Keller Division: Nobles, Belmont Hill lead wide-open race

Gary Demopoulos
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.

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Christian O'Neill Belmont Hill
Christian O’Neill
Belmont Hill
Sam Hesler Belmont Hill
Sam Hesler
Belmont Hill

A good group returns to the fold for Belmont Hill (17-7-8), which advanced to the New England Large School title game last winter. Senior leadership will be a key for the Hillies.

Coach Jeremiah McCarthy will build his offense around a quartet of returning forwards that should put up some decent numbers. Seniors Christian Faggas (30 pts) and Eric Butte (18 pts) will complement the junior duo of Christian O’Neill (22 pts) and Sam Hesler (22 pts). O’Neill recently committed to Princeton, while Hesler has committed to Dartmouth.

The Belmont Hill defense will feature a nucleus of four seniors, led by Yale recruit Brian Matthews, a co-captain. Also back are co-captain David Giunta (14 pts), Ricky Cronin and Cam Connors.

The Hillies are have returning started Matthew Barrow back in the nets.

Second-year coach Larry Cockrell continues to build the program at Governors Academy (5-19-1) and will blend a good group of returners and newcomers to put together this year’s outfit.

Looking to build on last year’s offense that struggled are returners like seniors Brandon Benson (9 pts), Garrett Coley, Peter DiFrancesco and Reid Howland, junior Griff Clark and sophomore Tao Ishizuak. Junior Brandon Lafata returns to the prep school wars and should help out, along with new junior William Bloomstrom and freshman Alex Duncan.

Brandon Lafata Governors Academy
Brandon Lafata
Governors Academy
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Reid Howland
Reid Howland
Governors Academy
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Colin Fabian Governors Academy
Colin Fabian
Governors Academy
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Griffin Clark Governors Academy
Griffin Clark
Governors Academy

Senior Kyle Hoffman, junior Matt Connolly and sophomore Ben Ginsberg are back on the blue line for the Governors, helped out by new juniors Tim Reilly and Collin Fabian. Freshmen blueliners Cam Boudreau, Brett Rudy and Olle Akermark hope to make their mark.

New junior Sam Best, who backboned his Woburn HS team to a Mass. Super 8 berth a year ago, will be a solid option in goal.

Liam O'Sullivan
Liam O’Sullivan
Lawrence Acad.

Developing secondary scoring will be key to any success at Lawrence Academy (7-16-2), where coach Robbie Barker is confident his club will have solid defense and goaltending.

Juniors Craig Needham (28 pts) and Sam Swanson and sophomores Timmy Kent (21 pts) and J.J. Harding (18 pts) will be primary weapons offensively for the Spartans. New junior Austin Magera (Sacred Heart commit) and senior Jake Rainer should have key roles.

On the blue line, senior Liam O’Sullivan and junior Jamie Swiggett (13 pts) will be anchors. New sophomore Jack Cameron looks to chip in right away.

New junior Owen Zdunski will fight for the starting goaltender’s job.

Buddy Mrowka Milton Academy
Buddy Mrowka
Milton Academy
Jack Bliss Milton Academy
Jack Bliss
Milton Academy

Milton Academy (12-14-2) will rely on its strong returning core to pick up a few more wins this winter.

Up front, coach Paul Cannata will look for leadership from senior Trevor Turnbull, senior captain Andrew Dumaresque and junior Jack Bliss. New sophomore Tyler Campbell, from Manitoba, will add depth.

Senior Collin van der Veen and junior Buddy Mrowka will anchor things defensively for the Mustangs.

The goaltending job could go to new sophomore Ethan Domokos.

Danny Jacobs Nobles
Danny Jacobs

Defending league champion Nobles (21-5-1) will be in the mix again returning a number of key contributing players. “How hard we work and how well we work together will go a long way in determining how successful we will be,” said coach Brian Day.

The Bulldogs will boast no less than three Division 1 commits up front in senior Luke Stevens (29 pts, Yale), senior Mike Fahie (32 pts, Brown) and junior Cam Burke (Notre Dame). Senior Danny Jacobs (15 pts) will be another key option up front. New sophomore Patrick Moynihan, who recently committed to Boston College, hopes to have immediate success.

Cam Burke Nobles
Cam Burke

Veteran presence on defense will include senior Pat Murray (13 pts), junior Ryan Heath and sophomore Trevor Spence.

Senior Austin Bonasia and junior Harry Sherman both got varsity experience as backups in goal last winter.

Losing six of its top seven scorers, there will be some rebuilding at St. Paul’s (13-10-6). Coach Mark Bozek says returning players taking on larger roles will be a key.

Junior Colin McCaughey (22 pts) will be counted on for production in the offensive end of the ice, while leaders on the back end project to be seniors Giacomo Messina and Liam Flaherty, both of whom had injured shortened seasons last winter.

Scoring depth and a strong blue line core will be strengths for St. Sebastian’s (13-10-3) as the Arrows look to challenge for the league title and a post-season berth.

Junior R.J. Murphy (39 pts) will be the catalyst up front for coach Sean McCann. He has committed to Harvard. Helping out will be seniors Paul McAuliffe and Peter Mullin.

Defensively, senior Jack McCool (11 pts) and junior Eric Jeremiah (17 pts) will log a bunch of minutes, as will senior Mike Mackintire.

Mike Royer Thayer
Mike Royer

Although it lost three of its top four scorers, including Monte Graham to the USHL, Thayer (15-12-3) still returns a pretty solid nucleus that should have the Tigers very competitive in the Keller Division.

Senior Ty Amonte (40 pts) will be a catalyst in the offensive zone. Other key returners include senior Robert Carmody, junior Casey Carreau (27 pts), junior Mike Seoane and sophomore Tristan Amonte.

In seniors Kyle Peterson (28 pts) and Colin McCabe (19 pts), coach Tony Amonte should have one of the division’s top defensive duos. Sophomore Cam Lemanski is coming off a pretty solid freshman season.

Thayer also returns a starting goaltender in senior Mike Royer.

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