Greenfield hockey’s Josh Bordeaux, Jack Laurie win Bessone Awards, Eathon Bryant takes home MIAA Sportsmanship Award 

  • Belchertown’s Charlie Fijal (7) backhands a shot saved by Greenfield goalkeeper Joshua Bordeaux in the first period this winter at the UMass Mullins Center Community Rink in Amherst. STAFF PHOTO/DAN LITTLE

  • Easthampton’s Pete Sullivan (25) takes a shot defended by Greenfield’s Jack Laurie (4) in the second period this winter at Lossone Rink in Easthampton. STAFF PHOTO/DAN LITTLE

  • Eathon Bryant with Boston Bruin President Cam Neely on Tuesday at the TD Garden in Boston. Bryant was selected as one of the winners of the MIAA Sportsmanship Award this winter. CONTRIBUTED IMAGE

Staff Writer
Published: 3/23/2023 4:57:47 PM
Modified: 3/23/2023 4:57:46 PM

Following a third consecutive Western Mass. championship, a second straight trip to the MIAA Div. 4 state tournament and another Wright Division title, three Greenfield hockey players were honored with some individual hardware this week.

The 2023 Amo Bessone High School Hockey Awards were announced this week, with the annual honors going to hockey players in Western Mass.

Each award winner receives a $500 scholarship. 

Green Wave goalie Josh Bordeaux was one of 11 recipients in total, winning the Bruce Landon Award for goaltending excellence this season. Greenfield freshman Jack Laurie was another, as he was one of four to be awarded the Aldo Altobelli Rookie of the Year Award. 

The MIAA Sportsmanship Award was also announced earlier this week, with Greenfield defenseman Eathon Bryant being selected for that honor. 

Bordeaux, a senior, had a career year in net for the Green Wave. He finished the season with a 16-6 record in goal, posting a .938 save percentage and a 1.72 goals-against-average. In those 16 wins, six came via shutout as Bordeaux showed why he was the top goalie in Western Mass. throughout his final season with Greenfield. 

“Josh has been building for this type of season his whole career, particularly since he became a high school student athlete,” Green Wave hockey coach Adam Bouchard said. “With all we accomplished this year as a team, he was the backbone of it. Six of his 22 games were shutouts which is amazing to think about. He gave us that last line of defense where you have the confidence as a team that you have what we always thought was the best goalie in Western Mass. behind you. It’s great he was recognized with this award.” 

Bordeaux took over for Riley Drew in goal his sophomore year and had big shoes to fill, as Drew had just helped lead the Green Wave to a state championship. 

He more than lived up to those expectations, starting the next three seasons and holding a .920 save percentage during his time at Greenfield. He also closed out his career with a 2.08 goals-against average, both numbers the best that Bouchard said he’s had in his time coaching at Greenfield. 

Bouchard saw Bordeaux grow into a leadership role with the Green Wave, and noted the respect he earned around Western Mass. with both players and coaches on the opposing team complimenting him after contests. 

“You saw this year that he really matured from a high school boy into a young man,” Bouchard said. “You could tell the respect and the friendships he’s made throughout the years playing hockey in Western Mass. After every single game this season players from the other team would come up and talk to him, take pictures with him and talk about how it was the last hurrah playing against each other. It’s not just how good he is as a goaltender, it’s how great of a human being he his. To see the respect he got from his peers on the ice and the coaches who went up against him, he’ll relish that for a very long time.” 

Following his FCHA career, Bouchard and the Greenfield staff knew they were getting a big time talent coming up in Laurie, but like all freshmen, wanted to see how he adjusted to playing against skaters much older than him. 

Laurie held his own, never looking like a fish out of water and growing as the season went on. He worked his way into a top four defenseman role with the Green Wave, seeing his ice time increase steadily throughout the year. 

He finished the season with one goal and 10 assists, his lone snipe coming in the Western Mass. Class C final against Taconic. He also was a plus-24 on the year, which ranked in the top five on the squad. 

“I got to watch Jack play through FCHA and his Viper season as well,” Bouchard said. “I was really looking to see how he’d adapt to the speed and size of varsity hockey. In youth hockey he had the ability to have an edge against kids his own age. We were wondering when he came to our program how he’d handle himself as a student athlete going up against 17 and 18 year olds. He came in and not only did he impress us as a coaching staff but he put himself in a position where he was playing in a top four defensive pair, playing power play minutes and penalty kill minutes. He was really getting top minutes which has typically only been done by upperclassmen.”

Bouchard says he is looking forward to seeing Laurie continue to grow, knowing the sky is the limit for his star freshman. 

“It’s super exciting as a coach to have a young defenseman like that,” Bouchard said. “More important than just his ability, he is willing to work hard in practice and got better as the season went on. He’s still getting better every day. Being top five on the team in plus-minus is truly remarkable.

“We’re really looking forward to seeing where he builds this offseason and we’re excited to see where his hockey career takes him,” Bouchard continued. “He’s a humble young man which we like. He comes to the rink and gets the job done and is humble with what he does. To see him recognized by his peers and the league as a top rookie is something we as a Green Wave family are very proud of.” 

Bryant, another senior, might not have been a captain for the Green Wave but that doesn’t mean he didn’t have a large leadership role on the team this winter. 

That leadership was seen both on and off the ice. Bryant finished the season with just five penalties despite being one of the top players in ice time as a defenseman for Greenfield. Off the ice he provided direction to the younger players on the team, making sure that the culture Bryant and the other seniors have built during their time with the Green Wave is passed down to the next generation of players. 

For that, he was recognized as one of 31 boys and girls hockey players around the state with the Sportsmanship Award. According to the Boston Bruins, the award goes to those who have demonstrated a record of respectfully accepting the rulings of game officials, a record of conduct on and off the ice that brings honor to self, team, school and community, a commitment to teamwork by providing all members with recognition of their talents, an opportunity to contribute to the team and spirit of camaraderie and demonstrated respect for opponents before, during and after games. 

Bryant was honored with the other award winners before the Bruins’ game on Tuesday against the Ottawa Senators. 

“Eathon Bryant is a tremendous student-athlete, hockey player, and even a better person,” Bouchard said. “He is a top pair defenseman that plays a lot of minutes at full strength and on special teams. Through this entire season from a sportsmanship standpoint, he has only amassed five penalties throughout the season which is quite astonishing seeing he plays around 25-30 minutes each game. He is not a lettered captain on this team but is a natural leader. He is the first to give positive reinforcement to his teammates and does a really good job of teaching in moments when needed as well. Always one of the first on the ice for practices, and last off. His infectious smile and personality will be remembered by his teammates, coaches, officials, and opponents alike.

“He meant a lot to our team,” Bouchard added. “He might not have had a letter on his chest but he was a leader and he showed the underclassmen what it takes to be a good teammate, a good person and how to do things the Green Wave way. We’re very proud of his accomplishments.”

Postseason awards have become the new norm for Greenfield, as the program continues to produce star players both on the ice and off it. 

“These are three great awards for our program,” Bouchard said. “I’m so proud of all of them and they deserve these honors.” 

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