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New Jersey Preseason Top 10: Chase is on to unseat Delbarton

New Jersey Top 10 Poll

RankTeamPR*WLT
1Delbarton2712
2Don Bosco Prep2071
3St. Augustine1084
4Pope John2033
5Ridge2361
6Christian Brothers1654
7Randolph1394
8Glen Rock2234
9Southern Regional1881
10Summit1682

#1 Delbarton (27-1-2): The Green Wave lost just once in 30 contests and went on to capture the Gordon Cup and NJSIAA Private championship. But the club needs to replace nearly half of its goal-scoring output. Coach Bruce Shatel, entering his 17th season, will rely on returning forwards Nick Siffringer (12 goals) and Andrew Bosland (17 goals), and James Falivene (seven goals) will make up the slack. The defense, which yielded just 33 goals in 30 games in 2017, looks strong again anchored by rearguards Jalen Kaplan, Bayard Hall and Hunter Macy.

#2 Don Bosco Prep (20-7-1) Aside from keeping a stronghold on the Bergen County Tournament – the Ironmen have won the past six BCT titles – Don Bosco will again be on a mission to claim its first state championship. Offensively, the Ironmen are well-stocked with forwards Mickey Burns (26-31-57), Tsubasa Konishi (17-22-39), Tyler Sedlak (15-23-38), Liam McLinskey (13-17-30) and Graham Garlasco (4-7-11) all returning. Defensemen John Campomenosi, Thomas Schweighardt, George Weiner and Tristan Frese form a strong blueline rotation. Junior Max Schwartz will take command in goal.

Jacob Creasy
St. Augustine

#3 St. Augustine Prep (10-8-4) The Hermits generated a bunch of quality shots throughout much of last season and they’re intent on doing the same, only finishing more this season. St. Augustine is always a hustling, swift-skating club and coach Tim Fingerhut is counting on forwards Matt Boczar (5-4-9), Dominic Guido (2-4-6) and Kyle Knight putting away those scoring opportunities. Jared Hannah is a reliable blueliner and newcomers Zach Minafo (C), Julian Boisclair (LW) and Jacob Creasy (D) should emerge as solid performers. Ben Sheehan, who allowed just five goals on 59 shots, takes over in goal.

#4 Pope John (20-3-3) Last winter was one to remember, and coach Ryan Brown is hoping his team can respond with another solid campaign. The Sussex County team posted its first 20-win season since 2004, advanced to its first Gordon Cup final, and skated to the NJSIAA Private tournament semifinal for the second time in its history. The Lions have moved up to the Gordon Conference American Division and will face Delbarton, CBA, St. Augustine and Don Bosco twice in the regular season. Forwards Eric Vanderhoff, Ryan Stevens and Chris Walako combined for 46 goals and should top those numbers. Steven Spetz (2-17-19) is impressive on defense and Matt Schoer (13-3-1, 1.77 GAA, .936 save percentage), one of the top goalies in the state last year, returns to anchor the Lions defense.

Liam Tormey
Ridge

#5 Ridge (23-6-1) Coach Tim Mullin carries a 358-132-66 career record into the season and is expecting the Red Devils to have another tough stretch in the highly competitive Skyland Conference. Ridge garnered its first state title (NJSIAA Public A) since 2008, and returns a strong core from that squad. Leading the way is senior goalie Chris Amrozy (18-5-1, 2.11 GAA), who stopped 18 shots in Ridge’s 2-1 win over Watchung Hills in the Public A final last year. Forward Alex Konovalov had an impressive 23-goal ledger in 2017. Look for another breakout year from the junior forward. Liam Tormey (9-5-14), Connor Villa (9-3-12) and Luke Rich (4-3-7) are back as well. The blue line has depth with seniors Matt Fabiunke (2-12-14), Spencer Charleston (4-12-16) and West Hobson.

Will Hilfiker
Christian Brothers

#6 Christian Brothers Academy (16-5-4) The Colts have graduated 19 skaters over the last two seasons, so could this be a minor rebuilding season? Perhaps, but the Lincroft school has skilled players returning in forwards Dean DiFazio (11-11-22), Liam Noonan (8-7-15) and Nicholas Lidondici (8-13-21). The Colts, the lone team to defeat top-ranked Delbarton last season, do boast two solid goaltenders in Brendan Behan (7-2-1, 1.30 GAA) and Jake Brown (6-3-3, 2.15 GAA). Coach Ryan Bogan is looking for incoming defensemen Will Hilfiker and Logan Heroux and forward Kyle Contessa to all make an impact this winter.

Nick Lidondici
Christian Brothers

#7 Randolph (13-9-4): Veteran coach Rich McLaughlin is six victories shy of his 400th career decision and looks to guide the Rams to their ninth state championship along with the hopes of a fifth Mennen Cup. The always-defensively structured Randolph, which dropped a 4-2 decision to eventual champion Ridge last year in a NJSIAA Public A semifinal, will rely on steady goalie Scott Kimiecik (1.23 GAA, .924 save-percentage). Offensively, the Rams will look to Will Zimmer (10-11-21) and Nick Civetta (10-8-18) for production. Watch for newcomers Tom Cislo and Mike Sofia, both defensemen, to make an impact.

Eddie Corvelli
Glen Rock

#8 Glen Rock (22-3-4): The Panthers are preparing for an encore performance after winning the NJSIAA Public B crown (their first) and the Big North Gold Cup in 2017. Entering his second season in command, coach Anthony Yelovich retains an impressive forward foursome to send over the boards in Eddie Corvelli (17-16-33), Matt Maselli (17-21-38), John LaMacchia (9-18-27) and Derek Kelly (7-14-21). Glen Rock will again be a tough club to skate against, and Yelovich has high hopes for newcomers in sophomore forward Tate Whalen and freshman Anthony Maurice.

#9 Southern Regional (18-8-1) Coach Matt Hayes has fashioned a 77-31-12 log over the past five seasons guiding the Rams, who are ready to rebound from last winter’s 3-2 overtime loss to Princeton in the NJSIAA Public A second round. Southern has its sights on the Shore Conference/South division crown, Shore Conference tournament title and the Public A championship. In that regard, the Rams have talented players back at key positions beginning with goalie Cameron Conrad, who posted a strong season in 2017 that featured a .923 save-percentage. Other key returnees include defenseman Paul Keyes (12-27-39) and forwards David Lytle (24-11-35) and Hunter Bello (14-13-27).

Thomas Pryymak
Summit

Nikita Pryymak
Summit

#10 Summit (16-8-2): The term “Loaded” is often thrown around for teams in previews, but the term appears to apply to the Hilltoppers entering this season. Veteran coach Keith Nixon (306-231-48 career record) is back for another season. Standout goalies Wilson Lees (1.29 GAA, .940 save-percentage) and Nikita Pryymak (1.87 GAA, .930 save-percentage) helped lead Summit to the Union County Cup and McInnis Cup in 2017. The Hilltoppers have impressive depth up front in Will Vitton (19-9-28), Luc Radice (8-5-13) and Tom Pryymak. Johnny Puskar returns for his fourth season on the blue line along with defenseman Greg Moller.

Paul Bruno

Paul Bruno

Paul Bruno covered college and high school ice hockey for The Newark (NJ) Star-Ledger from 1988-2012. A 1984 graduate of Seton Hall University, he played collegiate hockey for The Hall in the Metropolitan Collegiate Hockey Conference. He also served as an intern in the New Jersey Devils public relations department during the 1983-84 season. Bruno later coached the Seton Hall University ice hockey team (1985-1987) and has covered the New York Rangers and New Jersey Devils training camps as well as the ECAC ice hockey championships in Lake Placid, NY, for the Ledger. Bruno, who has been a contributing hockey writer to New Jersey Monthly Magazine, has covered hockey for Sideline Chatter for the past three seasons.
Paul Bruno
- 1 hour ago