WMass Division 3A hockey: CJ Tenczar hits 100-point milestone as Easthampton beats Amherst in semifinals

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  • Easthampton senior forward CJ Tenczar celebrates his goal in front of the Easthampton fans section with 19 seconds left in the first period of the Eagles' 6-2 win over Amherst in their Western Massachusetts Division 3A semifinal at Olympia Ice Center in West Springfield on Saturday, March 2, 2019. —STAFF PHOTO/KEVIN GUTTING

  • Easthampton sophomore goalie Tyler Cortis prepares for a shot on goal as Jayden Blackburn (5) of Amherst slips by defenseman Jake Delisle in the second period of the Eagles' 6-2 win over the Hurricanes in their Western Massachusetts Division 3A semifinal at Olympia Ice Center in West Springfield on Saturday. STAFF PHOTO/KEVIN GUTTING

  • Easthampton junior forward Garren Fugiel, upper left, watches his shot fly over the glove of Amherst goalie Jon Hanscome for the Eagles' second point in the first period of their 6-2 win over the Hurricanes in a Western Massachusetts Division 3A semifinal at Olympia Ice Center in West Springfield on Saturday, March 2, 2019. Hanscome is joined by defensemen Justin Masteralexis (22), Gio Rivera and Nick Paul (9). —STAFF PHOTO/KEVIN GUTTING

  • Amherst freshman goalie Jon Hanscome, center, battles Easthampton senior forward Ely Boyle, right, for control of the puck in the first period of the Hurricanes' 6-2 loss to the Eagles in their Western Massachusetts Division 3A semifinal at Olympia Ice Center in West Springfield on Saturday, March 2, 2019. At left is Amherst defenseman Carter Beckwith. —STAFF PHOTO/KEVIN GUTTING

  • Amherst sophomore forward Kouji Ishuda celebrates his goal against Easthampton in the first period of the Hurricanes' 6-2 loss to the Eagles in their Western Massachusetts Division 3A semifinal at Olympia Ice Center in West Springfield on Saturday, March 2, 2019. —STAFF PHOTO/KEVIN GUTTING

  • Amherst freshman goalie Jon Hanscome, left, and defensemen Carter Beckwith (8) and Nick Foster (12) watch a deflected shot on goal by CJ Tenczar, top left, of Easthampton in the first period of the Hurricanes' 6-2 loss to the Eagles in a Western Massachusetts Division 3A semifinal at Olympia Ice Center in West Springfield on Saturday, March 2, 2019. —STAFF PHOTO/KEVIN GUTTING

  • Easthampton senior forward CJ Tenczar (32) celebrates his goal with the Eagles bench in the first period of their 6-2 win over Amherst in a Western Massachusetts Division 3A semifinal at Olympia Ice Center in West Springfield on Saturday, March 2, 2019. —STAFF PHOTO/KEVIN GUTTING

  • Amherst sophomore forward Jayden Blackburn, center, is pressured by Easthampton senior forward Ely Boyle in the second period of the Hurricanes' 6-2 loss to the Eagles in their Western Massachusetts Division 3A semifinal at Olympia Ice Center in West Springfield on Saturday, March 2, 2019. —STAFF PHOTO/KEVIN GUTTING

  • Easthampton senior forward CJ Tenczar, left, smiles after scoring on Amherst goalie Jon Hanscome, right, with 19 seconds left in the first period of the Eagles' 6-2 win over the Hurricanes in their Western Massachusetts Division 3A semifinal at Olympia Ice Center in West Springfield on Saturday, March 2, 2019. Amherst defenseman Justin Masteralexis is at center. —STAFF PHOTO/KEVIN GUTTING

  • Amherst sophomore forward Jayden Blackburn, left, regains control of the puck from Easthampton senior forward Ely Boyle in the second period of the Hurricanes' 6-2 loss to the Eagles in their Western Massachusetts Division 3A semifinal at Olympia Ice Center in West Springfield on Saturday, March 2, 2019. —STAFF PHOTO/KEVIN GUTTING

  • Amherst sophomore forward Jayden Blackburn, at net, scores on Easthampton goalie Tyler Cortis (40) in the second period of the Hurricanes' 6-2 loss to the Eagles in their Western Massachusetts Division 3A semifinal at Olympia Ice Center in West Springfield on Saturday, March 2, 2019. Blackburn is followed by Amherst defensemen Nick Foster (12) and Gio Rivera (4). Cortis is joined by Easthampton defensemen Jake Delisle (8) and Bryan Dudas (24). —STAFF PHOTO/KEVIN GUTTING

  • Easthampton senior forward CJ Tenczar, center, celebrates his second goal against Amherst with teammates Jacob Batchelder, left, and Jake Delisle in the second period of the Eagles' 6-2 win over the Hurricanes in their Western Massachusetts Division 3A semifinal at Olympia Ice Center in West Springfield on Saturday. STAFF PHOTO/KEVIN GUTTING

  • Amherst freshman goalie Jon Hanscome watches Easthampton senior forwards Ely Boyle, left, and Mike McColgan chase a deflected puck that was out of his reach in the second period of the Hurricanes' 6-2 loss to the Eagles in their Western Massachusetts Division 3A semifinal at Olympia Ice Center in West Springfield on Saturday, March 2, 2019. —STAFF PHOTO/KEVIN GUTTING

  • Amherst sophomore forward Jayden Blackburn, center, is congratulated by Kouji Ishuda (6) and, from left, Gio Rivera, Chris Foster and Nick Foster after scoring the Hurricane's second goal on Easthampton goalie Tyler Cortis, right, in the second period of their 6-2 loss to the Eagles in a Western Massachusetts Division 3A semifinal at Olympia Ice Center in West Springfield on Saturday, March 2, 2019. —STAFF PHOTO/KEVIN GUTTING

Staff Writer
Published: 3/3/2019 8:29:32 PM

WEST SPRINGFIELD – CJ Tenczar didn’t hunt for his 100th career point. A win in Saturday’s Western Massachusetts Division 3A hockey semifinal was his quarry.

But winning takes goals, and Tenczar makes goals happen.

He noticed his Easthampton hockey teammate Garren Fugiel in front of Amherst Regional’s net and delivered him the puck. Fugiel one-timed the shot, but it was saved by Amherst goalie Jon Hanscom and deflected out to Jake Batchelder. Batchelder maneuvered around one defender and sent a backhand shot into the net with 7 minutes, 48 seconds left in the first period.

Tenczar received a secondary assist on the play for his 100th career point. His family taped a poster to the glass and unveiled golden balloons.

“Best feeling in the world,” Tenczar said.

It was the first of three unanswered Easthampton goals that gave the Eagles a cushion that they maintained in a 6-2 win over the top-seeded Hurricanes. No. 5 Easthampton, the defending champions, return to the title game, where a rematch with Belchertown awaits at 5:30 p.m. Thursday back at the Olympia Ice Center. Belchertown beat Greenfield 4-2 in the other semifinal.

“We have a few ideas and time to plan,” Easthampton coach Bill Griese said. “I’m excited to play them again.”

Tenczar followed the assist with two goals. He put the Eagles up 3-1 with 19 seconds left in the first period from Batchelder on the power play then made it 4-1 on a short-handed breakaway 9:06 into the second period. They were his 18th and 19th goals of the season.

“He’s been right on the edge, we knew (his 100th point) was going to come down to the end,” Griese said. “He already had the mentality to come out and play the way he played, forget about the one point he needed.”

Easthampton (12-7-3) pushed out to an early lead for the second time in two playoff games. Batchelder (three assists, goal) found Fugiel drifting in front of the net, and he blasted the shot home for a 1-0 lead 2:46 into the game.

“It’s a lot of preparation, we get everybody loud and ready, and we take that energy to the ice,” Tenczar said.

Amherst (16-5) responded to the Eagles’ opener in a hurry. Kouji Ishida beat the Eagles to a clearing pass and beat Easthampton goalie Tyler Cortis one-on-one to tie the game at 1 with 9:53 left in the first period.

After the Eagles scored the next three goals, the Hurricanes found some life when they received a 5-on-3 opportunity with 3:14 left in the second period. Ely Boyle was called for a trip, then Fugiel went into the box 37 seconds later for the same infraction.

Amherst didn’t score with the two-man advantage, but Jayden Blackburn finished a scramble in front of the net with 43 seconds left in the period. Ishida and Nick Foster assisted on the play to cut the deficit to 4-2.

The Hurricanes created opportunities in transition, but Cortis (26 saves) stoned multiple breakaway opportunities in the third period. He stopped Blackburn with 2:11 left, leading to chants of “Who’s your daddy?” from the Easthampton student section.

Boyle ended any Amherst momentum with 6:19 from Byron Dudes, and Batchelder sealed the game with an empty-netter with 57 seconds left.

“Their game play, they played it to perfection. Flood one side, and have people on the backside,” Amherst coach Mike Rousseau said. “Not being able to adjust to their game play, that was youth.”

Amherst beat Easthampton twice during the regular season. Once came in the season opener, and the second was when the Eagles weren’t at full strength.

“I put those two games out of our minds,” Griese said. “We came refocused with a new plan.”

Seniors Gio Rivera, Evan Smith and Jared Cutting played their final game for the Hurricanes. Everyone that had a point for Amherst returns next year, as does Hanscom (28 saves) in net.

“There’s three things we have to do: we gotta get bigger, we gotta get stronger, we gotta get faster,” Rousseau said. “(The future) is limitless.”

Kyle Grabowski can be reached at kgrabowski@gazettenet.com. Follow him on Twitter @kylegrbwsk.



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