Monday December 17, 2012

PITTSFIELD -- It's been a pretty good start for Brian Bonacquisti and his Taconic hockey mates.

The Braves opened their season Wednesday with a 9-3 win over Mount Everett and Bonacquisti scored a hat trick in the first period. Then to top it off, the senior left wing was voted the first Eagle high school player of the week.

"We always have that potential to be a good team because we have good players from both schools," Bonacquisti said. "This year, we are starting off well.

"We've been doing well in practice."

Bonacquisti's team, coached by Stephen Terpak, is actually a co-op between Taconic and Pittsfield. Bonacquisti said the split is roughly 50-50 between the two city high schools.

The player of the week got all three of his goals in the opening 15 minutes at the Boys and Girls Club rink. He netted his first goal at 5:10 of the period, got his second at 6:36 and completed the hat trick at 8:08.

If you use the term "natural hat trick" to mean a player scores three consecutive goals for his team, then that's what Bonacquisti did. Mount Everett got one goal in between Bonacquisti's second and third tallies.

Terpak's team can roll out three full lines and three full sets of defensemen. That, according to Bonacquisti, enables him and his teammates to push themselves on each shift.

"You definitely feel the competition for your spot with the amount of kids. You definitely have to apply yourself and push for it," he said. "It's definitely a lot easier with numbers to have that push on the ice. It's easier knowing you have guys behind you who can play."

Bonacquisti is a three-sport athlete at Taconic, playing golf in the fall and baseball in the spring.

Brian Bonacquisti is the Eagle’s player of the week.
Brian Bonacquisti is the Eagle's player of the week. (Kayla Galway/Berkshire Eagle Staff)
The first game he played was baseball, and he started playing hockey around age 6. He is entering his third year as Taconic's starting catcher.

He came to hockey a little later.

"It's a good action sport. You're always moving," he said. "There's a lot of hitting. It's a lot of fun to play."

Bonacquisti is the first member of his family to play hockey. He said that nobody else in his house was a hockey fan.

"We are now," he said. "When I was growing up, I told my dad that I wanted to play hockey when I was five or six. He never watched. He never followed the game. He loves it now. My whole family loves it now."

Bonacquisti cut his hockey teeth at the Boys and Girls Club. That meant very early morning practices when he was younger. It now means practicing at 9:30 p.m. with his Taconic teammates. That gives him, and his teammates, the opportunity to do schoolwork before practice and then going to bed.

Everything about the Club, from the dressing rooms to Mooney's Pond, brings back memories of the old days.

"The Club is old school. It's up three flights of stairs," he said. "You usually have everybody there. It's packed for a Taconic-Wahconah game, or any Hennessy League game, it's packed upstairs. It's a fun atmosphere."