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Boys Prep West Independents: Gunnery looks for an encore

Coming off a 23-win season and with a seasoned and experienced group heading into this winter, things are looking positive for Albany Academy (23-12-0).

The Cadets will have some depth on the forward lines, paced by returning seniors Brendan Schneider (35 pts) and David Cohen (18 pts). Coach Brett Riley brought in a talented group of newcomers, headed by post-grads Josh Chapman (Army commit), Cooper Norton and Remy Parker, senior Casey Rhodes and junior J.J. Fecteau.

Senior captain Justin Geary (18 pts) is a solid leader on the Albany blue line. New seniors Jordan Bonner and Brendan Lanning should help right off the bat.

Post-grad Brandon Collett will be in the mix for the starting goaltender’s job.

Kyle Koopman Berkshire

Kyle Koopman
Berkshire

Nick Botticelli Berkshire

Nick Botticelli
Berkshire

Matt Koopman Berkshire

Matt Koopman
Berkshire

A strong veteran defense and some firepower up front could translate into a nice season for Berkshire (13-12-3).

Senior and Providence commit Matt Koopman (38 pts) will drive things offensively for coach Dan Driscoll along with fellow returning senior Ryan Keelan (27 pts). Senior Nick Palumbo and junior Thomas Sogard return up front as well. Adding their talents will be post-grad Nick Botticelli, new junior Jesse Lycan and freshman Briggs Gammill.

On the blue line, senior Kyle Koopman (13 pts, also a Providence commit) headines a returning group of six rearguards, a group that also welcomes back seniors Colin O’Connor and Drew Pitcher, and juniors Billy Zegras, Kevin Hurley and Mark Driscoll.

New junior Thomas Draper projects to see time in the Bears net.

Fresh off its first-ever Elite Tournament playoff berth, Brunswick (21-8-2) will rely on good team defense and secondary scoring if it can match last season’s success and qualify for the post-season.

Coach Ron VanBelle will look to senior Christian LeSueur (Dartmouth commit) and senior Nick VanBelle to be the leaders offensively for the Bruins. New junior Jack Forrest will provide depth.

Defensively, senior Grey Owens and junior Ryan Carmichael, both returners, will have key roles. Look for new sophomore Cooper Moore to chip in.

In goal, senior Strauss Mann looks to take over full time with the graduation of workhorse Brian Ketchabew, now at Williams.

In order to improve on last season’s mark, Canterbury (10-13-6) will need to replace five of its top six scorers lost to graduation. The Saints will rely on a veteran defensive corp.

Seniors Ryan Mark (11pts) and Connor Amsley (17 pts) will be key marksmen up front for coach Paddy McCarthy. Look for post-grad Billy McNally to be involved heavily in the offense.

Matt Danner Gunnery

Matt Danner
Gunnery

That veteran defense will be anchored by returning seniors Matt Cousino (13 pts), Nick Parody (10 pts) and Mitchell Glabicki.

Zach Pellegrino Gunnery

Zach Pellegrino
Gunnery

After being so close for a few years, Gunnery (27-6-1) finally broke through, winning the school’s first New England Elite title this past March. Coach Craig Badger welcomes a host of new guys to the program and how they interact with the returners will dictate if the Highlanders can challenge again this winter.

Senior Matt Danner (25 pts) is the top returning point-getter for Gunnery, just ahead of junior Zach Pellegrino (23 pts). They lead the group of returning forwards that also includes senior captain Noah Williams and juniors Albert Washco and Riley Brennan. Post-grad Tyler Scott will have a role, while junior Ryan Brassil and sophomores Kyle Madigan and Max Debaradinis hope to challenge for key spots.

Senior rocks Keelan Ulnick and Alex Wilkins will be bookends on the Gunnery blue line. New junior Diarmad Dimurro has committed to Dartmouth. Sophomore Niko Ioannou will look for defensive minutes.

Two new goalies – senior Nick Vannka and junior Cedrick Andree – join the program.

Harvey School (5-11-3) will be solid defensively, but will need to produce more offense if it is to improve on last season. The Cavaliers participate in the Falrchester Athletic League.

Coach Alex Morse will look to junior Alex McLean (19 pts) and seniors Muss Ibrahim (14 pts) and Kevin Zhang to spark the offense. Senior Alex Appel spearheads the defense in front of returning sophomore goalie Ryan Goodliffe.

Looking to contribute right away are new juniors Cian Keohane and Mathew Mutalski, sophomores Brian Cicero and Jude Brower, and freshman Michael Martirano.

Kevin Drevitch Millbrook

Kevin Drevitch
Millbrook

With as many as 15 new faces, Millbrook (14-13-2) should have plenty of depth. How the group meshes with the returning crew will determine how far the Mustangs can go this season.

Up front, senior Gideon Cooper and junior Kevin Drevitch return as two of the team’s top scorers a year ago. They will be bolstered with the arrival of junior Zach Taylor and junior Richard Pichura, both from the Syracuse Stars U16 program.

Defensively, expect returning seniors Alex Sheehy and Connor Cruickshank, along with post-grad Sean Hayden, to see a lot of minutes for coach Vincent Sorriento.

Devan Tongue Northfield

Devan Tongue
Northfield

Northfield Mt. Hermon (5-20-0) welcomes a new coach in former player Kevin Czepiel, who says the Hoggers will need to lean on defense and goaltending to carry them through a tough schedule.

Two defensemen to watch will be junior Eric Fornier and sophomore Mike Kennedy, both returning from last winter’s club. Post-grad Jake Rasch will provide solid depth. Junior Eric Green is a returning goaltender with the program.

A couple of new forwards to keep an eye on: junior Kyle Kazeroid and sophomore Devan Tongue, both from the Pope Francis program.

Peter Simeone Pomfret

Peter Simeone
Pomfret

A good recruiting class and a solid nucleus of returners has the braintrust at Pomfret (9-19-0) optimistic about a solid season. “Sound team defense, improved puck possession and improved special teams play will be important,” says third-year coach Matt Goethals.

Chris Kral Pomfret

Chris Kral
Pomfret

Senior veterans Jon Beniers (26 pts) and Brandon Mitchell (20 pts) will be offensive sparkplugs for the Griffins. Post-grads Peter Simeone, Chris Kral and Phil Satin will bring their experience. Also new to the fold up front are juniors Garrett Tiberi, Billy Berry, Jared Beniers and Michael Dorfman, and sophomores Dylan Weishelbaumer, Ryan Saunders and Sean Hurley.

Juniors Jimmy Manning and Nate Gentile will be blue line leaders, helped by newcomers Sean Conley (post-grad), Alexandre Rondeau (junior) and Ryan Koskinski (freshman).

Sophomore Peyton Durand is a returning goalie who saw spot duty last winter. He will be joined between the pipes by new junior Thomas Lemire.

Williston (9-17-0) returns nine forwards with prep school experience, but will have a lot of new faces on defense, so immediate impacts from some of the new blue liners will be crucial.

Nick Schofield Williston

Nick Schofield
Williston

J.T. Chamberlain Williston

J.T. Chamberlain
Williston

JoJo Carbone Williston

JoJo Carbone
Williston

Nick Day Williston

Nick Day
Williston

Seniors Nick Schofield (27 pts) and JoJo Carbone (23 pts) will drive things offensively for coach Derek Cunha, with seniors Brendan White (12 pts), Owen Sylvia and Steve Gower, and juniors J.T. Chamberlain, Nick Day, Sam Milnes and Tim Fay stepping things up. New players include juniors Billy Smith and Brendan Hansen and sophomore Steven Townley.

Senior Mike D’Ambrosio and sophomore Kevin Lassman are Williston’s only two returning defensemen. Five new rearguards – juniors Connor Canterbury, Connor Power and Kyle Caddo, and sophomores Jake Durocher and Tim Rego – look to crack the lineup.

Returning senior Donnie Battimelli, and newcomers Xander Rogers (junior) and Greg Iverson (sophomore) will battle for the starting goaltender’s job.

Gary Demopoulos
Gary Demopoulos has been covering prep school hockey for the HNIB News for over 30 years, and has been the editor of the HNIB News since 2005. A former sportswriter and news editor at the Woburn (MA) Daily Times Chronicle, he has been the HNIB News' key reporter for Mens Prep School hockey since 1988, as well as womens hockey, both at the prep school and high school levels. for almost 20 years. Gary also helps organize and oversee HNIB's many summer tournaments and festivals for scholastic players.
Gary Demopoulos
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