Boys Prep Hockey – Keller Division Preview: Belmont Hill Rebuilds; Tight Race Expected In Competitive Loop

Gary Demopoulos
Gary Demopouloshttp://www.hnibnews.com
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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Defending champ Belmont Hill has some rebuilding to do this winter, but should be right in the mix with St. Sebastian’s and Nobles. Every league game will be a dogfight. The league’s only new coach is David Hymovitz at Thayer Academy.

BELMONT HILL (21-3-3)

Coach: Brian Phinney

It was a memorable 21-22 season for Belmont Hill, going all the way to the Elite 8 championship game. There is some rebuilding to do this winter, but expect the Hillies to be in the hunt. “The key will be how quickly the seniors can help to bring the new players up to speed,” said coach Phinney.

With two of last year’s key offensive parts having moved on – James Fisher to the USHL, Teddy Stiga to the US National U17 team – the forward lines will rely on production from senior Ronan O’Donnell, a Yale commit, senior Brock Cummings and senior Daniel Markham.

Harvard commit Matthew Biotti, a senior, will be a rock on the Belmont Hill blue line where senior Josh Doolan also returns.

There will be a new starting netminder, with Sam Scopa off to the USHL. Pre-season workouts will determine who emerges as the #1 goalie.

GOVERNORS ACADEMY (13-12-4)

Coach: Brian McGuirk

The Governors finished strong last season, reaching the Large School semifinals, and look to build on that momentum this winter and be a factor in the Keller Division race.

Coach McGuirk’s offense will flow through the likes of senior Michael Marchese (25 pts), senior Bear Brooks, junior Cam Russo (16 pts) and junior Michael Ranaldi. Newcomers Max Vieira (Bishop Fenwick HS), Tyson Scanlon (Worcester Academy transfer), Alec Babineau (Colorado Thunderbirds) and Kye Smyrnios look to contribute right away up front.

Rock-solid senior Jack Farrell (14 pts) is the anchor on the defensive unit. Senior Mason Sturm is back. Hoping to chip in is newcomer Ian Crowley.

Senior Max Lacroix is back for another season in goal.

LAWRENCE ACADEMY (5-15-1)

Coach: Robbie Barker

Michael Nigro Lawrence Academy

Graduating just six seniors, the Spartans are primed for a turnaround-campaign after winning just five games last season.

The offensive nucleus for coach Barker will feature junior Owen Leahy, senior Clarence Beltz, junior Michael Nigro and sophomore Ty Wood. Look for newcomer Brendan Hirsch (Arlington HS) to step right in and be a key player.

Senior Marek Thompson, junior Shawn Leary and junior Logan Neal all return on the Lawrence blue line.

Senior Luc Gagnon got the bulk of the minutes last season in goal and is back as well.

MILTON ACADEMY (9-10-1)

Coach: Paul Cannata

A good nucleus returns from a team that got off to a great start a year ago, only to be beset with injuries. If the Mustangs can stay healthy they will be in the mix in the Keller Division.

Forward leaders for veteran coach Cannata project to be senior captain Jacob Pohl, senior Mikka Kelechian, senior Heny Cohen and junior William Cannata. New juniors Jonathan Careri (Markham Majors) and Ryan Shea (Boston Advantage) should have roles.

The Milton defense will look to senior captain Jackson Faughnan, senior Mason Chen and sophomore Dylan Hunt for leadership.

In goal, the Mustangs can go with either senior Harrison Brown or new sophomore Sam Caulfield.

Austin Tasca
Nobles

NOBLES (15-9-2)

Coach: Brian Day

The Bulldogs should be a team that manages the puck well and be responsible defensively.

Although last year’s top scorer Ben MacDonald is now in the BCHL, Nobles does return a lot up front. led by seniors Austin Tasca (27 pts), who was second in scoring a year ago, Bryan Kearns and Evan Heath, junior Amir Jamal and sophomores Dennis Davidson, Ben Nakata and Kyle O’Leary.

There will be experience on the blue line with the return of the senior trio of Will Brophy, Brian Grant and Matt Tully.

Coach Day also has the luxury of three returning varsity goalies in sophomore Thatcher Bernstein, junior Tyler Bloomfield and senior Ollie Lamadieu.

ST. SEBASTIAN’S (18-6-1)

Coach: Sean McCann

The Arrows will be a young team this winter, but one that can’t be taken lightly.

Up front, junior Isaac Mitchell and sophomore Teddy Mutryn will drive the offense for coach McCann. Other key returners are juniors Matt Cataldo, Nolan Flynn and Colin Gorman, and sophomore Ben Merrill.

Leaders on defense will be returning juniors Aidan Connors, Charlie Leverone and Owen Lynch.

In goal, junior Pelle Russo returns after seeing limited time a year ago. He is joined in the rotation by new juniors Kam Carkner and Chase McCann.

TABOR ACADEMY (11-12-2)

Coach: Gerry Dineen

Coming off a season of learning and growth with a lot of inexperience in the lineup, the Seawolves this year will be a veteran crew. “Our team will be very competitive and will be a really tough opponent for every team,” said coach Dineen.

Alec O’Connor Tabor

In the forward ranks, seniors Jack DesRuisseaux and Xavier Vaillancourt both are coming off solid 21-22 campaigns. Juniors Keanan Dewberry, Kai Roberto and Josh Itri all look for big seasons. New sophomores Will Doherty (Marshfield HS) and Adam Quinn are two more scoring options.

Will Doherty
Tabor

On defense, seniors Alec O’Connor and Jason Zaccari will be workhorses. Junior Cole Estey is another key returner. New junior Brad Guden (King Philip HS) brings his solid play to the lineup.

Senior Gus Ackerman, who split goaltending duties a year ago, is back and ready to contribute even more.

THAYER ACADEMY (7-15-0)

Coach: David Hymovitz

The Tigers made a late coaching change, turning the reins over to alum David Hymovitz, after former coach Tony Amonte took an NHL scouting position. Hymovitz feels he has a team with many high-end returners and looks forward to a solid season in the Keller Division.

Vinny Sica
Thayer

Despite the loss of Gavin Cornforth, now in the USHL, the offense returns several top players, led by seniors Shane Taddia (21 pts) and Colin Richard, along with juniors Josh Halliday and Tyler Kelly, and sophomores Tommy Anderson, Kevin Delay and Brady Kudrick.

Graduation hit hard on defense, but the Tigers do return the likes of juniors Vinnie Sica, Brady Erickson and Ryan Bradley.

And in senior Beau Lane, Thayer has a returning starter in the nets.

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