This new league will feature a pair of four-team divisions, with Barnstable, Sandwich, Falmouth and Nauset playing in the Atlantic Division, and Nantucket, Martha’s Vineyard, Monomoy/Mashpee and Dennis-Yarmouth in the Lighthouse.
With the Atlantic Coast League having folded, the Clippers debut in the Atlantic Division of the new Cape and Islands League this winter. Coach Paul Moore will rely on a strong core of returning players to lead the transition to the new league.
Primary offense will be provided by senior forwards Nick Champani (20-13-33) and Jake McKenzie (7-3-10) and junior center Stone Devlin (17-12-29).
Senior North Wilson steps into the starting goaltender’s position. Senior Jack Hamilton and sophomores Tommy Peterson and Kyle Souza return with experience on the back line. Moore expects the competition for secondary jobs “will be fierce between incoming freshmen and returning sophomores.”
Home Rink: Hyannis Youth and Community Center
With the Old Colony League having disbanded, the Red Raiders move on to the SEC, which is in its inaugural year. Despite the graduation of 13 seniors, fourth-year Coach Tim Grace has lofty expectations for the Red Raiders, who lost to eventual State champion Duxbury in double OT in last season’s South Sectional semifinals.
“We have re-stocked and put together a great looking team. After our double OT loss to Duxbury, and seeing them win the States added some fuel to our off-season. The team is determined to make it back to the post-season with the ultimate goal of playing and winning in the garden,” he said.
The forward unit features senior Captain Brian Frieh (9-14-23) and seniors Chris Cordeiro (10-14-24) and Jack Longueil (9-9-18). Junior Dillon Huntington also returns. Look for senior Hoosac School transfer Cooper O’Neil to have an impact.
Junior goalie Conor Higgins came up big in the post-season last year. Senior Will Cogswell and junior Will Martone are the top duo on defense.
Home Rink: Charles Moore Arena, Orleans
The Warriors graduated 11 players off last year’s tournament team, so coach Sal Manganaro said the key will be how quickly the new players can transition in and fill in those roles.
However, the next wave has arrived as Nauset welcomes a group of 13 freshmen ready for their opportunity.
Senior forwards Ryan Redihan and Nick Silva will lead the young cast, and senior J.T. Tulloch will be a strong veteran presence in the most important spot in net. Junior Clayton Hussey and sophomore J.J. Alger return at forward, with junior Ethan Keeney and sophomore Noah Clark back on defense.
Among the freshmen to watch are defensemen Payton Kender, forward Cooper McIntire, and goalie Kevin Wright.
Home Rink: Gallo Arena
The Blue Knights should be one of the better defensive teams around with a core group of four blueliners and an experienced goalie back in the fold.
Senior Carson Schemenaur is back in net after starting almost every game last season, and will be back up again by junior Ben Moreno. Coach Jordan Mohre also will rely on four solid defensemen in senior Nick Eastman, juniors Colin Norkevicius and Tim Clark, and sophomore Drew MacKinnon.
Up front Sandwich will need to replace some firepower, but junior Rob Cardillo was one of the top scorers a year ago and is back. Seniors Max Slicer and Connor Durant, as well as juniors Jack Greeley and Mike Barrasso join him at forward.
A total of 14 newcomers dot the Knights roster this season: seniors Zach Hawkins (F), Aidan O’Brien (F) and Nico Currey (G); junior forwards Matt Prete and Aidan Barrett; sophomores Kevin Jordan (F), Matt DiGiacomo (F), Matt Hemeon (F), Patrick Richards (D) and Michael Itri (F); and freshmen Colin McIver (D), Silas Ohman (D), Jacob Cunningham (F) and Harley Ellis (D).
Home Rink: Tony Kent Arena, South Dennis
After taking their lumps against some of the bigger powers in the old Atlantic Coast League, third-year coach Lew Alberti and the Dolphins are looking forward to more equitable competition in their new league. D-Y went a combined 3-3-2 against its new division rivals over the past two seasons.
“It’s going to be fun for our kids to play in competitive league games for the first time in a long time,” Alberti said. D-Y will play 17 of its 22 games against Division 3 teams this season.
Nonetheless, Alberti says his team will need to continue to play smart, team-oriented hockey all season to achieve success.
Junior center Tommy Julian (10-5-15) is the top returning scorer. Senior Tyler McFarland (1-1-2) also returns at forward along with juniors Griffin Feeley (4-5-9), Shea Terrio (2-2-4) and Colby Cavatorta (1-1-2). Defensively the Dolphins will look to junior Zaq Queenville, senior Matt Walsh and sophomore Cam Cavatorta.
Junior goalie Mason Sheehan is up from JV along with freshman forwards Aidan Powers and Hunter Boulette. Eighth-grader Andrew Popovich is another newcomer to watch.
MARTHA’S VINEYARD (12-6-3)
Home Rink: Martha’s Vineyard Arena, Oak Bluffs
The Vineyarders won the Cape & Islands league in its first season before falling to Ashland in the opening round of the Division 3 South tournament. The league alignment may have changed a bit, but coach Matt Mincone still hopes his team is in good position to defend its title after suffering only a handful of losses.
Captain Kenny Hatt and fellow senior Jackson Pacheco are back to anchor what should be a strong defense for the Vineyarders. Senior Hoffman Hearn also returns after not playing last season, and junior Elias Gundersen rounds out what should be a solid top four. In net, sophomore Graham Stearns is poised for another solid season after posting a 2.00 GAA as a freshman.
Senior Colby Zarba (66 career points) is a captain and the top returning forward along with junior Hunter Meader. Aiden Marek, a junior who missed 19 games last season, is back and could provide the offense with a nice boost. Junior forward Peter Gillis and senior Logan Araujo, a solid defensive-minded forward, also return.
Mincone likes the looks of a pair of talented freshmen – forward Liam Marek and defenseman Nick Rego.
Home Rink: Lt. Kennedy Rink, Hyannis
The Falcons and coach Chris Peterson will be looking to get back to the postseason once again.
Junior Jack Vinitsky (Mashpee) is a tough defenseman returning from an injury that cost him his junior season. He was named a captain for the team along with Monomoy junior defenseman Max Abboud. Monomoy sophomore Lucas Tambolleo has strong scoring potential. Monomoy freshman Dominic Tsoukalas takes over in goal.
Home Rink: Nantucket Community Ice Rink
Coming off a solid first season behind the bench that included a first-round tournament win against Attleboro, second-year coach Scott Corbett is looking for another strong performance from the Whalers in 2019-20.
Corbett said Nantucket will be a small but quick team, and that speed through the neutral zone and on the forecheck will be major keys to success. “We need to play fast,” he said.
With that, the key components to that speedy attack will be seniors Gavin Fey at center and Jeff Daume on left wing, as well as junior center Marsh Hickman and left wing Jack Gammons. Sophomores Cole Evans (right wing) and Camden Knapp (center) also are expected to contribute up front.
James Culkins is back for his junior season in net for the Whalers. Defensively he will be helped by sophomore Hudson Perry, and juniors Alex Freeman and Sam O’Keefe.