By Joe Mitchell
The Lynnfield High School boys’ hockey team enjoyed its best season ever under the direction of coach Jon Gardner and his staff, when they compiled a 12-5-3 record, before losing a heartbreaker to Wilmington in a Division 2 North first-round game, 4-3. The Wildcats scored the game-winner with three seconds left on the clock to pullout the triumph.
But that devastating loss to the 13th seed that was playing in the Division 1 bracket, before being dropped down to the next grade level won’t affect the Pioneers, who are on a continued mission to go deep into the postseason. They were the third seed, but had to play the Wildcats in Watertown during rush hour on a Tuesday night. It all added up to a frustrating set of circumstances for Gardner and his crew.
But the good news is that this is a whole new season, and what’s past is past, and they are looking ahead with a positive outlook.
Gardner, who is beginning his seventh year at Lynnfield, welcomed back 18, the most ever amount of returnees for him as a Pioneer coach. There are 10 seniors and 10 juniors that will make up the varsity squad to go along with three sophomores. Lynnfield will also employ a JV team that will include 10 freshmen. There are 40 players in the entire program.
“We have won more games every year than in the previous season, but this year might be tough during the regular season, because we have games scheduled against Westwood, Medfield, Gloucester twice and we will also be playing in the Boston Latin Christmas Tournament, instead of the Saugus Kasabuski Tournament this year,” said Gardner.
But come state tournament time they will certainly be battled-tested to hopefully go on a long run well into March.
Forward George Deroche, defenseman Jaret Simpson and goalie Aidan Kelly will be this year’s captains.