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Gordon National: St. Peter’s, Bp. Eustace could emerge

Bishop Eustace (2-11-2)

After several lean years, Bishop Eustace head coach Mike Green expects to have his most talented team since the 2009 squad that went 22-6 and reached the Gordon Cup final and private semifinals. The talent starts with two recognizable names in senior forward Chayse and sophomore goalie Cayden Primeau, sons of former NHLer Keith Primeau, both of whom have verbally committed to Northeastern. The elder Primeau is joined up front by senior Eric DiPretoro and juniors Mario Tropea and Matt Hinkie, while senior David Paklan and junior Aaron Maguyon provide depth. On the blue line, seniors Michael Melloni and Danny Coia are the key men in front of the younger Primeau. The Crusaders will have a chance to make noise right away; they face both Don Bosco Prep and Delbarton in the season’s first 11 days.

St. Peter’s Prep (11-9-3)

Two years removed from reaching the private semifinals, St. Peter’s Prep should challenge for the National Division title this year. Head coach Mike Goodrich brings back two-thirds of his top line in senior Sean Crowley (16-23-39) and junior Augie Burkhardt (14-23-37), while junior Chris Picnic leads an experienced group of defensemen in front of senior goalie Jonathan Labella. Sophomores Matt Koziel, Mike Zdanowicz, Steven Zuckerman, and twins Nick and Matt Gallo should also contribute, giving the Marauders more depth than they have had in recent years.

The remaining teams in the National Division are all trying to climb over the .500 mark after down seasons.

Gloucester Catholic (5-12-3) should return senior Jeff Eppright (4-12-16) and senior goalie Andrew Sharkus, while St. Augustine Prep (12-9-1) needs more consistent regular-season play to augment its history of postseason success. Four-time state champion Seton Hall Prep (3-14-4) is trying to build its way back to relevance behind seniors Matt Farrell (7-5-12) and Nick Sandomeno (2-4-6), joined up front by junior Keith Bishop (5-5-10).

Jonathan Yardley
Jonathan Yardley has been covering high school ice hockey in New Jersey since 1996. A native of Morristown and a Delbarton alumnus, he graduated from Rice University in Houston, Texas in 2005. A radio and television broadcaster, he has called games for the 2003 NCAA championship Rice baseball team (2002-05), the 2011 Major League Soccer Eastern Conference champion Houston Dynamo (2008-11), and ESPN3 (2012-13), among other teams and outlets. He grew up watching hockey at Mennen Arena and for five seasons (1996-97 to 2000-01) wrote a weekly newsletter and ran the webpage for the MCSSIHL, the Morris County high school league. He now writes for Hockey Night in Boston in addition to website and blog maintenance.
Jonathan Yardley