Boys Prep Hockey – Eastern Independent Team Previews: Dexter Southfield Young But Talented; Busconi New Coach At Winchendon

Gary Demopoulos
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.

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AUSTIN PREP (7-16-2)

The Cougars’ plan for year two in the prep ranks is to continue to transition into NEPSAC by building on last year’s debut experience. AP will have a new head coach, with Patrick Driscoll, the school’s athletic director, taking over the top job behind the bench.

Michael Bevilacqua Austin Prep

Three key returners up front will be seniors Derek Daley, Michael Bevilacqua and Nolan Mallett.

On defense, expect key roles from junior Emmett Bellow and sophomore Ayden Badrikian.

The starting goaltender’s job is wide-open and in the mix for the position will be new senior Owen Watson, a transfer from Catholic Memorial, and sophomore Liam Burke (Cardigan Mountain).

Despite Key Losses, Cushing Will Be A Serious Contender

CUSHING (25-3-4)

A magical season in 22-23 came up just short with a New England Elite 8 title game loss to Avon Old Farms. Despite the loss of several talented players from that club, including D1 commits and top two scorers Landan Resendes and Ethan Gardula, the Penguins should still field a highly-competitive squad capable of making another championship run.

Two key returners in the forward ranks that coach Paul Pearl will rely on will be senior Emerson Marshall, a 30-point scorer last winter, and senior AJ Sacco. Post-grad Josh Iby (Pope Francis) should make his presennce known. Also back are senior Brendan Agnew and junior Axel Favreau.

Expect senior Troy Maldonado and junior Tyler Russo to be cornerstones on the Cushing blue line. Senior Raphael Marcoux returns as well.

The goaltending job will fall to senior Marko Bilic and junior Zach White.

Ben Morgan
Dexter Southfield


A perennial power and Elite 8 contender, the Shields had a solid finish to last season, going 10-2-3 over their last 15, including a quarterfinal loss to Salisbury in the Large School Tournament. “We will be young but talented this year,” said veteran coach Dan Donato. “Solid on D and scrappy up front.”

Senior forward Ben Morgan and senior defenseman Liam O’Keefe will be two guys Donato will rely on for leadership. Senior Cullen Emery and junior Sean Leetch will be keys up front. Senior Carson Nickulas is back on the blue line.

Tyler Hamilton
Dexter Southfield

Two newcomers to watch in the forward lines are junior Tyler Hamilton and sophomore Joe Marchi, both from the Catholic Memorial program. Senior Cam Smith and junior Colin Rowe (Pingree) will contribute on defense.

New sophomore Colin Davis (Canton HS) will be battling for the starting goaltender’s job following the graduation of seniors Max Gatti and Paul Dalessio.


The Big Blue will have some new faces this winter, especially on the blue line, and success will depend on how the new guys react to the speed and physicality of New England prep hockey.

Coach Paul Tortorella, entering his 12th season behind the Andover bench, will have strong goaltending with the return of both varsity netminders from a year ago in senior Ben Skowronek and junior Chase Anderson.

Five of the team’s top eight scorers from last year are back to power the attack in seniors Ethan Skowronek, Sam Myles and Jake LeDoux, and juniors Grayden Robertson-Palmer (Dartmouth commit) and Peyton Militello. Add to the lineup new junior Rui Han, sophomores Kele Gregory and Alex Small, and freshman Alex Theodore, who has played the last three seasons with HC Pilsen Wolves in the Czech Republic.

New talent on defense for the Big Blue inclue post-grad James Delaney (Springfield Pics), juniors Zachary Skowronek (Team Maryland) and Chas Sabre (Blake School), sophomore Louis-Felix Beaulieu and freshman Matt Piotrowski (NJ Rockets).

Phillips Exeter Eyes Return To Post-Season


It was a rare playoff miss for the Big Red a year ago, but with a good returning group, coupled with some talented newcomers, a post-season return is definitely within reach.

A big plus for coach Tim Mitropoulos is the return of seniors Reilly Piersimoni, Beau Elson and Jack Gordon, among the team’s top scorers from a year ago. Senior Barin Masopush, senior Eli Pendergrass and junior Dryden Dervish also return and were double-digit scorers last winter. That group gets better with the addition of post-grads Nick Fasano (Braintree HS) and Ryan O’Leary (Pope Francis), and junior Will Cavanagh (Bishop Hendricken).

Three key seniors – Leo Wites, Tristan Fedele and Paul Schilcher – are back on defense. Post-grads Roger Davis (Exeter HS) and Connor Drobny (Lake Forest Academy) have joined the squad, as has sophomore Cam Fiasconaro (Bishop Brady).

With work-horse netminder Michael Salvatore having graduated, post-grad Brady Quackenbush (Marshfield HS) gets the chance to grab thet starting job. Sophomores Brendan Petraco and Lucas Mesika return from last winter’s roster.

WINCHENDON (10-17-4)

The Wapiti have a new bench boss in Michael Busconi, who is looking forward to getting the season underway.

Nathan Freelove Winchendon

Busconi will have some scoring prowess returning to lead the offensive attack in senior Eli Deener-Chodirker (Tufts commit), senior Broke Bergeron and senior Will Dumais. Junior Trevor Pellechia and sophomore Ben Short hope for increased offensive roles. Newcomers to add to the forward group include Liam Marek (Boston Advantage), Jake West (Jr Bruins U16), Declan Rabe (Maine Nordiques) and Cal Fielder (Worcester Academy).

Junior Johnny Harbour is back and ready to go on the Winchendon blue line. Joining the defensive crew are Nathan Freelove (Dracut/Tyngsboro) and Thomas Fabbo (Austin Prep).

Senior Gio Calvanese is back in goal, having seen most of the minutes last winter. He is joined by fellow returners Declan Sweeney (senior) and Dereck Namilack (senior).

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