It should be another electric season in the Housatonic and Founders leagues, which again boasts talented teams from top to bottom. Last year, Kent won the NEPSAC Large School championship, and Salisbury reached the Elite Tournament final. The league features a plethora of D1 commits.
Home Rink: Nadal Arena
The defending Large School Champions suffered some key losses, including underclassmen Alex Laferriere, Blaine Moore and Dane Dowiak, but expect them to re-tool in a big way with lots of new, talented faces.
Three returning seniors – Cornell commit Aidan Cobb (24 pts), Jason Kleinhans and Tommy Raith – will be leaders on offense for coach Dale Reinhardt. Bolstering the attack up front will be new junior Cole Watson and sophomores Ryan Remick (UMaine commit), Phil Feinberg, Michael Hurst and Dante Palombo.
Senior Matthew Perryman and juniors Mike Kwiecinski and Nick Marciano are back on the blue line for the Lions. Joining the defensive crew will be post-grad Simon Mandel and new junior Finn Martin.
Goaltending may decide the team’s fate, according to Reinhardt. New junior Jeremy Siegel hopes to have a key role.
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LOOMIS CHAFFEE (9-13-3)
Home Rink: Savage Johnson Rink
The Pelicans suffered through a sub-.500 campaign a year ago, but there appears to be an abundance of talent this year to get the club back on the north side of the .500 mark.
Offensively, Loomis will feature a trio of returning D-1 commits in seniors Alex Krause (25 pts – Dartmouth), Cody Hoban (27 pts – Dartmouth) and Anthony Cipollone (22 pts – Vermont). Also back are seniors Jake Sigal (17 pts), Tommy Costello and Adam Martin. New sophomore Oliver Flynn is a UConn commit.
Senior Kennedy O’Connor (10 pts), a UMass-Amherst commit, will be a leader on the blue line for coach J.R. Zavisza, as will senior Ben Ritter, a Dartmouth commit. Senior Ryan Armstrong is back, while joining the group are junior Jan Olenginski and sophomore Charlie Andriole.
In goal, junior Kyle Chauvette, committed to Holy Cross, is back and joined in the rotation by new sophomore Ethan Roberts.
Home Rink: Flood Athletic Center
Normally, losing 14 players would be a big hit. Not for the Crimson Knights, who have an impressive group of newcomers in to supplement a solid group of returners. Salisbury will be in the Elite 8 discussion again this winter, hoping for a return to the title game, where they have fell the past two seasons.
Coach Andrew Will brings back four senior forwards that have already committed to D1 schools in Lucas Mercuri (45 pts – Vermont), Jacob Quillan (33 pts – Quinnipiac), Matt DeBoer (18 pts – Holy Cross) and Cole Vallese (16 pts – Providence). Senior Michael Fairfax and junior Dean Bauchiero also return up front. An impressive group of new forwards looking for roles include senior James Cerepak, juniors Samuel Deckhut, Cole Eichler, George Vmvakaris, Massimo Lombardi, Tommy Rooney and Zach Payne, and sophomore Oliver Frontini.
An experienced defensive group will feature returning seniors Bayard Hall (Yale commit), Jarod Crespo (Penn State recruit), Bobby Metz and AJ Casperson. Joining that group will be the junior duo of Jake Lammens and Calum Chau.
Senior returner Nick Haas and new junior Max Donoso give the Crimson Knights a mature and skilled duo between the pipes.
AVON OLD FARMS (14-10-2)
Home Rink: Jennings Fairchild Rink
A year older and stronger, the Winged Beavers are primed to make some big improvements this winter. More than one opposing coach said to keep an eye on them.
Plenty of firepower resides in the forward lines, led by senior captains Gentry Shamburger and Tabor Heaslip (UConn commit). Junior JP Turner has committed to UNH. Also back are seniors Timur Alishlalov and Nick Cyprian and juniors Tim Heinke, Tyler Gordon, PJ Neal and Chris Aube. New junior Paul Davey (Boston College commit) comes in highly-regarded. Other newcomers to the program include junior Brendan Williams, sophomores Zach Peltz and Liam Verdoni, and freshman Nick Capasso.
The defense projects to be improved, led by Penn State commit Drew Tsakounis, a junior, junior Chase Ramsey and seniors Reid Shafer and Nick Young. Newcomers include a pair of D1 commits in junior Jason Marsella (Yale) and sophomore Charlie Leddy (Boston University). Junior Andrew Tortora looks to have an impact.
Two goalies return for veteran coach John Gardner in senior Andrew Capasso and junior Conor Callaghan.
Home Rink: Jackson Rink
Experience could take the Martlets a long way this winter. They return a veteran senior nucleus that will mesh with a host of talented newcomers.
Up front, seniors Jake Monroe (20 pts), Darion Benchich, Wyatt Pastor, Charlie Flam, Matt Lewin and Noah Kaplan will be key offensive providers for coach Tim Joncas. Adding to the mix offensively will be new senior Sean Hurley, junior Brennan Horn and sophomores Luke Holyfield, Danny Judge and Vic Barakeet.
Seniors Ned Blanchard (19 pts) and Ryan Pineault (Holy Cross commit) gives Westy a solid pair of cornerstone rearguards. A pair of new juniors from the Lac St. Louis program in Quebec – Justin Louette and Brandon Walker – will press for key minutes.
A starting goaltender will emerge from pre-season workouts.
Home Rink: Schmidt Rink
The Bearcats were a tough out last winter and there is no reason to believe they won’t be again this year.
A good group of senior forwards will provide the necessary and leadership for coach Mike Traggio. Heading that group will be Gavin Puskar (19 pts), Jeremy Abraham and Matt Tullo. A pair of newcomers ready to go up front are junior Jonathan Horn and sophomore Karsen Dorwart.
Defense will be a strongpoint for Hotchkiss, led by senior book-ends Nick Traggio (15 pts – Brown commit) and Jack Ferguson.
The Bearcats will have one of prep school hockey’s premier netminders in senior Henry Wilder (2.15 GAA), who has committed to Boston College.
Home Rink: Remsen Arena
More offensive production will be a big key for the Wild Boars this winter. Veteran head coach Pat Dennehy feels his defense and goaltending have the potential to be better this year.
At forward, senior captain John Russo, senior Zach Yokoyama (12 pts) and junior Zach Vandale (10 pts) are Choate’s three top returning scorers. Senior Beau Luther and juniors Charlie Aronov, Harry Meisel, Ryan Leahy and Ryan Sweeney are also back. Post-grad Ben Smith Foley, juniors CJ Stafford and Charles Greszes and freshman Colin Chon are ready to chip in.
Senior Bauer Swift (9 pts), senior John Buckholtz and junior Andrew Carmody have solid experience on the blue line. Post-grads Alex Suny and John Mahoney add experience, while new sophomores Mattie Grabbman and Thomas Lynch look for help out.
In the nets, senior returner James Dunne will team with post-grad Tomas Horak, who hails from the Czech Republic.
Home Rink: Class of 1993 Arena
A balanced offensive attack and strong senior leadership will be two keys to success for the Big Green this winter.
Senior Alex Robert (20 pts) will be a forward catalyst for coach Tim McVaugh, Colorado native Ben Zimmerman, a new junior, should be a factor.
The defense will be deep. Senior Eamon Doheny (18 pts) and junior Pierce Patterson (11 pts) will be vital on the blue line. Post-grad Jake Higgins, a Holy Cross commit, will step right in. Also looking for key minutes are sophomore Isaac Abbott and freshman Brian Grant.
In the nets, Deerfield must find a replacement for Thomas Gale, a Dartmouth commit currently playing in the NCDC. In the mix will be new freshman Justin Katz, a Montreal native, and senior returner Justin Prete.
Home Rink: Odden Arena
After a promising start to last season, the Rhinos cooled off a bit in the second half. They hope to start this season well, and continue throughout the year.
The offense will be built around a veteran group of seniors, led by captains Zack Tonelli (Brown commit) and Tristan Fasig. The group also includes Henry Molson (Colby recruit), Bobby Barrasso and Nikita Kovalev. Sophomore Thomas Ricciardelli returns as well. Expect immediate contributions from post-grad Nick Cullinan and new junior Wesley Carbone.
Coach Ryan Shannon has only two returning defensemen, so expect the duo of senior Patrick McLean and junior Max Willard to see a lot of time. With the open spots, newcomers Jackson Cook (post-grad), Zach Hahn (junior) and Connor Colucci (sophomore) have the opportunity to have big roles.
In goal, sophomore Mikey Roberts looks to build off a solid freshman campaign.
TRINITY PAWLING (10-13-2)
Home Rink: Tirrell Rink
Young skill and speed, meshed with senior leadership and resilience, will be the key for the Pride this winter.
A nucleus of four returners will guide the fortunes up front. Seniors Stephen Willey (2o pts), John Gellat (16 pts), and Taylor Ewing (14 pts) and sophomore Jack Musa (13 pts) all were double-digit scorers a year ago for coach Robert Ferraris. New senior Spencer Ryall was the top scorer at Hebron Academy last winter. New senior Francesco Santaniello looks for a big role.
Senior Christian Colantonio will be a rock on defense for the Pride. New senior Frank Djurasevic should step right in.
Junior David O’Keefe is a returning netminder for Trinity Pawling.