It should be another solid year in the Lakes Region, with several teams capable of gaining post-season playoff berths.
The league’s only new coach is at Brewster Academy (9-19-0), where Lem Randall takes over the Bobcats. He feels that playing strong team defense will be a key if Brewster is able to improve.
Senior William Brochu will be a catalyst in the Bobcats offensive attack. Randall will look to increased production from returners Connor Leach (senior) and Joe Rotondi (junior). New juniors William Valee and Cole Moore look to jump right in.
Returning junior goalie Joe Benedetto hopes to garner the #1 job between the pipes for the Bobcats. Senior Zack Corr is expected to provide solid defense on the blue line.
Holderness (8-17-4) competed hard last winter under first-year coach Alan Thompson. With the loss of their top three scorers, the Bulls will need to play solid defense and get some good goaltending to be successful.
With that, senior blue liner Shawn Moors (24 pts) will be vital on defense. Look for big things from junior Ethan Bliss (9 pts). Hoping to step right in and contribute are new juniors Harley Michaels and Cameron Tobey.
Senior Elliot McGuire (12 pts) will have an important role up front for the Bulls. New senior Jonathan Courchesne will chip in, as will talented junior Alexandre Gagnon.
In goal, senior Logan Bateman returns after logging the most minutes last winter.
Graduation certainly took its toll at Kimball Union (30-4-1) from a club that reached the Elite semifinals last year, as the Wildcats lost five forwards, two Division-I defensemen and both goaltenders. So, as coach Tim Whitehead pointed out, the returning nucleus will need to carry the load until the newcomers adjust to the prep level.
Up front, seniors Roope Hirvonen (40 pts) and Bobby Young (35 pts) are a pair of holdovers capable of putting up huge numbers. Post-grad Paul McAuliffe and new sophomore Logan Cash will have key roles.
Senior Sean Thomson and sophomore Jordan Harris (recently committed to Northeastern) give the Wildcats a pair of highly capable blue liners to build with. New sophomore Elijah Older hopes to have a key role.
With the opening in goal, new junior Sean Dynan will be in the running to win the starting job.
There is excitement up at New Hampton (21-18-1), where the Huskies will open their new arena for the upcoming season. Coach Casey Kesselring is hoping to have a more balance scoring attack this winter.
Offensively, the attack will be built around the returning senior duo of Lukas Uhler (28 pts) and Chris Lemay (26 pts). New faces up front include post-grads Harrison Piper and Jack Baron, juniors Michael Kane and Zak Lanoue, and sophomores Lynden Breen (Maine commit) and Joe Dunlap.
On defense, senior Luke Albert (31 pts) is coming off a banner campaign. Senior Max Osborne (12 pts) and junior Michael Kesselring (16 pts) are two more key returners. Post-grad Matt McGlynn brings his talents to the New Hampton blue line.
Between the pipes, senior Thomas McLarnon basically split time in goal last season and looks to secure the #1 job.
Proctor (20-10-2) was a playoff team last season and although the Hornets lost some key production from that club, do have a good group of returners. The team could be even deeper up front.
Senior Tate Singleton (50 pts) will be an offensive sparkplug for coach Mike Walsh. Senior Peter Laviolette (18 pts), juniors Ryan King (24 pts) and Cole Joslin (19 pts), and sophomore Myles Abbate (20 pts) will all be key performers as well. Two new sophomores looking to contribute right away are Jack Swarbrick and Kevin Craig.
Harvard-bound senior Reilly Walsh (40 pts) should be amongst the top defensemen in all of prep school hockey. Junior Matt Slick (25 pts) is an adept two-way blueliner that will key the defense corps. Youngsters hoping to make their mark are new sophomore Bruno Baklom and fresnman Aidan Torres.
New junior Devin Barresi will be in the goaltending mix for Proctor.
Second-year coach Brooks McQuade saw graduation take a good portion of his roster at Tilton (19-16-0) but there is optimism that the Rams could see some improvement, as there is still a decent nucleus to meld with a host of newcomers.
Up front, senior Andy Somerville (30 pts) will be a go-to guy. Also back for the Rams are seniors Griffin Connor, Jason Bogacz and Richie Steinberg, and sophomore Gordon Cummings. Three post-grad forwards who will bring immediate help are Larry Niland, Andrew Nadeau and Scott Newton. New junior Gerard Marretta looks for his role.
Seniors Jack Morretti and Josh Lennon are back on the Tilton blue line, where post-grad Seth Murray will step right in and get key minutes.
The Rams do have the luxury of two returning senior goaltenders in Zac McWhinnie and Ryan Bonnvie. They will be pressed by new sophomore Brendan Benoit.
Looking to compete in the Lakes Division will be Vermont Academy (10-23-3). Coach Chris Davidson is banking on a strong team commitment to the defensive zone.
Key returners up front for the Wildcats include senior Tanner Dalton and sophomores John Kondub and John Peloso. A pair of skilled new juniors – Robbie Ferreira and Calvin Moise – should add to the offensive game.
Senior Mike Belliveau and junior Jake Meikle are cornerstones of the Wildcats blue line.