Both The Gunnery and Northfield Mt. Hermon were Elite 8 Tournament participants last winter. Both squads project as strong teams again this winter. Albany Academy has a new head coach in Mike Monti.
ALBANY ACADEMY (20-10-3)
Home Rink: Micael B. Picotte Field House
New head coach Mike Monti is priming his team to be hard to play against in all three zones.
In the forward ranks, the Cadets will return post-grad Matt Carlson, senior John Goldowski, junior Michael Lucey and sophomore Michael Murtagh from last winter’s successful squad. Bolstering the attack will be the arrival of a solid group of post-grad skaters in the likes of Cormac Hayes, Will Jennings and Sam Larkin from the Mass HS ranks, Justin Guelph, Chase Maxwell and Ryan Eccles, who could see time on defense.
Defensively, Nolan Towne returns for a post-grad season, while Sean Conlon is back for what should be a big junior campaign. New senior Matt Herrick brings his talents from the Jersey Shore Whalers and Christian Brothers Academy in the Garden State.
The Cadets graduated three goaltenders. New junior Tristan Neubert will battle for the starting position along with post-grad Jack Gatie.
Home Rink: Jackman L. Stewart Athletic Center
The Bears struggled somewhat last year, registering just seven wins. They need to generate some more offense this winter and do have a host of forwards back to do so.
Senior Aidan Thompson did lead coach Dan Driscoll’s club in scoring last winter, and he will be aided in the production department by fellow returning seniors Jack Whitney, Griffin Grise and Briggs Gammill. Junior Hayden Riva and sophomore Pratt Stetson are ready for increased roles.
On the blue line, senior Max O’Brien and sophomore Nick Donaldson are key returners in front of junior netminder Jed Baliotti, who saw the bulk of the action last season in goal.
Home Rink: Hartong Rink
After winning the Large School title in 2018, the Bruins took a step back last winter with a sub-.500 campaign. This year’s squad will feature a hard-working, blue-collar attitude.
Despite the departure of key underclassmen Ryan St. Louis (USA NTDP) and Paul Davey, a host of forwards do return, which will be a plus. The group includes seniors Henry Foster (18 pts) and Connor Sullivan, juniors Matt McGroarty (14 pts – Quinnipiac commit), Michael Salandra and A.J. Cerbone, and sophomore Andon Cerbone. The team welcomes in the likes of seniors Jakup Teply and Will Forrest, junior Gary Claps, sophomore Connor Welsh and freshmen James Shannon and Beanie Richter.
Second-year coach Michael Kennedy also has some depth on defense with seniors Jude Brower, Shayan Farjam and Jack Griffin and juniors Henry Dale and John Burdett back in the fold. Add to the defensive mix new junior Ben Presley and freshman Niko Cardoret.
Junior Alex Rohif takes over the starting job in goal. Freshman Brendan Holahan is new netminder to the program.
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Home Rink: O’Neill Arena
The Saints will lean on a veteran defensive corps and new energy in the forward lines to improve on last winter’s four-win season.
Seniors Zach Ricitelli and Josh Wilkins will be key performers up front for veteran head coach Paddy McCarthy. New senior Drew Arpin should have an immediate role.
On defense, senior Andrew Mancini (12 pts) and senior Devon Carlstrom will be anchors. Senior Cal Skwara (3.51 gaa) should be a fixture in goal.
Home Rink: Linen Arena
The Highlanders gave eventual champ Kimball Union all it could handle in a Elite Tournament quarterfinal matchup, falling by just a goal. Coach Craig Badger has brought in a host of talented players to supplement his returning cast. This team has Elite potential once again.
Seniors Alex Jefferies (57 pts – Merrimack commit) and Mark D’Agostino (28 pts – UConn commit) will spearhead the offensive attack, along with fellow senior returners Jeff Kopek and David Andreychuk. New senior Dane Dowiak, at Kent last winter, is a Penn State recruit. New junior Daniel Sambuco has already committed to Providence. Other newcomers to watch up front include senior Hunter Ross, and juniors Michael Casey, Joe Luff, Gavin Bloder, Matteo Giampa and Dallas D’Amato.
On defense, Gunnery will miss the duo of Jimmy Rayhill and Hunter Sansbury, both of whom opted for the BCHL. Seniors Zander Lizotte and Reed Dolph do return on the blue line and will mesh with the new quartet of Ethan Breh (senior), Alex Luff (junior), Eric Charpentier (junior) and Brock Massie (junior).
Junior Carmine Andranovich, last year’s back-up, is primed to take over the starting position in the nets.
Home Rink: None
The Owls, who play the vast majority of their games on the road, have beefed up their schedule, which is already underway.
Up front, post-grad Noah Patry-Dontigny leads a group of returners that also has seniors Manny Cabral (16 pts), Jerry Duckett, Sebastian Tigerheilm, Ronald Bregante and Ryan Davis, and sophomore Ezra Gale. Post-grad Will Cote and new juniors Simon Ellmaier (from Germany) and Meguire Naughton bring their talents.
Coach Brett Heigl welcomes back senior Tyler Drummond (10 pts) and junior Seth Robinson on the blue line. Post-grad Murphy Lepage and senior Nick Tocci will add to the mix.
In goal, post-grad Kevin Chandler will be solid, as he joins returning netminders Gavin Belton and Hunter Cunningham.
Home Rink: Bontecou Rink
There is excitement in the air at Millbrook, where coach Vinnie Sorriento feels his club should be deeper this winter. The team will have lots of new faces in the lineup.
A returning nucleus to work with up front consists of seniors Kyle Neudorf (23 pts), Andrew Kimball (10 pts) and Ethan Cott (10 pts). New senior Niko Rexine and junior Shane Albert should provide immediate success for the Mustangs.
Senior David Ciancio (10 pts) is the top returning rearguard. New senior Zach Bookman comes in highly-regarded, having recently committed to Merrimack. Senior Bauer Morrissey and junior Jacob Creasy will look to find their role on the blue line.
Junior Owen Hains, last year’s back-up, projects to be the man in goal for the Mustangs.
NORTHFIELD MT. HERMON (22-5-2)
Home Rink: McCollum Hockey Arena
The 2019-2020 edition of the Hoggers will be the youngest in many years. Coach Kevin Czepiel says it will be a good chance for younger players to get quality minutes. NMH did snag an Elite Tournament berth a year ago.
Expect senior Reese Farrell (25 pts) and junior Grady Friedman (17 pts) to be offensive catalysts. Joining the offensive crew will be new juniors Joe Solimine and Parker Mabbett and sophomore Nick Leclaire.
Senior Chris Throndson (12 pts) will be a defensive anchor. Freshman Audran Schneider hopes to crack the lineup.
Northfield does possess one of the preps’ premier netminders in returning senior Connor Hasley, who registered 1,483 minutes played and a gaudy 1.57 gaa. He has committed to Bentley.
Home Rink: Jahn Arena
There is optimism in the air at Pomfret, where the Griffins will be senior heavy and have some good depth up front.
Coach Matt Goethals returns his top three scorers in the senior trio of Kyle Tomaso, Tyler Bourque and Sami Hakkarainen. They will be offensive catalysts, along with returning seniors Tyler Mitchell and Joe Cantelmo and junior Cam Lowe. New forwards in the mix include post-grads Jake Hughes, Matt Lakus and Jack Sloan, junior Axel Risland and sophomore Declan Chapman.
Senior Ryan Kosinski will be a veteran presence on the blue line. New faces on the back line will be post-grad Vaclav Hes (a native of the Czech Republic), juniors Zenas Kennedy and Cole Brennan, and sophomores Phillipe Lamarre and Carter Rugg.
Goethals is high on two new goalies the Griffins have in post-grad Andrew Shearson and sophomore Kellen Beauton.
WILLISTON NORTHAMPTON (12-14-1)
Home Rink: Lossone Arena
The Wildcats finished strong last winter, winning eight of their final 12 games and the hope is that momentum will carry over for the 19-20 campaign.
There is some veteran leadership up front in seniors Jake Sacratini (20 pts), Matt Pimental (13 pts), Shaul Mitton (14 pts) and Tommy Harty (16 pts). Juniors David Novotny (19 pts) and Brandon Barrett are two more key returners. Adding to the offensive mix are new juniors Charles Monteith and Alex Latkovski and sophomores Wyatt Fischer, Ryan Deschamps and Will Gaca.
On defense, four of last season’s top six blue liners return for coach Derek Cunha in senior Mitchell Hansen and juniors Tyler Varin, Zac Gmerek and Hunter Wilson. Two new juniors – Will Tripp and Roscoe Eade – look to have key roles.
Williston should possess a formidable duo in the cage with returning senior Trevor Corsello and new junior Emile Savoie.