Here is a look at the Independent programs from the West Region.
Coach: Matt Alvey
New head coach Alvey is optimistic that the Cadets will be successful this winter. With three PGs and seven seniors, the team will rely on that experience, especially in the early going.
Post-grad Theo Angelopoulos, senior Noah Carpenter and junior Jack Dalto are key returners in the forward lines for AA. Newcomers ready to contribute right away are senior John Manzi and the junior trio of Jack Darby, Luke Kurdziolek and Austin Jerzak.
Seniors Connor Meigher and Mikey Magyar will be joined on the blue line by post-grad Corbin Melie, senior Matt Zak, junior Carter Sturgeon and sophomore Leo Letta.
In the nets, junior returner Will Mizenko (6’4″) and post-grad Adam Casper form the tandem.
Coach: Dan Driscoll
The Bears are always tough to play against, and this year should be no exception.
Berkshire’s offense will be built around senior Ben Boren (Middlebury commit), senior Pratt Stetson, senior Cal Osterberger, senior Jackson Howell and junior Tanner Marsh. The team adds a pair of post-grad forwards in Boden Gammill (New Canaan HS) and Reid Capello (Rivers).
A talented blue line includes senior Nick Donaldson, senior Will Sinclair, junior Davis Kinne and junior Liam Bard.
Two new goaltenders in the program are junior Danick Leroux and Cole O’Donnell.
Coach: Michael Kennedy
There may only be two seniors on the roster, but the Bruins will still have skill and depth at each position and be tough to play against.
“We’re going to have to grow up quickly to have success,” coach Kennedy said. “I’m confident we’ll be right in the mix for a playoff spot. We’re all fired up to return to our normal routine of practices and games against our traditional New England Prep opponents.”
The nucleus of returning forwards boasts some talent, led by junior standouts Hank Cleaves and James Shannon, and sophomores Daniel Hu, Luke Drury and Hunter Speiss. New junior Eli Friedman is a Yale commit and will provide immediate dividends. New sophomores ready to contribute are Sean Gibbons, Brendan Giles and Drew DellaSalla.
The team’s two seniors – John Burdett and Maxime Sauve – reside on the Brunswick blue line, where the likes of Harvard commit Lucas St Louis, Collin Eschricht and Niko Cadoret also return. Junior Sloan Farmer will have a role.
The Bruins return two solid netminders in juniors Brendan Holahan and Will Baker.
Coach: Paddy McCarthy
The Saints will look to build on all the hard work they were able to do last winter durng the covid season. They will be some experience from top to bottom.
Senior tri-captains Pat O’Shaughnessy and Gavin Long will be catalysts up front for coach McCarthy. Two more seniors ready to go are Joey DeAngelis and Cole Heintz.
Canterbury welcomes back five senior defensemen – tri-captain Kyle Hughes, Cam Glonek, Cullen Mulhern (Providence lacrosse commit), Pat McKiernan and Evan Hall. Post-grad Peter Coakley is a key addition as well.
Senior Dan Gertz is a returning netminder.
FREDERICK GUNN SCHOOL
Coach: Craig Badger
Now in his seventh season as head coach, Badger says his club is really excited to get back at it. He added that his club will be very deep on the blue line and in goal, and that the forwards are a group “that combines speed, skill and grit.”
Senior Mike Murtagh, a UConn commit, will spearhead the Highlanders offense along with a big group of returners that includes seniors Ryan Novo, Julian Facchinelli, Sean Bradley and Aiden Lindley, and juniors Peter Unger, Mike Pizzo and Cael Dolph. Talented newcomers feature Evan Raines (Stars Elite), Kyle Smyth (Seacoast Performance Academy) and Nate Stachowiak (Jr. Sabres).
On defense, seniors Kiernan Gately (St. Lawrence commit) and Gus Hinckley return, to be joined by new guys Christian Wood (BK Selects), Sal Cerrato (Jr. Blues), Jason Fritz (Jr Sabres) and Luke Calabria (LI Royals).
In goal, Joey Lovullo (Jr Sabres) joins returning netminder Ryan Crowshaw.
Coach: Joshua Hoff
Two big goals for the Owls coaching staff were to find a goal scorer, and add some depth to the lineup. They feel that they have accomplished both.
“We look a lot better than in years past,” Hoff said. “For us to be successful this year, we have to really buy into our systems and play as a group of 20 players and not individuals.”
The goal scorer is Manson Alderson, who starred at Berwick the last few seasons and is a member of England’s U20 National team. He joins incumbent forwards Ezra Gale, Owen Atkins and Charlie Holt, all seniors, and junior Cole Elwood. Two new sophomores to watch are Noah Jimbo (LA Jr. Kings) and Sam Turkowitz (NJ Jr. Devils).
Senior Niko Panameno and junior Alex Panameno are a pair of returning blueliners. Senior Ben Williams is ready for a big year between the pipes.
Coach: Vinnie Sorriento
The Mustangs, like most prep teams, are looking forward to playing a full season this winter. “The group is excited to get back to normalcy after a crazy 2020-21 season,” Sorriento said.
Holdover seniors D.J. Walsh, Cristo Walker, Cullen Hennessy and Mike Lucey will anchor the offensive attack that welcomes in junior Daniel Urban (Roco U16), senior Connor Korpatnicki (Hamilton Huskies) and sophomore Dale Campbell (NJ Devils).
Four key defensemen also return in seniors Fab Mazarelli, Cam Lowe and Ryan DeSousa, and junior John McLachlan. New juniors Zach Walsh and Sam Renaud both come to Millbrook from the Jr. Sabres program.
In goal, returning senior Jake Hugessen will be joned by sophomore Tyler Spokane (Roco U15).
NORTHFIELD MT. HERMON
Coach: Kevin Czepiel
The Hoggers will play their usual tenacious brand of hockey as they look to compete in the Independent ranks.
Up front, senior Nicholas LeClaire and junior Frankie Hipp will be catalysts, along with junior Audran Schneider on the blue line.
Newcomers looking to make a quick splash are juniors Alex Ondos (Penguins Elite), Brock James (Berwick Academy), James Hooley (BHA U16) and Cade DeWolf (Stars U16), and freshman Oliver Morris (Anaheim Ducks U14).
Coach: Matt Goethals
With 13 seniors, the Griffins will be an older team with a good amount of depth. “We will look to play solid team defense and be disciplined in playing team hockey,” said Goethals.
A trio of veteran seniors return to lead the offense in tri-captain Nils Forselius, Declan Chapman and Matt Spears. Bolstering the offensive attack will be post-grads Tate Fitzmaurice (Hand HS) and Will Mitchell (Ridgfield HS), and juniors Aidan D’Urso (NJ Hitmen), Josh Testerman and Cam Geary (Martha’s Vineyard HS).
On the blue line, no less than four seniors return in tri-captain Phil Lamarre, Carter Rugg, Ian Wolanin and Charlie Fok.
Tri-captain senior Kellen Beauton will be back between the pipes.
Coach: Derek Cunha
The 2021-22 edition of the Wildcats will essentially be an entirely new team from the pre-Covid era.
“With that, there is a lot of excitement around what our new players from last season and this season can contribute night-in and night-out in our lineup. After a year that saw us have 66 practices, the boys are definitely more than ready to put on jerseys and face the challenge and rigor of our schedule.”
Senior forwards Daniel McKiernan, Gavin Havens and Connor Hagness will have much responsibility up front. Post-grad James O’Toole (Archbishop Williams HS) and new juniors Perry Gaudreau (Mt. St. Charles), Emmanuel Damianakis (Quebec) and Jayson Alegria (CT Jr. Rangers) will have roles.
The defensive unit will be completely rebuilt as the Wildcats return no one on the blue line. Goaltending should be strong with returning senior Ryan Hennigan and new sophomore Jake Henry.