Defending champ Framingham was a Super 8 participant last year and will be chased by Wellesley. Both Natick (Bill Lacouture, Jr.) and Newton North (Dan Doucette) have new coaches this winter.
Home Rink: Loring Arena
The Flyers return a solid nucleus from last year’s Division 1A Tourney qualifier and Coach Will Ortiz is encouraged by the club’s compete level.
“We have a great core group of players. Our veterans understand what it will take and will hold everyone accountable. The new and younger players will push and challenge the upperclassmen everyday,” he said.
Defense is a strong suit with returning Bay State Conference all-star goaltender Jake Handy leading the way. The senior fashioned a 1.35 goals against average and .933 save percentage in his first year as a starter last season. Junior captain Jared Shimelman (2-8-10, +21), junior Dom Leone (+10) and senior Ryan Watton (+15) line up along the blue line.
The makings of a solid forward unit features senior captain Will Trischitta (12-15-27, +12); and juniors Robbie Lopez (8-11-19, +14) and Hunter Balducci (9-9-18, +12), both assistant captains.
Home rink: Walter Brown Arena, Boston
As the lone Division 2 team in the Bay State, the Warriors are hoping to parlay that challenging schedule and experience into another postseason berth.
Sophomore wing Grayson Badger (21-12-33) should be one of the more dynamic players in Eastern Mass. after playing in the USDC Select 15 tournament in Amherst, N.Y. Badger will anchor junior Aidan Chin (5-10-15) and senior center Chris Hernandez (3-6-9) on what coach Michael Yanovitch believes will be a top line “possibly better than any line in Brookline for the last 15 years.”
Sophomore wing Rohan Gervais and senior center Colin Finnegan add to the offensive depth along with junior Ellis Vish, who moves up from defense. Seniors Zach Cohen and Eli Bak, and sophomore Jacob Gaudin are on defense in front of goalie Gil Markham, who transferred in from Pope Francis.
Home Rink: Wellesley Sports Center
Now in his 23rd season with seven league titles under his belt, Wellesley coach Paul Donato will rely on the tried and true formula of stout team defense combined with opportunistic offense. He expects the Raiders will be in the pack chasing pre-season favorite Framingham.
Returning All-Scholastic senior goalie Drew Hubbard (1.05 gaa, .965 save pct.) will anchor the Raiders’ efforts to surpass last season’s Sectional quarterfinal appearance. Senior forwards Drew Cohen (4-11-15) and Liam Johnson (9-4-13) will lead the offense and senior Ethan Lomes returns to stabilize the defense in front of Hubbard.
Wellesley ceded a State Division low 27 goals last season.
Home Rink: William Chase Arena
New Coach Bill LaCouture Jr. spent last season on the Catholic Memorial staff when he returned home after nearly two decades away. Now he takes over the program where he starred as a player and where his dad was the head coach for years. He expects the Redhawks will be competitive while rebuilding.
“Great captains’ leadership will help develop a young team. Defense will be our strength. We will be very young and inexperienced at forward, but have very high expectations,” LaCouture said.
Veteran seniors Jordan McCall, David Mega and Luke Rader pace that aforementioned defense. Sophomores Nick Haswell and James Carr possess high-end offensive skills. Sophomores Tim Robinson, Adam Loftus and Joe Tarlin and freshman Noah Czech should move into regular roles. Four talented newcomers will compete with senior Owen Harney for the starting goaltender’s job – senior Thomas Barber-Leslie, junior Jason Christlieb and sophomores Tim Cushing and Luc Gagnon.
Senior captain David Drew (3-5-8) ranks as the top returning forward. Junior Will Genaske and standout sophomores Matt Haskell and Sean McWhinnie (8-6-14) add to a strong core of young but experienced forwards. Depth will be culled from another dozen forwards new to the varsity program.
NEWTON NORTH (2-17-1)
Home Rink: John A. Ryan Arena
New coach Dan Doucette is hopeful that a sizeable core group of returning veterans meshes with a large influx of newcomers as the Tigers seek to reverse direction.
“It’s a young, energetic team that needs contributions from across the lineup,” Doucette said. “We need more primary and secondary scoring. Commitment to outwork opponents and execute is critical for success.”
Team defense will be a strong suit and the Tigers project to be especially stout in their own end. Senior goalie Nolan Cooper returns along junior Declan Chamberlain and sophomores Brennan Redmond and Ben Ratin on the blue line. Seniors Ethan Donnelly and Nick Krejewski, junior Andrew Chin and Kevin McCabe and sophomore Ian Russo are back at forward.
Seven forwards, three defensemen and a goaltender new to the varsity level will flesh out the roster.