H.S. Hockey: Playoff hero Bryan Baumann captures Recorder leading scorer honors

  • Greenfield’s Bryan Baumann celebrates scoring the game-winning goal against Lunenburg in the third period of the MIAA Division 3A state final earlier this month. Baumann led Greenfield and the Recorder area in scoring this season with 45 points (22 goals, 23 assists). STAFF FILE PHOTO/DAN LITTLE

  • Greenfield’s Bryan Baumann breaks past Wahconah defenders Mike Cullet and Owen Kroboth to take a shot on goalkeeper Jake Risley in the third period of the Western Mass. Division 3A title game earlier this month. STAFF FILE PHOTO/DAN LITTLE

Staff Writer
Published: 3/18/2020 4:39:08 PM
Modified: 3/18/2020 4:38:57 PM

All those “garbage goals” sure did help the Greenfield hockey team this season on its way to a state championship victory.

Leading scorer Bryan Baumann accounted for 22 of those tallies, which were not always the picturesque, SportsCenter Top 10 hockey goals for Greenfield.

Regardless of how the team scored, Baumann and the Green Wave got the job done on offense this season. He finished as the leading scorer on the team and, subsequently, the top scorer in the Recorder area for 2019-20.

“Last couple years, that has been my role,” Baumann said. “To put the puck in the back of the net. I was really able to step into it this year.”

The Green Wave made a point this season to attack opposing goaltenders relentlessly, leading to their “garbage goals.” As a team, Greenfield scored 84 goals in 23 games.

“We had a good system this year,” Baumann said. “Quicker shots, pucks on net and everyone crashing. A lot of goalies in our league struggle with rebound control. A lot of our goals are dirty goals in front of the net. We call them garbage goals. Just keep pounding until you hit the back of the net.”

Baumann had an affinity for clutch scoring in the postseason, with game-winning goals against Wahconah in the Western Mass. Division 3A finals and Lunenburg in the 3A state championship.

“We had a strong team that wasn’t afraid to get dirty,” Baumann said. “This year was different. Senior year, last chance, we really wanted it.”

It wasn’t all about scoring his own goals, however. The senior added 23 assists this season. A Baumann assist to Kyle Barnes tied the Wahconah game with 1 minute, 25 seconds left in the third period.

The Green Wave outshot the Warriors, 37-15, in the Western Mass. final.

Greenfield’s attack was so consistent that the Warriors began icing the puck with regularity to dwindle time as they protected their 1-0 lead.

Baumann was equally efficient at setting up teammates as he was scoring this season. He notched four assists in one game in a win over Ludlow on Dec. 26.

“I see the ice really well,” Baumann said. “In the last couple years, I have gotten to know how other teams play. Understanding the defense, attacking weaker defensemen. My mindset for the game helps me a lot.”

One of his highlights during the season was a 3-1 victory over Division 3 perennial powerhouse Longmeadow on Feb. 12.

Baumann scored twice in the win over the Lancers at Collins-Moylan Arena. Longmeadow eventually reached the Division 3 state final where it was named co-champion along with Hanover.

“A great turning point for me and the program was the Longmeadow game,” Baumann offered. “Being able to beat that team, who is a division above us and who went to a state championship.”

The victory solidified Greenfield’s position as a top hockey program in Western Mass. regardless of division, according to Baumann.

“We are viewed by the teams down south as just a hockey program,” Baumann said. “They don’t understand how strong we are. Beating the top dog in all of Western Mass. was awesome. Now everyone knows we are not someone to be messed with. We have a good hockey club here.”

Baumann did not expect to be the only state champion in Massachusetts. Every other divisional state tournament was canceled before title games were played over COVID-19 concerns. Teams were crowned as co-champs.

“It’s cool to be the only state champs,” Baumann said. “But I feel bad because I know a lot kids on that Pope (Francis) team. It’s awful. The Pope kids have been in it the last couple years and haven’t finished. This was their chance. You hate to see it just end.”

Pope Francis was scheduled to play Arlington in the finals of the Super 8/Division 1A Tournament last weekend at the TD Garden before games were canceled.

Heading into the spring, Baumann and his Frontier Regional baseball team face a lot of uncertainty. The MIAA has delayed the start of the spring season twice already, most recently to April 27.

“Trying to stay positive with only the delay,” Baumann said. “But day by day, it just gets worse.”

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