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South Hadley ices Greenfield, advances to quarterfinals

  • Jake Knowles of South Hadley, center, scores after getting past Greenfield defenders Mike Duclos, left, and Josh Brandl Tuesday at Olympia Rink.<br/>JERREY ROBERTS

    Jake Knowles of South Hadley, center, scores after getting past Greenfield defenders Mike Duclos, left, and Josh Brandl Tuesday at Olympia Rink.
    JERREY ROBERTS Purchase photo reprints »

  • Jake Knowles of South Hadley, right, celebrates his second-period goal with Brain Bak, center, as Tom Crotty joins them Tuesday at Olympia Rink.<br/>JERREY ROBERTS

    Jake Knowles of South Hadley, right, celebrates his second-period goal with Brain Bak, center, as Tom Crotty joins them Tuesday at Olympia Rink.
    JERREY ROBERTS Purchase photo reprints »

  • Jeff Beauregard of South Hadley, second from right, scores beside teammates Tom Dowd, left, and Tim Sweeney Tuesday at Olympia Rink. Josh Brandl of Greenfield is in the background.<br/>JERREY ROBERTS

    Jeff Beauregard of South Hadley, second from right, scores beside teammates Tom Dowd, left, and Tim Sweeney Tuesday at Olympia Rink. Josh Brandl of Greenfield is in the background.
    JERREY ROBERTS Purchase photo reprints »

  • Tom Crotty of South Hadley, right, shoots against Cam Woodward of Greenfield Tuesday at Olympia Rink.<br/>JERREY ROBERTS

    Tom Crotty of South Hadley, right, shoots against Cam Woodward of Greenfield Tuesday at Olympia Rink.
    JERREY ROBERTS Purchase photo reprints »

  • Evan Sullivan of South Hadley, right, tries to follow score on a teammates shot blocked by Greenfield goalie Noah Foster-Marquis Tuesday at Olympia Rink.<br/>JERREY ROBERTS

    Evan Sullivan of South Hadley, right, tries to follow score on a teammates shot blocked by Greenfield goalie Noah Foster-Marquis Tuesday at Olympia Rink.
    JERREY ROBERTS Purchase photo reprints »

  • Jeff Beauregard of South Hadley absorbs a check from Mike Duclos of Greenfield Tuesday at Olympia Rink.<br/>JERREY ROBERTS

    Jeff Beauregard of South Hadley absorbs a check from Mike Duclos of Greenfield Tuesday at Olympia Rink.
    JERREY ROBERTS Purchase photo reprints »

  • Joe Whalen of South Hadley, front, moves the puck ahead of Jourdan York-Welcome Tuesday at Olympia Rink.JERREY ROBERTS

    Joe Whalen of South Hadley, front, moves the puck ahead of Jourdan York-Welcome Tuesday at Olympia Rink.JERREY ROBERTS Purchase photo reprints »

  • Beau Kass of South Hadley, front right, shoots on Greenfield goalie Noah Foster-Marquis, left, while defended by Cam Woodward Tuesday at Olympia Rink.<br/>JERREY ROBERTS

    Beau Kass of South Hadley, front right, shoots on Greenfield goalie Noah Foster-Marquis, left, while defended by Cam Woodward Tuesday at Olympia Rink.
    JERREY ROBERTS Purchase photo reprints »

  • Jake Knowles of South Hadley, center, scores after getting past Greenfield defenders Mike Duclos, left, and Josh Brandl Tuesday at Olympia Rink.<br/>JERREY ROBERTS
  • Jake Knowles of South Hadley, right, celebrates his second-period goal with Brain Bak, center, as Tom Crotty joins them Tuesday at Olympia Rink.<br/>JERREY ROBERTS
  • Jeff Beauregard of South Hadley, second from right, scores beside teammates Tom Dowd, left, and Tim Sweeney Tuesday at Olympia Rink. Josh Brandl of Greenfield is in the background.<br/>JERREY ROBERTS
  • Tom Crotty of South Hadley, right, shoots against Cam Woodward of Greenfield Tuesday at Olympia Rink.<br/>JERREY ROBERTS
  • Evan Sullivan of South Hadley, right, tries to follow score on a teammates shot blocked by Greenfield goalie Noah Foster-Marquis Tuesday at Olympia Rink.<br/>JERREY ROBERTS
  • Jeff Beauregard of South Hadley absorbs a check from Mike Duclos of Greenfield Tuesday at Olympia Rink.<br/>JERREY ROBERTS
  • Joe Whalen of South Hadley, front, moves the puck ahead of Jourdan York-Welcome Tuesday at Olympia Rink.JERREY ROBERTS
  • Beau Kass of South Hadley, front right, shoots on Greenfield goalie Noah Foster-Marquis, left, while defended by Cam Woodward Tuesday at Olympia Rink.<br/>JERREY ROBERTS

WEST SPRINGFIELD — This season’s South Hadley hockey team has developed a nice blend of veterans and new blood, as seen in the Tigers’ playoff-opening victory Tuesday night.

Junior goaltender Devin Hoagland earned his fourth career postseason shutout, while freshman Evan Sullivan set off an avalanche of goals as the Tigers cruised past Greenfield 6-0 in a Western Massachusetts Division 3A Tournament quarterfinal at The Olympia.

“I’m thrilled with their performance, all three lines hit the ice strong,” said Tigers coach John Houle. “These guys played smart, organized unselfish hockey. The penalty kill was fantastic, and Devin’s just unbelievable. He’s just a playoff goaltender. This is a great way to start the playoffs.”

After failing to score in the first, South Hadley tallied three times in each of the last two periods.

“We were a little off in the first, I think the younger guys were nervous,” Houle said. “We worked those cobwebs out, now they have some postseason experience. They settled in nicely in that second period, and Evan’s been great for us all season. He’s a really poised hockey player. The guys fed off that goal.”

Senior captain Jeff Beauregard (goal, three assists) and sophomore Beau Kass (two goals, two assists) registered four points each for the Tigers, while Sullivan (goal, two assists) added three.

“I was extremely nervous with this being my first high school playoff game,” said Sullivan. “For some reason we all came out a little slowly in the first, but we came out flying to start the second. I certainly think we can gather some momentum from this first one going into Monday night.”

No. 2 South Hadley (15-3-3) will face No. 6 St. Joseph (10-6-2) in the semifinals Monday at 6 p.m. at The Olympia. The Crusaders upset No. 3 Chicopee (15-5-1) 5-3 earlier Tuesday evening.

Hoagland (28 saves) had to be sharp in the opening period to keep Greenfield off the board. He made 11 stops, including a pad save on a Dillon Dodge slap shot from the high slot.

“I couldn’t do this without my teammates, particularly my defensemen,” said Hoagland. “When the playoffs come, I try to stay focused and not get too far ahead of myself. It was important to keep them from scoring early, then I gained more confidence when we got those first couple goals.”

With defenseman Ben Kravetz out for the playoffs with a leg injury, Nick Watkins assumed a spot on the blue line to join Beauregard and Brian Bak.

“With Ben getting hurt, it put a little more pressure on me in goal,” Hoagland said. “But Nick moved back and played really solid. We always have guys step up when needed.”

The Tigers killed a pair of Green Wave power plays in the first and all five in the contest.

“Because we’re short in numbers on defense, the forwards have to be strong on the penalty kill,” said Sullivan.

Just nine ticks into the second, South Hadley assumed the lead for good. Beau Kass entered the zone on the left wing and centered it to Jeff Beauregard, who tipped it back into the high slot. Sullivan closed on the free puck and snapped it past Noah Foster-Marquis (35 saves).

“There were three of us coming down and I stayed high, but I think the puck hit a skate and popped out to me,” he said. “Once I got it, I got off a quick shot. And once we get the energy going, it’s tough for other teams to handle.”

A few minutes later, Jake Knowles took a feed from Sullivan and pushed past the defense before releasing a wrister high to the glove side for a 2-0 advantage.

Beauregard made it 3-0 with 8:56 remaining in the second. Kass kept a cycle alive from behind the cage, then Tom Dowd found the senior defenseman charging toward the net.

Kass picked up a pair of tallies in the third period, with Nick Harris also scoring. Dowd and Joe Whalen had an assist apiece.

South Hadley and St. Joseph didn’t meet during the regular season.

“I watched them against Chicopee (Tuesday) and they played well,” said Houle. “In the playoffs, a couple bounces can make the difference. That’s why we look at a game at a time.”

Michael Wilkinson can be reached at mwilkinson@gazettenet.com.

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