BREWSTER ACADEMY (8-19-1)
For the Bobcats to be a team to be reckoned with in the Lakes Region race this winter, they are looking to play with a higher compete level, improve defensive zone play and attack as a five-man unit, according to new head coach Connor Bates.
Up front, senior Mason Meltzer and junior Christian Palm were among the team’s top scorers a year ago and return looking even bigger seasons. Another key returner is senior Boaz Sochaczevski.
Sophomore Travis Gillen had a solid ninth-grade season with Brewster on defense and will lead the defensive unit. Post-grad Maddox Muir (Bedford NH HS) should have an immediate impact.
Junior Andrew Melly is a returning goaltender, while freshman JR Bonia comes in and will look for varsity time.
With the luxury of five returning defensemen, don’t sleep on the Bulls, a Small School semifinalist last winter. Holderness should also be strong up front.
The Bulls return their top line intact in senior Caden Wells, junior Jacob Duval and senior Jake Boulanger, three of the teams top four scorers from a year ago. Senior Max Tong will be another key option. Add to the mix post-grad Pavit Mehra (Hopkinton HS), senior Aaron Vanwie, a Lindenwood commit, and junior Eli Chilicki (Berwick Academy).
Defensively, senior Caeden Herrington, a UVermont commit, will be one of the league’s top blueliners. Junior Will Rob have a huge blue line role as well.
Senior Ryan Nolan got some good time between the pipes last winter.
KIMBALL UNION (22-11-1)
The Wildcats are the defending Lakes Region champions and copped another Elite 8 berth (falling to Cushing in the quarterfinals). They look to have another strong team, with depth at all three positions.
“We have strong depth at all three positions, and a nice mix of returning and incoming players,” said coach Tim Whitehead, beginning his 10th season at KUA. “We should have good speed, skill, strength and hockey sense.”
Offensively, the Wildcats has senior Jack Sadowski, a UNH commit, and senior Sam LeDrew returning. They were second and third respectively in scoring a year ago. Other key returners are senior Kyle Murray-Smith, senior Malcolm Baar and junior Corwith Simmers. Adding to that offensive power will be post-grads Nathan McLean and Max Kimelman, both from Ontario, junior CJ Watroba (Pope Francis), a Merrimack commit, and junior Iain Olsen.
Providing solid depth on the blue line are seniors Luke Clarner and Jack McMinn, and junior Andrew O’Sullivan (26 pts). Junior Nick Evans (Malden Catholic) and sophomore Anthony Leetch will fit right in defensively.
Senior Colby Boyce returns between the pipes for KUA. Joining him in the goaltending rotation is new junior Blake McMeniman.
NEW HAMPTON (16-16-3)
Expect another season of hard-nosed hockey from the Huskies, who project to have an interesting mix of returners and new players.
“We need to stay consistent as a group in all facets of the game: preparation, intensity, production,” said fifth-year coach Connor Gorman. “I think our strengths will be the leadership we have from all returning players and the types of players we have. This group has guys who play hard and with jam, a staple of our program’s identity.”
Explosive junior Cam Caron (a Northeastern commit) had a huge first season in prep hockey last winter (47 pts) and is back to lead the offense with seniors Ben Moalusi and Dylan McDougall, junior Connor Pierson and sophomore Dylan Podergois. Some new younger guys hoping to make an impact are junior Jack Mombourquette (Halifax McDonalds) and sophomores Johnny Niemela (Golden Bears), Ray MacDougall (Halifax McDonalds) and Matt Homer (Bishop Feehan HS).
Seniors Kieran McNamara and Derek Helledy, and sophomore Harry Stubbert are back on defense. Post-grad Luke Moran (Boston Hockey Academy) and new juniors Conor Griffin (Austin Prep) and Broden Wood (Washington Little Caps) will bolster the blue line crew.
Senior Will Schremp and junior Andrew Knox, who both backed up starter Nate Zerrenner a year ago, return and will battle with post-grad Alex Lafreniere (Islanders HC) for time between the pipes.
With some solid veteran leadership, expect the Hornets to compete hard and be very tough to play against in the rugged Lakes Region division.
A trio of seniors – Finn Connor, Tyler Gwatkin and Nolan Davis – will be offensive leaders for coach Mike Walsh.
Senior Max O’Connell and junior Kevin Delaney were key parts of the Proctor defense last year and return to be blue line cornerstones. Add in post-grad Gerald Cahill (Dexter Southfield) and junior Aidan Myers (Jr. Sharks).
In the nets, senior Caden Pasqualone is a returning starter.
ST. PAUL’S (8-17-2)
Look for St. Paul’s to show some marked improvement this winter, as coach Danny Murphy returns a good core from last winter’s club.
The Pelicans return five of their top seven scorers up front, led by junior Matt Vohra and senior Lion Viau. Other key forwards back are senior Jack Stadheim, senior AJ True and sophomore Harry Dermody. A new sophomore to watch will be Andersen Kilbourne (Duxbury HS).
Senior captain Brad Cox anchors the blue line, where fellow seniors Matt Goldenberg and Christian Yi also return. New sophomore Brady Hall hopes to have an impact.
The top two goalies for St. Paul’s last year both return with a year’s of experience under their belt in junior Treva Murphy and sophomore Blake Truchon.
Graduation took its toll at Tilton, so there will be many new faces in the lineup for the Rams this winter.
In the forward ranks, senior Danny Storella is one of a just a handful of returners and will be an offensive leader, along with seniors Aidan Drjowicz and Ben Boucher. Coach Brooks McQuade welcomes in post-grad Sean Gray (Central Catholic), senior Simon Lemieux (Ontario), junior Kayden Yeaman (Alberta) and sophomore Max Gagnon (Central Catholic).
Post-grad Matt Cox (BC High) and junior Hunter Toms (Las Vegas) should have key roles on the blue line.
Two newcomers – senior Blaze Martonick and junior Marty Pierce – are in the goaltending mix.
VERMONT ACADEMY (7-19-2)
With strong goaltending and more depth up front, the Wildcats should be able to continue their upward trend.
Catalysts at forward for coach Brian Allen will be returning seniors Shane Prusak and Ivan Miasoedenkov, and juniors Lucas Sinacola, Logan Sinacola and Cole Robinson. Three new sophomores – Blake Postles (Rocky Mt. Roughriders), Alexander Reed (Nashville Jr. Preds) and Levi Jones (Champions Hockey Academy), and junior Jack Marilley (Loyola HS) are look to show what they can do.
Senior veterans Mathison Hole and Nate Gagnon, and junior Tristen Ayojiak are ready to handle things in the defensive zone. Freshman Hayden Postles (Littleton Hawks) hopes to chip in.
Seniors Owen Willgos and James Mikos both return from last winter’s club in goal.