It didn't look good. For Ryan Ouimet, it certainly didn't feel good either.
Wahconah's all-time leading scorer had no idea what hit him. Or what was wrong. All the Drury senior knew was his shoulder hurt.
The Warriors were close to closing out a big 8-3 win over Hennessy League rival Taconic when Ouimet was hit into the boards from behind on Jan. 2.
"Honestly, at first I didn't know what hit me," Ouimet said. "I still don't know who hit me. I was just kind of thinking about what if my senior year was done. It could have been my collarbone or a separation."
It wasn't his collarbone and his shoulder wasn't separated. It was a minor dislocation, and thanks to a 10-day layoff between games Ouimet won't miss a single game. He's been cleared to play against St. Joseph's on Saturday.
"It was pretty lucky," he said.
Pretty lucky for both him and the Warriors. Ouimet's 31 points (17 goals, 14 assists) are tied for tops in the state with Catholic Memorial's Liam Coughlin according to MassHShockey.com. He sits at 138 career points. Coming into the season he was at 107 points, just 20 points behind Trevor Jamross' career record of 127 points.
Jamross wasn't the program's points leader for long. He set the record last season. Ouimet broke the record seven games into this season and continues to push the mark higher and higher.
"He's just so offensively gifted," coach
Ouimet broke the record by dishing out six assists in a 7-3 victory over Turners Falls in the title game of the Greenfield Holiday tournament. He was named MVP of the tournament for his performance.
"I was much happier with the tournament win than the actual record," Ouimet said. "Points-wise it doesn't really matter to me. Obviously it's nice, but I'd like to make it to Western Mass. finals or hopefully win Western Mass. this year."
Ouimet isn't the only scorer for the Warriors. Nick Montferret has 22 points on the year and Lane Grogan has 17 points to round out the top three in the Hennessy League. Six of the top 10 scorers in the league wear a Wahconah jersey.
Ouimet's versatility makes him dangerous from pretty much any area of the ice. He's just as dangerous passing the puck as he is shooting.
"He's one of those guys that you have to know where he is on the ice at all times," St. Joseph's goalie Andrew Leitch said. "I always try to look and be one step ahead and really think of what he's trying to do."
Leitch might have an advantage over other goalies in the league as he played youth hockey with Ouimet for the Berkshire Bruins. They are friends off the ice as well, but Leitch says during the year they don't talk strategy.
Ouimet's patients is really what gives him the ability to pick up points at will. It seems as though he always knows when to pass or when to shoot.
"He is so patient and he knows what to do with the puck," Leitch said. "It makes for a great hockey player. If you have the skills, being patient is a great quality to have. It can make you really dangerous."
Ouimet estimates that three quarters of his points came last season while he was playing on a line with Tanner Bird and Matt Prata. That team made a run to the Western Mass. semifinals, but Ouimet's hoping to take it a step further this year.
Unlike last year, Ouimet doesn't have a permanent home on a line. He bounces around between a line with Grogan and Montferret and a line with Jake Beckwith and David Senecal.
"It's hard to go out there, even when you're that gifted, and do it yourself," Disbrow said. "You can put defensive strategies in place to really slow one or two guys down, so having the depth and being able to move him around has really helped us."
Having the ability to mix up his top two lines adds a little to Disbrow's strategies during games. He can put Ouimet, Grogan and Montferret together for a powerful scoring line on the power play or late in games. Or he can keep Ouimet with Beckwith and Senecal for two very balanced lines.
"Ryan is always going to have a target on his back," Disbrow said. "Everyone sees the points that he puts up, so he's going to draw defenses to him.
"He creates mismatches and when we're in that balanced lineup he's going to see the core of defenses, so that allows the other line with Lane and Nick a little more space."
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