Playing with Swing

Playing with Swing

The boys varsity ice hockey team finished the season with a strong showing at the NEPSAC tournament

In his speech before the boys varsity ice hockey team took the ice in the NESPAC Piatelli/Simmons Small School quarterfinal game, Head Coach Matt Goethals drew from one of his favorite books, “The Boys in the Boat,” by Daniel James Brown. He spoke to them about playing with swing. Swing is a rowing concept about performing with perfect synchronicity and unity. On the ice, it’s about knowing where your teammates are. It’s about coming together and playing as a team. And that is just what they did.

Daniel McNeill faced off against Canterbury.

The team fought hard to make it to the quarterfinal game. After an icy start, the season heated up with some big wins in February, including victories over Choate Rosemary Hall, Westminster, Millbrook, and Williston Northampton. “When adversity came our way, we did not back down. We worked through it. We achieved some amazing accomplishments together, taking down some of the best teams in New England,” said Co-Captain Jesse Heinberg ’24. “Our playoff spot was not guaranteed. We needed to win the last couple of games to lock the spot. We were a relentless team that never quit even if the odds weren’t in our favor.”

On Wednesday, February 28, the seventh-seeded Pomfret team took on the St. Mark’s Lions. Gardner Rink was packed with classmates, faculty, families, and friends who traveled nearly fifty miles to support the Griffins. Their energy, along with that of the team, surprised the second seed. A goal by Co-Captain Louie Marcellino ’24, assisted by Jesse and Drew Fecteau ’24, helped the Griffins get on the board first. By the end of the first period, St. Mark’s evened the score. In the second period, a penalty shot by Brooks Pearce ’24 broke the tie. In the third period, goals from Luke Corrigan ’25, assisted by Tyler Milrad ’25 and Cole Leblanc ’25; Ian Sherman ’26, assisted by Ethan Chiweshe ’25 and Luke; and Jesse, assisted by Sean Farrell ’26, added to Pomfret’s lead. While the Lions managed to get another shot past Goalie Beau Johnson ’24, he made thirty-six saves to secure the win. 

Beau Johnson did an outstanding job in goal, making 36 saves in the St. Mark's game and 46 against Canterbury. 

“We played a great all-around game against a very good St. Mark's team. It wasn’t easy upsetting the number two seed, but we battled and did it,” exclaimed Louie. “The support we got from the fans was amazing.” 

The team faced off against a third-seeded Canterbury School in the semifinals on Saturday, March 2. Once again, the stands were packed with Pomfret fans. The Saints got on the board early in the first period, but a goal by Jesse, assisted by Louie and Drew, tied the score minutes into the second period. In the first few minutes of the final period, Canterbury got a second goal past Beau. Matthew Itzkovitz ’25 matched their goal with a little over twelve minutes left on the clock. The Saints scored minutes later. The Griffins fought hard in the time remaining but could not find the back of the net. Canterbury went on to eventually win the NEPSAC Small School Championship the next day. 

“This team worked hard throughout the season and played their best hockey in the final month,” said Goethals. “It was a great victory over St. Mark’s in the quarterfinals, and we gave Canterbury all we could in the semifinal. I’m so proud of the boys and the progress they made this season.”

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