High School Hockey: South Hadley holds off Southwick on senior night, 4-3

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  • South Hadley senior forward Ryan Tucker, center, is mobbed by teammates, from left, Aidan Sullivan, Kadyn Laramee and Austin Deren after putting the Tigers on the board in the 10th minute of their 4-3 win over Southwick at Fitzpatrick Arena in Holyoke on Friday. STAFF PHOTO/KEVIN GUTTING

  • South Hadley senior goal Anthony Cigal stops a shot by Noah Durfey, far right, of Southwick in the second period of the Tigers' 4-3 win over the Rams at Fitzpatrick Arena in Holyoke on Friday. STAFF PHOTO/KEVIN GUTTING

  • South Hadley senior goal Anthony Cigal stops a shot by Noah Durfey, far right, of Southwick in the second period of the Tigers' 4-3 win over the Rams at Fitzpatrick Arena in Holyoke on Friday. STAFF PHOTO/KEVIN GUTTING

  • South Hadley junior forward Joe Cigal (5), foreground left, joins the celebration after senior forward Ryan Tucker (22), at left against glass, put the Tigers on the board in the 10th minute of their 4-3 win over Southwick at Fitzpatrick Arena in Holyoke on Friday. STAFF PHOTO/KEVIN GUTTING

  • South Hadley junior forward Joe Cigal, left, takes a slide toward senior captain Cameron Pete after scoring his second goal against Southwick in the third period of the Tigers' 4-3 win over the Rams at Fitzpatrick Arena in Holyoke on Friday, Feb. 12, 2021. —STAFF PHOTO/KEVIN GUTTING

  • South Hadley junior forward Joe Cigal, right, takes a swipe at the puck being controlled by Brady Whittier of Southwick in the second period of the Tigers' 4-3 win over the Rams at Fitzpatrick Arena in Holyoke on Friday, Feb. 12, 2021. —STAFF PHOTO/KEVIN GUTTING

  • South Hadley junior forward Joe Meon, left, and Joe Consolini of Southwick battle for control in the first period of the Tigers' 4-3 win over the Rams at Fitzpatrick Arena in Holyoke on Friday, Feb. 12, 2021. —STAFF PHOTO/KEVIN GUTTING

  • South Hadley sophomore forward Austin Deren (7) controls the puck after a steal from John Lacey, left, of Southwick in the third period of the Tigers' 4-3 win over the Rams at Fitzpatrick Arena in Holyoke on Friday, Feb. 12, 2021. Next to Deren is senior forward Ryan Tucker; Southwick's Brady Whittier is at far right. —STAFF PHOTO/KEVIN GUTTING

  • South Hadley junior forward Joe Cigal, left, talks with his brother, senior goal Anthony Cigal, moments after Southwick evened the score at 2-2 in the second period of the Tigers' 4-3 win over the Rams at Fitzpatrick Arena in Holyoke on Friday, Feb. 12, 2021. —STAFF PHOTO/KEVIN GUTTING

  • South Hadley senior goal Anthony Cigal sets for a Southwick shot bound for his left pad in the second period of the Tigers’ 4-3 win over the Rams at Fitzpatrick Arena in Holyoke on Friday, Feb. 12, 2021. —STAFF PHOTO/KEVIN GUTTING

  • South Hadley junior forward Joe Cigal, second from right, is congratulated by senior defender Charlie Wykowski, right, and other teammates after his second goal in the Tigers' 4-3 win over Southwick at Fitzpatrick Arena in Holyoke on Friday, Feb. 12, 2021. —STAFF PHOTO/KEVIN GUTTING

Staff Writer
Published: 2/12/2021 10:00:47 PM

HOLYOKE — Joe Cigal scored an insurance goal, and the South Hadley hockey team needed to file a claim Friday.

The Tigers junior capitalized on a lax Southwick defense with 4 minutes, 4 seconds remaining at Fitzpatrick Arena, cashing in from the slot to give South Hadley a two-goal lead 30 seconds after it went ahead.

“They slowed up and stood back, so I started waiting up high. At the beginning of the game, I waited down low,” Cigal said. “I decided to wait up a bit and sit in the slot, that worked out perfectly.”

It appeared to just pad the final margin after Thenis Tsilibocos powered a go-ahead shot past Southwick’s goalie with 4:34 remaining.

South Hadley did just enough and left with a 4-3 victory on senior night at Fitzpatrick Arena. It was a night some of the Tigers weren’t sure they’d reach after the South Hadley School Committee initially called off the season before reversing course.

“It means a lot, honestly. At the beginning of the year we fought for our season. We didn’t think we were going to have it,” senior goalie Anthony Cigal said. “It’s so good to feel like we can play with our boys again one last time.”

Charles Wykowski went to the penalty box for elbowing with 1:14 left. The Tigers needed to defend for the rest of the game with four skaters.

The Rams only needed 29 seconds for Evan Iglesias to score from Aidan Jubb and make it a one-goal game with 45 seconds left.

Anthony Cigal gathered his team and told them to settle the puck.

“Relax and take your time and don’t over think it, you’ll give it to the other team and that’s another chance for them,” he said.

The Tigers, after a slow start and poor finish in their previous game against Chicopee, controlled possession in the first period. Tucker put them ahead with 5:33 remaining, finishing in tight from the right side after a feed from Tsilibocos.

“This one felt different. We were fired up,” Joe Cigal said. “We were looking for that one.”

Joe Cigal doubled the lead 1:30 into the second period with assist from Austin Deren. South Hadley appeared heading for a comfortable victory.

South Hadley turned the puck over in the offensive zone with 4:27 remaining, leaving Jubb alone against Anthony Cigal. The Tigers senior netminder remained calm and kept his eyes on Jubb’s stick. He didn’t bite for an initial fake and calmly moved left with him to snuff out the breakaway chance.

“Pretty easy save,” Anthony Cigal said.

A hooking penalty gave the Rams new life. Deren went to the box with 2:45 to go in the second, but it was a short stay. Johnny Blase buried a long shot seven seconds into the power play that cut the Tigers lead to 2-1.

Southwick’s Paul Whalley tied it 44 seconds later on a wrist shot to the top shelf from Jubb.

“We got up by a few goals and we thought, ‘Oh this is an easy one, so we’re just going to take it,’ and we lightened up,” Joe Cigal said. “We shouldn’t have done that.”

During the ice resurfacing break, South Hadley coach Larry Camus told the Tigers to keep going.

“Go out there and get the first goal, let’s put ‘em down,” he said.

Tsilibocos and Joe Cigal delivered.

“With nine seniors, I’m happy for them. I wanted them to get the ice this year,” Camus said. “When they turned us down it was disappointing. When they turned around for us, I was so happy for those nine seniors. It means a lot to them.”

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




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