Connecticut HS Boys Hockey: FCIAC Division 2-3 Preview: League Down To Four Teams

Jim Clark
Jim Clark joined Hockey Night in Boston in December 2019, and has covered high school hockey in Massachusetts for more than three decades. He also covers high school hockey and is a multiplatform editor for the Boston Globe, and previously spent two decades as high school hockey reporter at the Boston Herald, where he also served as the high schools editor from 2000-06. Clark was honored by the Mass. State Hockey Coaches Association with its William Stewart Award for contributions to the sport in May 2019, and also received the Joel Perlmutter Award for media coverage in 2006. A graduate of UMass, he also spent eight years as sports editor/reporter at the Sentinel & Enterprise in Fitchburg, and has extensively covered high school hockey in Central and Western Mass. as well as Connecticut.

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The Division 2 and 3 ranks in the Fairfield County Interscholastic Athletic Conference are down to four teams this season, as Wilton will not field a varsity program because of a lack of numbers.

Whether there will be any change in the league standings remains to be seen. Trumbull was on the doorstep last season before having its season end prematurely, so Westhill-Stamford took home the FCIAC postseason championship. They will be in the mix in Division 2 as well, while McMahon-Norwalk has strong numbers and will look to challenge in Division 3 along with Staples.

McMAHON-NORWALK (4-6-0)

Coach: Scott Raymond

Raymond enters the season with high hopes, saying that NorMac has “the most depth we’ve had in our program in some time.”

Start with senior captain Alex DiRaffaele, who will be one of the top forwards along with junior captain Keagan Cullen. Juniors Hayden Cincotta and Bryce Jimenez also will provide depth and scoring punch at forward.

Senior captain Nat Gibson was a second-team all-FCIAC pick last season and will patrol the blue line along with junior Matt Remson. Junior Patrick Gummer returns in goal.

NorMac also will be getting a boost from freshman forward Alec Royster, sophomores Ronon Connell and Grady Connell, and junior Michael Widmer.

“We have been quietly building our program. After a few solid seasons under our belt, our upperclassmen are hungry,” Raymond said. “As long as we stay healthy, I truly see us competing at the D3 level this season.”

Ben Epes
Staples

STAPLES (6-5-0)

Coach: Matt Bohn

The theme of optimism also applies for the Wreckers, who also appear to have enough solid returnees and newcomers to be in the mix.

“I’m excited for a full season,” Bohn said. “I think our team has a little more depth than in the previous few years, which should make us stronger and tougher to play against.”

Junior Aaron Kail was a second-team all-FCIAC last season, and returns in net for the Wreckers. He will be looking for support from senior defenseman Andrew Gebicki.

Returning forwards for Staples include seniors Ben Epes, Jason Wolgast and Cole Feinleib, and junior Nikos Ninios.

Bohn has high hopes for a trio of newcomers – sophomore forwards Tyler DiMaio and Jameson Russell, and freshman forward Cooper Paul

“We’re looking to build on the strides we made last year in our own zone, hoping to see quicker transitions up ice to create more opportunities for our offense,” he said. “We need to really support each other and play with a ‘We Not Me’ mentality.”

TRUMBULL (8-1-0)

Coach: Greg Maxey

The Eagles graduated nine players off last year’s squad, including four that were selected to either the all-FCIAC first or second teams.

Senior Zachary Jager was a second-team pick a year ago and should be the leader of the squad this season. He is one of six returning seniors along with Peter Antoniou, Matt Farasciano, Stephanos Galatas, Adam Guttman and Luca Minopoli.

Also back are juniors Austin Ashby, Brennan Cutter, Gabriel Diest, Tyler Hickey, Timothy Kouble, Luke Ligouri, Giancarlo Montanaro and Jake Terlik, and sophomores Shane Dobosz, Logan Jones, DJ Kimberly, Trevor Minder and Ilario Muoio.

WESTHILL-STAMFORD (5-4-0)

Coaches: John Santagata, Doug Robinson 

Westhill-Stamford will rely heavily on the returning core of five upperclassmen, led by senior forward Jordan Grabine and juniors Thomas Waterbury and James Leydon. Grabine had a hat trick in last year’s conference championship victory over McMahon-Norwalk.

Senior defenseman Mickael Sherwood also returns along with junior goalie Eric Osterhuis.

Grabine and Sherwood are the only seniors, while Logan Chambers, Jaiden Gonzales and Conner Morrell are juniors with previous varsity experience. W-S has a big sophomore group, including returnees Daniel Ginolfi, Henry Greene, Nathan Margerum, Nicholas Petrizzi, Simeon Tcholakov and Tomas Zaleski.

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