Boys Prep Pre-Season Top 15
There certainly is no scarcity of talented teams in the Boys Prep School ranks this winter, which will make for some exciting hockey as teams go first to win their respective leagues, and then hope to qualify for a post-season berth.
Unlike other teams, Salisbury’s focus is not only to win the Founders League, but defend the Elite Tournament it has taken the last two seasons. Since the road to any potential Elite Tournament title has to go through Salisbury first, the Crimson Knights (24-1-4) will start the season in the same position they ended last winter, #1 in the HNIB News Boys Prep Top 15 poll.
Coach Andrew Will’s club did lose some firepower and last year’s starting goalie, but do return four senior defensemen and some top offensive players like Vinal Sukmaran, Kale Kane and up-and-coming junior Michael O’Leary.
If Salisbury can’t pull off the three-peat, any number of teams will be there ready for the taking.
The Founders League boasts several of these squads, like defending Large School Tournament champion Loomis Chaffee (15-10-3), which boasts no less than five Division I commitments in its lineup, always-tough Kent, which needs to overcome the loss of 13 seniors, Choate (17-8-3), a veteran club with 12 seniors in its lineup, and Westminster (12-11-3), with talent in all three positions.
In the East, both Cushing (22-10-0) and Nobles (20-7-1) could put big numbers up on the scoreboard, as they have potential frightening offensive attacks. Dexter (23-5-2) may boast the prep’s premier player in senior Ryan Donato, a second round draft pick of the Boston Bruins and a Harvard commit.
Despite some key losses, expect Thayer (20-5-1) to be in the hunt with the dynamic duo of Lincoln Griffin and Monte Graham. Phillips Exeter will be its usual tough self.
And don’t forget about Gunnery (22-7-1), which has reloaded in a big way after losing its top seven scorers from last winter.
* The HNIB News Prep School preview issue is on its way to local rinks and pro shops