The Cape Ann League’s lone Division 1 entry, Newburyport, took home the league title last winter and can be considered a slight favorite to take it home again, although there are plenty of teams that will be in the hunt.
The league’s lone D1 squad and defending champion made a tournament breakthrough last year, notching the program’s first D1 post-season win to reach the North semifinals. While graduation took a number of key players, 16-year coach Paul Yameen is confident in the experience and quality of those who return.
Senior captain and scoring leader Jacob Grossi-Hogg (12-14-26) and senior Pat Leary (8-9-17) lead the forward group. Seniors Michael Twomey and Robert Johnston, junior Tyler Koglin, and sophomores Ryan Archer and Colin Richmond all logged time a year ago. Junior St. John’s Prep transfer Ben Reynolds should contribute.
Senior Cade Beauparlant (3-9-12) leads a deep group on defense. That unit includes senior Thomas Greene, juniors Declan Sullivan and Stephen Jean, and sophomores Tucker St. Lawrence and Owen Spence. Senior Jackson Card and sophomore Jackson Marshall will compete to replace graduated four-year starter Ken Hodge in goal.
With a solid nucleus returning, the Pioneers should be in the mix in the Cape Ann League race, a race coach Jon Gardner feels never has been more wide open.
Senior tri-captain George Deroche is among the league’s top forwards and will be a key scorer, along with seniors Will Garofoli and Chris Flannery and junior center John Simonetti. New junior Sam Pifko is expected to chip in.
On defense, senior tri-captain Jaret Simpson and junior Danny Mack will be cornerstones. The third senior captain – Aidan Kelly – is a veteran presence in goal for the Pioneers.
After a 15-year tournament drought, the Sachems have now qualified two seasons in a row. The goal is to make it three in a row, and with some of the top young players in the league, it is a realistic goal.
The Sachems boast two of the more dynamic players in the league in the sophomore forward duo of Richie Hardy (50 pts) and Cam Martin (44 pts), both coming off huge freshman campaigns. Senior Jack Queenan (18 pts) and junior Josh Smith (13 pts). Transfer junior Jordan Cane should have an impact.
Senior mainstay Deuce Purcell (16 pts) and sophomore Zach Montecalvo will lead the defense for coach Mark Morreale. New junior Chase Mulcahy will be a big help.
The goaltending job will fall on freshman Brady McClung.
The Chieftains return 18 players from last winter’s tournament team, including a strong blue line corps, so expect them to be a serious challenger.
Up front, senior co-captains Andrew Gotts (47 pts) and Will Major (29 pts) form a dynamic offensive duo. bolstered with the return of senior Matt Major (16 pts) and sophomores Logan Campbell (14 pts) and Jason Hurford (12 pts).
On defense, coach Andrew Jackson can turn to a veteran crew that includes seniors Austin Veno and Fil Scarfo, and juniors Zach Smith (11 pts), Shawn Callahan (11 pts) and Jack Corcoran.
Junior Tucker Hanson (2.50 gaa) returns in goal.
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Most of the core that has made up the Vikings roster that past two seasons is back for another go-around, and that experience could be what propels them to a successful season.
Senior Sam Rennick (29 pts), senior TJ Regan (14 pts) and junior Brad Killion (15 pts) are the leaders up front for coach Rich Sheehan.
The defense gets strong two-way play from the likes of junior Tyler Godfrey (15 pts), junior Connor Kohan (13 pts) and sophomore Brady Lindholm (11 pts). Senior goalie Ben Fougere is a three-year starter in goal for the Vikings.
Look for new sophomores James Tatro, Jack Forest, Cael Kohan and Aiden Lowry to have roles as well.
NORTH READING (10-9-3)
A late season run carried the Hornets into the post season, and they would like nothing more than build on that momentum. A big help will be that the majority of the roster returns.
Senior Josh Zelikman will be a go-to guy up front for coach John Giuliotti. The deep forward group also has seniors Dylan Babcock, Keith Lumb, William McCann, Stephen Robishaw, Trevor Wilson and Liam Buckley, juniors Jake DiNapoli and Alex VerColen and sophomore Nick Pasquale.
The North Reading defense also has experience, consisting of seniors Mark Potter, Chris McCann, Richard McGuire and Justin Heintz, and juniors Ryan Fabrizio and Storm Davis.
A starting goalie will emerge from pre-season camp.
With last year’s entire starting unit back, and some talented new younger players in the fold, the Indians are looking to be more competitive this winter.
The returning nucleus at forward for second-year coach John Vater has senior Patrick Birmingham (19 pts), juniors Cam Chambers and Logan Bridgewater, and sophomore Owen Reid. Depth will be culled from new sophomore Dylan Williams and freshmen Ethan Litner, Luke MacFarland, Ian Pelletier and Bryson Vater.
Senior William Connolly will be a huge force on defense. Sophomores Connor Montejunas and Seth Burdick return as well. Sophomore Brendan Sargent hopes to chip in.
Senior Charlie Baxter and freshman Evan Piscitelli will be the Amesbury goalies.