To start the hockey season, Nick Montferret said the Wahconah Regional team tried a few different combinations for its top line.
The Warriors had plenty of options. Three current players -- Montferret, Ryan Ouimet and Lane Grogan -- were among the program's all-time leading scorers.
Eventually, they found that the three of them on the same line was the way to go.
"The line as a whole is obviously pretty dangerous," Montferret said. "We all have a good chance to put the puck in the net at any moment."
The trio has also made its mark on the WRHS record books, a feat that seems to be a trend with Warrior hockey.
Grogan recently scored his 100th career point, becoming the sixth Warrior in the last three seasons to do so. Ouimet and Montferret reached the mark last season with Tanner Bird and Trevor Jamross, while Kyle Kasala reached the mark in the 2010-11 season.
As the now-three-time defending Hennessy League champion Warriors await their seeding in the Western Mass. Division III-A tournament, their offense is scoring goals at a rapid pace. A 13-1 win over Taconic was followed Wednesday by a 9-4 win over Chicopee Comp. Wahconah plays East Longmeadow to finish the regular season this evening.
Ouimet, the school's all-time leading scorer with 184 points, is the leading scorer in Massachusetts with 78 points this season. His linemates Montferret and Grogan, with 55 points each, are also in the state's top 10.
"I think, if anything,
Bird saw Ouimet's talent firsthand. They were on the same line Bird's junior and senior seasons. Both Bird and Ouimet joined the Wahconah program when the Drury program was discontinued following the 2009-10 season.
"[Former Drury coach] Jim [Waltermire] was a good coach, and so is Coach Disbrow, but we really meshed when we went to Wahconah," said Bird, now a freshman at Franklin Pierce University. "We really focused on moving the puck around. We had a great flurry behind the net."
It may be easy to just look at what Wahconah does offensively, but Kasala noted that without a solid back line, the Warriors wouldn't have the puck so much.
"They keep it out of the defensive zone, allowing us to be more aggressive," said Kasala, now a sophomore at Westfield State. "Kyle Palen, Ryan Kasala, Shane Kasala ... They're all good defensemen. Defensively, they kept us in the game a lot. Their plus-minuses were really good. A lot of smart players are the reason the goals happened."
Once it's in the offensive zone this year, Montferret said, he and Ouimet will find the right spots while Grogan drives toward either the net or the puck in the corner.
"Lane's always in the right spot at the right time," Montferret said. "He's always digging in the corners and getting the puck out. That's how it works."
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