third period, the Pacers team needed to keep its foot on the gas pedal and maintain the same momentum that had given them the lead. Both sides went back-and-forth trading shot for shot, but neither side could capitalize on their efforts, until one of the most exciting moments in the game occurred.
While making a move toward the goal, #22 Trent Lahair was pushed from behind into the opposing goalkeeper. As the Comp goalie’s helmet flew across the ice, Lahair went to check on the injured Colt only to receive a right hook seemingly out of nowhere from the goalie. Lahair would be ejected as a result, as he was seen as the instigator of the collision (as decided by the refs). The Colts would be rewarded with a power play opportunity which they took advantage of, scoring their third goal of the game around the 11 minute mark cutting the Pacers’ lead 5-3.
As the Colts rifled down the ice off a Pacer turnover, the puck was passed into the corner of the boards. One of the Comp forwards attempted to set up a scoring opportunity only to be immediately and brutally leveled by Pacers Senior #21 Evan Bailly. This hit would blow a crater in the Colts’ defense.
The puck was soon repossessed by #16 Trevor Porier who sliced through the defenders like a hot knife through butter scoring his 4th goal of the game at the 3 minute mark, cementing the victory for the Pacers at 6-3.
“We did a lot of great things,” responded Senior #4 Kendall Walsh IV when asked on the teams performance. “We moved the puck well and we took great shots. The defense set up the offense with awesome passes on the breakaways. It’s going to be a fun year,” continued Walsh.
The Pacers kick off the season with a dominating win against their cross-town rivals as they prepare to take on the Easthampton Eagles on December 14 in the Eagles’ home opener at Smead Arena in Springfield, where the Pacers hope to improve their season record to 2-0.