Nathan Masteralexis nets hat trick in 1st period of Amherst hockey’s senior night win over Turners Falls

For the Gazette
Published: 2/24/2017 11:25:14 PM

AMHERST — Amherst Regional finished off its hockey regular season with a 10-2 win against Turners Falls on Friday night.

The Hurricanes (14-4-2, 12-2-2 Fay-Wright) drew first and second blood. Senior Nathan Masteralexis scored both goals at 2 minutes, 43 seconds and 5:28. Turners Falls (1-19, 0-16 Fay-Wright) responded 23 seconds later, bringing the score to 2-1.

Just 1:22 after Turners Falls’ response, Masteralexis completed his hat trick, bringing the score to 3-1.

The Hurricanes followed up with three unanswered goals, two by senior Max Hopley (7:27, 10:13) and one by junior Nico Cardaropoli (8:14), closing out the first period 6-1.

Turners Falls brought the physicality in the second, but lacked an answer for Amherst’s surging offense.

Masteralexis tallied his fourth goal of the night at 5:43 and recorded two assists on goals by Jake Balderston (6:26) and Nick Foster (11:00), as the score increased to 9-1.

Amherst sophomore Jared Cutting and Turners Falls scored late in the third.

“The boys worked hard,” Amhrest coach Mike Rousseau said. “We set our goals pretty high after (winning Western Mass.) last year. The seniors we have are second to none. Every year its emotional because you have to move on but, for these guys to go out like this tonight was pretty special.”

Along with the regular season finale came senior night, as the Hurricanes honored their four seniors: Ethan Taylor, Balderston, Hopley, and Masteralexis.

Each player, along with their families, smiled for photos on the ice in the pre game festivities.

Taylor was the only senior to not record a goal.

“I think he’s going to hold everything until the Western Mass. finals,” said Rousseau. “That’s what I keep telling him. We just tried to get him one goal.”

Taylor, a student at Palmer High School, has played in his only season as a Hurricane this year, after moving several times throughout his childhood.

Rousseau admitted to not knowing much about Taylor when he moved to Massachusetts. However, when he saw Taylor skate in a pick up game, he knew he was the real deal.

“Ethan Taylor has been a wonderful addition to our team. He came in and fit right in with the team. There was never any animosity. He’s been a pretty intricate part of our team.”

One senior that was not on the ice received a standing ovation from the Amherst crowd. Cody Rooney, team manager, has been a part of the Hurricanes program over the past three years.

Rousseau met Rooney at Amherst Middle School back when Rooney was a student. Rooney is present at every practice, game and in the locker room.

“I can’t think of any way to finish off the season than have him be honored during his senior night. Its pretty special to see him get excited for the boys,” Rousseau said. “He gets excited when we win; he gets excited when we lose.”

The seeds for the Western Mass. tournament will be announced Saturday. The Hurricanes are fairly certain of who they’ll be facing.

“Now we’ll see what happens,” said Rousseau. “We have South Hadley. They’re a good team. They’re well coached. When we played, we tied twice. For (the team) its super and they are proud to wear the Amherst hockey jersey.”

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