Published in the December 13, 2017 edition


LYNNFIELD —  Jon Gardner is back for his sixth year as head coach of the Lynnfield High boys’ hockey team this winter.

Last year, the Pioneers lost to Saugus 5-2 in the quarterfinal round of the Division 2 North state tournament. Lynnfield ended the year at 11-9-2 overall. Six players from that squad graduated, but 16 veterans returned when training camp opened on Nov. 27. 

 The senior tri-captains are left wing Cooper Marengi, defenseman Joe Mack and ring wing Tyler Murphy. Mack was a Cape Ann League All-Star last season.

The two assistant captains are senior center Kyle Nekoroski and junior defenseman Jaret Simpson.

 Junior Aiden Kelly is the new starting goalie taking over for Dave Langone, graduated last year. Junior George DeRoche is also back in action and will be playing left wing.

Gardner also welcomes a pair of transfers this winter. Senior Rob Brandano is a center-winger, who was at St. John’s Prep last year. The other transfer is sophomore forward Jack Hammersley, who spent his freshman year at Malden Catholic.

 The Pioneers had a very busy pre-season with four scrimmages as they took on Danvers, Medfield, Coyle-Cassidy and Bishop Fenwick.

The locals played their season opener on Dec. 9 and doubled up visiting Gloucester 4-2 at McVann-O’Keefe Rink in Peabody.

Lynnfield got off to a good start, leading 2-0 after the first period. The locals led 2-1 after the second and they outscored the Fishermen 2-1 in the third.

 Simpson scored the first goal on the power play, assisted by DeRoche and Mack. Marengi made it 2-0 after scoring a power play goal, assisted by DeRoche and Mack.

 In the third, the Pioneers scored their third power play goal of the day as sophomore forward John Simonetti scored, assisted by DeRoche and Marengi.

 With 51 seconds left in the game, Hammersley scored an empty net goal to close the door. DeRoche got his career-high fourth assist.

“(DeRoche) is a highly-skilled player and a great playmaker,” said Gardner.

 Gardner was pleased with his special teams.

 “We were three for seven on the power play and also killed four of their power plays,” said Gardner.

Kelly made 15 saves in net, as the Pioneers outshot the Fishermen on net 23-17.

 On Wednesday, Dec. 13, the Pioneers look to go to 2-0 as they travel to Pentucket-Georgetown at Haverhill High School, beginning at 7 p.m. On Saturday, Dec. 16, Lynnfield will face off against Amesbury at the Haverhill Forum, beginning at 6 p.m.