Ashland Hockey – Hopes for Another Tourney this Year

Christopher Tremblay
Issue Date: 
December, 2017
Article Body: 

Ashland put together a 10-8-2 regular season record to earn themselves a 15 seed in the Division 3 South Ice Hockey Tournament last season, where the Clockers took out Bishop Stang 4-1 in the preliminary round, but fell 5-3 to Nantucket in the first round. Having lost only two seniors, Coach Mike Roman is hoping his team can put forth a similar season and get back into the tournament.
“We only lost two seniors, but those two seniors logged a lot of minutes for us last year. They didn’t do a lot of scoring, but they were key components to our power play and penalty kill,” the coach said. “We have a tough road ahead of us this year, but if the kids listen, then we’ll win otherwise it’s going to be a long year.”
Two returning senior captains Mike Burman and Casey Rosen, both who play forward for the Clockers, will be looked upon to lead this team back into the playoffs.
“Individually, I’d love to have them both put up some big numbers, around 20 points,” Roman said. “They know what is expected of them, and being they’re senior year athletes tend to have big years as they get ready to leave the school. In terms of leadership, they’ll bring a positive atmosphere to the ice.”
While Burman and Rosen will be looked upon to guide the Clockers on and off the ice, Roman has a handful of athletes he will be looking to light the lamp. Senior Trent O’Connor should be skating on one of the top lines, along with time on the power play and power kill this coming season. According to his coach, he’s an energy guy and should be able to get the team some points depending on how the puck bounces. Last year he was teamed with Burman on a regular basis.
Junior Mike McSweeney, who took to the ice for Ashland for his first season last year, should he good play the game and is a tough, strong individual who creates havoc in front of the net. Brian Gazard, a sophomore this winter, was the team’s top point scorer last year as a freshman, and Roman likes his odds on putting up big numbers once again this year, Last season Gazard was paired with Sweeney and depending on how things shake out they could see time together once again this season. Rounding out the possible scoring threats will be sophomores Brett Erwin and Alex Amalfi.
Defensively, Ashland is led by the team’s only Tri-Valley League All-Star junior Jackson Hornung. The junior was one of the top defensemen in the league this year and according to his coach, he’s a great two-way player. His partner on the blue line will be Jack Merrill, who logged a lot of ice time last year and is expected to do the same, if not more, this year.
Other athletes to play defense this winter will be junior Cole Taddeo, a big, strong physical defender who is an anchor in front of the net; senior Steven Lowd, who played a lot of minutes with Taddeo last season, and JP Kirk, the team’s workhorse.
The last line of defense falls on goalie Mike Lowd, who took over the position last season and played to the best of his ability.
“Mike had a big year for us. His goals against average was not in the tops, but he played well back there and won us some games,” Roman said. “He’s a humble kid who is always looking to improve and plays the position with aggression. He is the last to blame anyone but himself if he allows a goal to get by him.”
Having tasted the tournament, the Clockers definitely want to get back there this season. Unfortunately, Ashland plays in the TVL where teams like Westwood, Medfield and Medway are the cream of the crop; Hopkinton is also a very tough team.
“It’s all in how you play the game,” the coach said. “I’ve had teams with more talent that won less and had less talented teams that won more. You never know.”
Ashland will be thrown right into the fire when the open up the season on December 9 against Medfield, but that’s exactly what the Coach is looking for – to see if his team can handle adversary.