Athlete Spotlight: Wahconah ice hockey's Mason Alfonso

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PITTSFIELD — Pittsfield High School senior Mason Alfonso and the Wahconah ice hockey team are on a mission this season. With the Western Massachusetts Division III-A tournament on the horizon, Alfonso took a quick break from that mission and stopped into The Berkshire Eagle offices last week before the Warriors celebrated Senior Night. Alfonso told of his beginnings in hockey with the Berkshire Bruins organization, through playing for a variety of different co-op teams in the high school ranks. Mostly, Alfonso's focus is on the task at hand, though, and putting points on the board with his linemates to get Wahconah to its ultimate goal and raise a trophy in a couple weeks.

Berkshire Eagle: How'd you get started playing ice hockey?

Mason Alfonso: When I first started I was like four years old, my buddy Brock Baumann and I would just skate and do tournaments around here. Pond hockey tournaments, and stuff like that.

Eagle: Did you come up through the Bruins organization?

Alfonso: Yes, a lot of fun memories playing Bantams and in the Gib Kittredge Tournaments with all my friends. That's what made me want to stick with it.

Eagle: What has been the progression of high school teams you've played on?

Alfonso: My freshman year I played for Taconic with the PHS and Taconic players, we had a lot of good seniors. Then my junior year we became Wahconah. It wasn't weird or anything. We knew all the players and stuff.

Eagle: Tell me a little about the run your team is on this year?

Alfonso: Our goal is to obviously win Western Mass. We haven't done well the past couple of years, because, while we were a good hockey team, we didn't work together well enough. That's really big for us right now.

Eagle: Was there a turning point for you guys figuring it out?

Alfonso: It's just that we're seniors now, so we want to push it more and lead, and get this team as far as we can go.

Eagle: What's the best line you've played on?

Alfonso: I really like working with Ryan LaPierre as left wing and Mikey Cullett at center, the one I'm on right now. We just work together well, we've been playing together since we were little.

Eagle: Do you have a go-to move on the penalty shot?

Alfonso: I usually like going with a fake shot, then put it on the backhand, then right hand and fire it.

Eagle: Who is the toughest guy in the league to match up against?

Alfonso: On our team, Owen Kroboth is a really solid defender. In terms of goalies, I feel pretty confident going into most games, though.

Eagle: What do you do over the offseason to stay in hockey shape?

Alfonso: Our whole team has been doing the MVP Camp for strength and conditioning, three times a week. It's a workout place in Pittsfield, mostly off-ice stuff.

Eagle: What's your top hockey memory?

Alfonso: Probably winning the championship at a tournament up in Lake Placid with the Berkshire Bruins bantam team. It's a really nice skating rink, it was a lot of fun. That's probably the coolest place I've played too.

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Eagle: Who do you watch in the pros to try and pick up things to add to your own game?

Alfonso: I really like Connor McDavid on Edmonton. I watch the Bruins a lot too, but McDavid's speed is something I look at, he's so fast and can get around defenders so easily.

Eagle: What's your go-to spot for a postgame meal?

Alfonso: I like going to The Hangar for wings.

Eagle: Do you have plans for next year after graduation?

Alfonso: I'm going to Westfield State University to study criminal justice.

Eagle: How'd you land on that?

Alfonso: I want to be a cop, so that was a good program. My uncle is a cop, Joe Abderhalden, in Pittsfield. I've talked with him about it.

Eagle: What's a better feeling; scoring a goal or laying out a strong hit?

Alfonso: I think scoring a goal. I'm more of a finesse player, so I like scoring.

Eagle: What's the best movie you saw last year?

Alfonso: I really liked that war movie, 1917.

Eagle: What's the best coaching or advice you've gotten in hockey?

Alfonso: Just pick your head up and shoot.

Eagle: You or anybody on your team have any big superstitions for big games?

Alfonso: I don't really. Jake likes to take pregame showers.

Eagle: At this point of the season, what are you guys thinking about what's to come?

Alfonso: We've just got to keep finishing out games strong and not do anything stupid that could get us disciplined.

Eagle: At this point of the season, what are you guys thinking about what's to come?

Alfonso: We've just got to keep finishing out games strong and not do anything stupid that could get us disciplined. We've got a lot of good young guys we're trying to set an example for. I hope this team keeps going and makes the playoffs next year too.

This interview was conducted, edited and condensed by Mike Walsh.


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