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Founders League Preview

Salisbury's Kale Kane looks to score against Kent last season.

SALISBURY’S KALE KANE looks to score against Kent last season.
(Photos by Joe Meehan)

Title Road Runs Through Salisbury

SALISBURY (24-1-4)

The two-time defending New England champions have similar circumstances as Kent, having lost a lot of offensive firepower to graduation, returning four solid defensemen and having two more-than-capable goaltenders ready to go. And like Kent, the Crimson Knights will still be a formidable club, once certainly capable of going for a three-peat.

Bailey MacBurnie

Bailey MacBurnie
Salisbury

Seniors Vimal Sukumaran (33 pts) and Kale Kane (31 pts) will be anchors of things offensively for coach Andrew Will. Also back and ready to contribute heavily are junior Mike O’Leary, already committed to Cornell,  senior Sean McCarthy, junior Anthony Vincent and junior Dante Latessa. Newcomers ready to show what they can do are new juniors Edgars Treijs, Luke Israel, Jordan Kaplan, Cole Poliziani and Tom Lee.

Salisbury's Mike O'Leary has commited to Cornell

SALISBURY’s Mike O’Leary has committed to Cornell

Four returning senior defensemen – James Gobetz (15 pts), Quincy Gregg, Ray Seebeck and Brett Stirling – will keep opponents honest. New juniors Henry Girardi, Nate Ellis and Dayne Finnson add solid depth.

In goal, look for post-grad Bailey MacBurnie (St. Mary’s, MA) and returning sophomore Nick Sorgio to battle for time.

Kent Must Replace 13 Seniors

KENT (20-4-1)

To say the Lions will be a new-look team will be an understatement, as graduation saw the departure of 13 seniors, including 10 forwards. But, don’t expect Kent to drop much, if at all. “We need to find ways to find the mass exodus of scoring from last year’s team,” said coach Dale Reinhardt. “We may have to try and win differently.”

Kent does return four defensemen, so that will be a strength. Senior captain Keanu Hilaire backbones a veteran group that also includes junior Greg Krisberg (26 pts), junior Kyle Delmaestro (10 pts) and Josh Hardiman (8 pts). Newcomers hoping to crack the lineup are junior Brian Kelly and sophomore Carter Dwyer.

Keanu Hilaire

Keanu Hilaire
Kent

Max Kaufman

Max Kaufman
Kent

Satchel Clendenin

Satchel Clendenin
Kent

Returners up front that need to provide leadership are senior Max Kaufman (34 pts), who has committed to Vermont, senior Andy Provost and junior Satchel Clendenin (10 pts). That trio will gel with the likes of post-grads Kevin Hill and Conor Landrigan, junior Teddy Simson and new sophomores Evan Gray and Tommy Tanner.

With star goaltender Stephen Morrissey having graduated as well, Kent will look to newcomers Jackson Norris (junior) and Peter Negron (sophomore) to take on the netminding duties.

Veteran Choate Club Will Be Strong

CHOATE (17-8-3)

With 12 seniors on the roster, experience won’t be a problem for the Wild Boars. It certainly will be a plus, as will having two accomplished goaltenders. Coach Pat Dennehy says team defense will be important.

Nick Sanchez

Nick Sanchez
Choate

One key forward to look for will be senior Jeremy Germain, coming off a 36-point campaign. Fellow seniors Turner Uppgren (10 pts), Nick Sanchez and Charley Borek will be important parts to the offense as well. A post-grad to keep an eye on is Jake Smith from the Nichols School.

Senior Vincent Ditmore (13 pts) will be a cornerstone of the Choate defense, along with senior Brenden Russ (7 pts). The Wild Boars also have a host of young blueliners in ready to make a splash in prep school hockey.

Goaltending will be more that solid with the return of seniors Sam Tucker (.917 save percentage, Yale recruit) and Andrew Tucci (.949).

 Pelicans Lineup Loaded With College Commits

LOOMIS CHAFFEE (15-10-3)

The Pelicans caught fire down the stretch last winter and won the New England Large School title. They won’t be able to sneak up on anyone this season, with no less than five Division I commits in the lineup.

The offense will center around the likes of senior playmaker Ben Sharf (34 pts,, Colgate commit), senior Alex Esposito (29 pts, Vermont commit), senior Eric Benshadle (22 pts) and sophomore Eric Esposito (11 pts, UNH commit). Coach J.R. Zavisza also welcomes post-grads Cam Toohey and Lucas D’Antuono to the offensive lineup.

Ben Sharf

Ben Sharf
Loomis Chaffee

Eric Benshadle

Eric Benshadle
Loomis Chaffee

Alex Esposito

Alex Esposito
Loomis Chaffee

Zach Giuttari

Zach Giuttari
Loomis Chaffee

On the blue line, senior veteran Zach Giuttari (13 pts, Brown commit), along with seniors Sean Ross (12 pts) and Colin Merrill, gives Loomis a talented veteran presence on the blue line. New junior Jacob Bryson, an Ontario native, comes highly-regarded; he recently committed to Providence.

New junior Tim Biarelli won a Mass. state title at Beverly HS last winter and looks to emerge as the key man between the pipes for the Pelicans.

 Bearcats Hope To Deliver More Wins This Season

HOTCHKISS (6-20-0)

Solid team defense and good goaltending will be key if the Bearcats hope to grind out some more wins this season.

Seniors Roberto Cellini and Greg Pezza will be anchors of the offense for coach Mike Traggio. New junior Andre Kurtz hopes to chip in right away.

Defensively, senior Evan Korizis is a key returner. New sophomore Marshall Rifai should see some good ice time. Senior L.P. DeCourcy is a returner in goal for the Bearcats.

Kingswood Hopes To Play A Defensive Style

KINGSWOOD OXFORD (3-18-0)

The Wyverns need to play more as a team this winter and continue to make some defensive strides if they plan on showing some improvement this winter.

Coach Ben Adams will look heavily at a quartet of returning forwards – senior Tristan Morin (13 pts), senior Bryant Aylward (11 pts), senior Sam Kelly (11 pts) and sophomore Chris Adamsons (13 pts), who can also play some defense. New junior Jared Difillipo could help out as well.

 Taft Will Be In The  Mix

TAFT (11-12-2)

Veteran coach Danny Murphy is excited about having a solid returning core from last winter’s playoff club. The Rhinos will be in the mix.

Drew Hickey

Drew Hickey
Taft

The senior trio of Marcus Mollica (37 pts), Peter Straub (22 pts) and Dan Quirk (21 pts) will be offensive leaders for Taft. Joining them will be returning seniors Trevor McGee and Owen McGowan, and juniors Sam Nestor (14 pts) and Alex Milardo. New senior Dan Harrington hopes to contribute.

In the back end, seniors Keenan Murray, T.J. Schultz, J.P. Rafferty and Tommy Mahoney bring their experience, along with returning junior Drew Hickey. New senior Andrew Clayton and junior Matt Maier will be involved.

Handling the goaltending chores will be senior Joseph Lissak and sophomore Andrew Farrier.

Trinity-Pawling Boasts Solid Offensive Nucleus

TRINITY-PAWLING (12-13-1)

The Pride project to be their usual tough self, and hope to rely on strong goaltending and a well-balanced offense.

Dan Kuter

Dan Kuter
Trinity Pawling

Connor McNamara

Connor McNamara
Trinity Pawling

Felix Marcotte-Helu

Felix Marcotte-Helu
Trinity Pawling

Stein LaFontaine

Stein LaFontaine
Trinity Pawling

The nucleus of the TP offense will be provided by senior Austin Aksoy (12 pts), senior Stein LaFontaine (11 pts), and juniors Tyler Gwyn (15 pts) and Connor McNamara (13 pts). A good group of new forwards include juniors John Litscher, Cole Stewart and Trey Aiello and sophomore Jordi Jefferson.

Senior Daniel Kuter (20 pts) headlines the blue line crew and will also contribute offensively. Senior Chris Nolan is another key returner. New junior Casey Winn and three sophomores – Ryan Winn, Chris Taylor and Jeremy Wilson – add defensive depth.

In goal, look for senior Felix Marcotte-Hetu to be a huge asset.

 Martlets Will Be A Tough Opponent

WESTMINSTER (12-11-3)

If the returners can elevate their game and bring the newcomer along, things could be pretty successful for the Martlets.

Up front, junior Taggart Corriveau (30 pts) should be amongst the top forwards in prep hockey; he has committed to St. Lawrence. Seniors Anthony Di Placido (20 pts) and Jack Fitzgerald (17 pts), and juniors Johnny McDermott (14 pts), J.P. Schuhlen (13 pts) and Brian Smyth (10 pts) all return as well with another year of experience. Forwards hoping to join the lineup are juniors Connor Lloyd and Mike Ventricelli and sophomores Jack Flanagan and Cal LeClair.

Defense is also solid, with book-end rocks senior Will Brophy (9 pts, Holy Cross commit) and junior Joey O’Connor (12 pts, Vermont commit). Senior Derin Ozturk and junior Kevin O’Leary are back as well. New sophomore Peter Horsfall and freshman Patrick Dawson hope to contribute.

Coach Tim Joncas returns a pair of goaltenders in juniors Stephen Gasior and Nick Sanford, to be joined by freshman hopeful Hunter Chiasson.

Chase Zieky

Chase Zieky
Avon Old Farms

Austin Jadovich

Austin Jadovich
Avon Old Farms

Brendan Ashe

Brendan Ashe
Avon Old Farms

Tucker Weppner

Tucker Weppner
Avon Old Farms

Avon Old Farms Looks For Turnaround Campaign

AVON OLD FARMS (9-15-1)

It was a very uncharacteristic down season for the Winged Beavers last winter, and the team hopes for a quick turnaround this winter. “We must have all three ingredients – improved scoring, tight defense and excellent goaltending – to contened,” said veteran coach John Gardner.

Tri-captain seniors Chase Zieky and Brendan Ashe highlight the Avon offensive attack, along with other returners like senior Brett Backman and juniors Tyler Colangelo, Dan Winslow, Jake Gresh and Matt Horton. A couple of talented newcomers who will step right in are junior Jamie Armstrong, a recent commit to Northeastern, and impressive sophomore Patrick Harper, who has committed to Boston University. New sophomore Josh Vertentes is also highly regarded. Hoping to chip in are post-grad Cam Klein, junior John Giatrelis and freshman Kyle Glynn.

Tri-captain senior Austin Jadovich headlines the Avon blue line, a veteran group that also returns seniors Jack McNee and Corey Morgan, and sophomore Ryan Ashe. Post-grad blueliner Andrew Cross will have a key role. Others ready to contribute include post-grad Ben Sisokin, junior Brendan Killoy and freshman Ben Mirageas.

In the nets, senior Tucker Weppner gives the Winged Beavers an experienced presence between the pipes.

* Next Preview: Keller Division

* Slider photo by Joe Meehan

Gary Demopoulos
Gary Demopoulos has been covering prep school hockey for the HNIB News for over 30 years, and has been the editor of the HNIB News since 2005. A former sportswriter and news editor at the Woburn (MA) Daily Times Chronicle, he has been the HNIB News' key reporter for Mens Prep School hockey since 1988, as well as womens hockey, both at the prep school and high school levels. for almost 20 years. Gary also helps organize and oversee HNIB's many summer tournaments and festivals for scholastic players.
Gary Demopoulos
- 3 hours ago
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