By BOB YORK
Monday turned out to be rather bittersweet for Sam Lafferty.
It was a day in which the assistant hockey coach at Brown University – the school where the Deerfield Academy standout will be playing in two years – sent him a congratulatory text for being named to the New England Prep School Athletic Council’s 2014 Boys Ice Hockey All-New England Team.
That piece of good news was followed within the hour by a message that added insult to injury. On Sunday, Lafferty and his Big Green teammates learned that they had come up short of their goal of earning a spot in the Large School bracket of the NEPSAC Boys Ice Hockey Tournament. On Monday, they learned the definition of “short.” Deerfield missed the eighth and final seed to Proctor Academy – by .001 in the RPI rankings.
“Losing out on the final seed is bad enough,” said Lafferty, who led the Big Green in scoring this season with 55 points on 21 goals and 34 assists, “but losing out by point, zero, zero, one … now that’s a real bummer.”
Happier times are definitely ahead for this Deerfield skater, who may well have reached the coveted century mark in scoring had the Big Green made its way into the tournament field. The native of Hollidaysburg, Pa., finished his three-year career with 95 points, on 38 goals and 57 assists. Late this summer, he will take his talents to the British Columbia Hockey League for a one-year test run before venturing on to a collegiate career at Brown University.
“Being named to this all-star team is really something,” said Brendan Creagh, who has served as Lafferty’s mentor for the past three years. “There are 60 prep school hockey teams throughout the New England area and so you can just imagine how many hockey players that would be. (Deerfield had 24 players on its roster this season, so estimate close to 1,500 players).
“Then, of that number, you select only 12 players … six representing the East and six representing the West,” added Creagh, who pointed out that no coach could vote for his own player, “and that’s a tremendous honor. And Sam’s well deserving … he’s not only a tremendous hockey talent, but he’s also a terrific leader and a true competitor.”
Being named to the NEPSAC All-Star Team places Lafferty in an elite fraternity of Deerfield hockey players such as Ben Lovejoy, Alex Killorn, Antoine Laganiere, Tyler Kolarik and Rob Fried. Two other Deerfield players from this year’s team – Trevor Yates and Ryan Wolter – received some votes in the All-Star balloting, but not enough to make the team.
“I’d just like to have had one shot at that tournament championship,” said Lafferty,