Canton (Davenport) and Franklin (Kelley-Rex) will again be labeled as favorites heading into the Hockomock League season. Keep an eye on Oliver Ames.
Coach Brian Shuman begins his 13th year behind the bench for the Bulldogs. The have been among the top teams in Division 2 for most of that tenure and there is a chance for that to continue, although Shuman needs to revamp a defense hit hard by graduation.
Canton will possess a pair of the top offensive players in the league (and in D2 for that matter) in senior Ryan Nolte (34 pts) and junior Johnny Hagan (36 pts). They will key the offensive attack.
Juniors Owen Lehane (13 pts) and Jack Connolly will step into much larger roles on the Bulldogs blue line. Senior Mike Staffiere is a first-year starter in the nets.
NORTH ATTLEBORO (12-8-1)
Returning all their defensemen and goalie, the Red Rocketeers should be tough to score against. If they can generate offense from all three lines, they will be one tough customer.
Veteran senior Anthony Zammiello (30 pts) will be the catalyst of coach Ben McManama’s offense. Keep an eye on freshman Brady Sarro.
Senior Brendan McHugh (7 pt) and junior Will Yeomans (10 pts) are cornerstones of what should be a pretty good defensive unit.
Senior goaltender Ryan Warren should be one of the division’s top netminders.
Despite projecting as an inexperienced, young team, the Black Knights are looking to improve on last year’s record.
Senior Sean Doherty (23 pts) will be a catalyst on offense for coach Dan Mark. Senior Luke Bainton is also back up front. New freshmen ready to jump in are Joe McNulty and Colin Alessi.
Senior Josh Hough (9 pts) will be a defensive cornerstone. Freshmen Anthony Hern and Josh Greenspoon will see time.
Mark Cedorchuk’s crew is heavy on returnees with junior Josh Bertuman, sophomore Brady Daly, senior Tanner Kennedy, sophomore Kirk Leach, junior Ron MacLellan, sophomore Liam O’Toole, junior Jared Peppard and junior Sebastian Ricketts coming back to serve on the front lines.
Goalies Connor Callahan and Jack Spinner, each sophomores, and junior Espen Reager will be manning the nets in front of sophomore Mike Grace, junior Kyle McGinnis, senior Brendan Tully and senior Jake Waryas.
“We have a lot of talented incoming freshmen,” Cedorchuck said. “The team depth chart is looking strong with a lot of key forwards and our returning key defenseman along with talented freshmen.”
* Check out MassHSHockey.com for all team schedules, rosters, game results, etc.
OLIVER AMES (13-8-0)
The Tigers will rely on a solid core of seniors to keep this club on the right path. “When we establish our forecheck and play our systems we are a very good hockey team,” said coach Sean Bertoni.
Up front, senior Brett Williams (36 pts) is the guy the Tigers will rely on offensively. Senior Max Ward (16 pts) and senior Colin Bourne (13 pts) need to be watched as well. New sophomore Ross Carrol hopes to have an impact.
Senior captain Matt McCormack (16 pts) will be a solid presence on the blue line, as will senior Julian Krowski.
OA also returns junior Owen Connor in goal. He won 12 games as a sophomore last winter.
The Panthers return 13 seniors from last season’s squad that suffered an unusually early post-season exit. There is unfinished business to tend to. A strong group of sophomores and juniors making the transition from JVs should aid in that task.
“We expect strong leadership from the upperclassmen. For success the team must win battles in the defensive zone. Team speed will dictate the offense,” said Spillane (21st season).
Senior centers Dan Magazu and CJ Spillane and senior wings Zac Falvey, Scott Elliot and Joe Lizotte are the top returning forwards. Seniors Cam Casella and Matt Derrico and juniors Tom Tasker and Collin Hedvig make up the nucleus of what should be a stout defense.
KING PHILIP (8-12-1)
The Warriors will rally around a seasoned group of returnees. Coach Paul Carlow says State Tournament qualification is a reasonable goal and expectation.
Five veteran forwards return with seniors Ryan Fitzpatrick and Luke Damico leading the way along with the junior trio of Chris Daniels, Joe Boselli and Jack Coulter. Look for new sophomore Paul McDonald to contribute.
Senior James Lewis will man the goal. Returning veteran defenseman senior Garrett Maxwell, junior Kyle Gray and sophomore Rocco Bianculli provide the protection detail. New sophomore Dave Lawler could join that group.
Coach Kris Metea says his team will rely on timely goaltending, team speed in transition, and team defensive play to get back into the post-season.
Scoring should come from returning senior Cam Sneyd (30 pts), senior Jack Patenaude (15 pts) and junior Michael Albert (32 pts). New senior Nick Vandermeel will challenge for time.
There is experience on defense with the return of seniors Andrew Carter and Dylan Nichols, and sophomore Brady Nichols. Junior Sean Bunker is a returning starter in goal for the Tigers.
After qualifying for the South Sectional the past two years – and getting bounced by Xaverian each time – the Green Hornets are looking to take the next step. “I think with the returning players, as well as some new additions to the roster, we will have more depth than years past,” said coach Mike Balzarini.
Junior goalie Sean McAfferty looks to build on a stellar sophomore campaign when he posted a 1.85/.922/3 SO slash line. Senior captain Austin Ricker (3-7-10) and juniors Joe Troiano, Nick Levine and Jake Gormley are all back on defense.
Senior captain Chris Copponi (7-5-12), sophomore Matt Copponi (4-12-16) and juniors Jake Lund and Kevin Belanger return to lead the offense.
The Bombardiers lost in the opening round of last season’s state tourney, 4-0, to Coyle & Cassidy. Mark Homer’s team brings back seniors Cam Littig and Kyle McCabe.
Sam Flynn, Liam McDonough, Matt Vivieros, Kyle Miniati and Ryan Morry lead the junior class.