Austin Prep has had a load of success over the past several years in the Catholic Central League and the Cougars will again be in the mix. A big change in the league this winter sees Lowell Catholic moving in and Matignon moving out, having dropped its stand-alone program for this year and joining a co-op arrangement with Revere and Malden.
AUSTIN PREP (16-6-3)
Home Rink: Stoneham Arena
The Cougars begin their third season under Bill Pappas with another Division 1A Tournament berth on their mind while aiming to stretch their league championship string to nine years.
“Team is the key to success, a sense of togetherness, working to one common goal. Add discipline, respect, pride and passion; it’s emotion, it’s attitude, it’s a relentless persistence to a goal no matter the obstacle,” Pappas said of what it takes to succeed.
Senior captain and four-year varsity regular Chris Roy is the team’s acknowledged leader. Juniors Nolan Ricci, Joe Thibodeau and Brady McGrath are key returnees. Eighth-graders Cullen Emery and Ty Wood step up from the JVs.
Senior Andrew Macdonald (0.51 gaa, .952 save pct.) takes over in goal after two seasons as a backup. Sophomore Aiden Elkins, a hulking presence on the blue line at 6-2, 185, is in his third varsity campaign. Freshman Jack Farrell is another rugged rearguard in his second varsity season and junior Colin McGrath is a solid performer. New freshman Robby McDonald adds to the depth.
ARCHBISHOP WILLIAMS (9-8-3)
Home Rink: Canton Sportsplex
This projects as an intriguing campaign for the Bishops. While replacing graduated goalie Cam O’Connor is a primary focus, veteran coach Derackk Curtis says “most of the 2018-19 team returns for another season. A good crop of new players and transfers and a strong freshman class will fill the vacant roster spots.”
Senior Tommy Page and juniors John Riley, Christian Koylion, Conor Kelly (11-5-16) and James O’Toole will once again be counted on to lead the Bishops’ offense. Juniors Alex Umbro, Jake Lamonica and Nick Recupero will log big minutes on defense as the battle for the goaltending job gets sorted.
Now in his 16th season as head coach, Curtis pegs Austin Prep as the team to beat this winter.
ST. MARY’S (16-5-1)
Home Rink: Connery Rink
It will be interesting to see how the Spartans develop this winter. While there is strength in numbers –18 players return from last year’s Division 1A Tournament play-in qualifier – Coach Mark Lee’s squad is somewhat short on game experience.
“Many of them did not see a lot of playing time. We are a young team with some experience. We will need to find ways to score from hard work and discipline as our three top forwards (points) graduated. We are cautiously optimistic about this team and expect to improve as the season goes on,” said Lee, a 34-year veteran on Sparty’s bench. “The league will be very competitive. All teams have improved and every game will be a battle. “
The defense is deep, led by stellar sophomore Davis Kinne (10-12-22), the team’s top returning scorer. Senior Captain Chris Kolodziej, senior Alex Nazarian and junior Kory Ouellette complete the top four on the blue line. Sophomores Owen Giangrande and Sam York and senior Austin Prep transfer Sal Caruso will compete for time in goal.
The offense took a hit with the loss of junior Christian Moran (5-6-11) for at least the first half of the season with a broken femur. Juniors Colby Magliozzi (6-10-16) and Brady Carpenter (10-5-15) are the leading scorers among forwards. Senior Captain Owen Maguire and senior Max Giardina will be looked to for increased production.
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LOWELL CATHOLIC (9-8-4)
Home Rink: Chelmsford Forum, North Billerica
The rapid rise of the Crusaders program is complete – from fledgling Division 3 team a decade ago, to Div. 2 state champion in 2017, and now making the leap to Div. 1 North and among the powers of the Catholic Central.
It won’t be an easy transition, as the Crusaders have lost the core group of their recent run of success. Second-year coach Aaron Crear will lean on the handful of veterans, led by senior David Morey (5-10-15) at forward and senior Michael DiBacco (1-14-15) on defense. Junior Dom Valente (1-7-8) also returns on the blue line, and junior Cody Lesko is in goal, but sophomores Alex Pescatore (1-2-3) and Patrick Drew (2-2-4) are the only other forwards with experience.
So Crear and LC will look to an influx of talent, particularly on defense with junior Ty Soule, sophomore Joe DiGiovanni and freshman Keegan Boyden. Junior Shawn Martell is a newcomer in goal, and the Crusaders add a pair of forwards in freshman Adam Ellegood and sophomore Anthony Grace.
“This being the first year as a D1 program we will need get over the mental hurdle that we belong here,” Crear said. “We lost a ton of firepower on offense to graduation so manufacturing goals will be key for us. We have great speed up front and good positional defensemen. Being able to execute quick transitions on the breakout is going to be a point of emphasis to help on the offensive side.”
BISHOP FENWICK (11-10-1)
Home Rink: McVann-O’Keefe
The Crusaders seem to have turned a corner last year after reaching the North Sectional quarterfinals. A fairly large number of players return with experience for Coach Jim Quinlan, now in his fourth year on the Crusaders’ bench and 10th overall as a head coach.
The forward group includes seniors Ian Worthley, Nick Muzi, Jake Murphy, Diego Segui, Tom Estella and John Bernbaum and junior Nick Sasso. Junior Pentucket transfer Cam Martin, new junior Liam Hill, new sophomore Mark Wilson and new freshman Max Viera add to the mix.
The defense is exceptionally deep as seniors Alex Michelic, Matt Roscoe and Aiden Grenham, junior Gavin Belt, and sophomores Mike Faragi , Dillon Kniziak and Kin Muniz are back. Junior Malden Catholic transfer Aiden Anthony will push for time. Sophomore Dillon Bloom and new junior Jack Viera are leading goalie candidates.
ARLINGTON CATHOLIC (8-10-2)
Home Rink: Ed Burns Arena
Now in his 42nd season on the Cougars’ bench, coach Dan Shine is confident his young yet experienced squad – only four seniors graduated – has what it takes to return to the tournament after missing out with a loss in the final game last season.
“I think we’ll be more competitive and should get back to the tournament. To me, Division One seems as if there is more balance this year and I think our league is a perfect example of that,” Shine said.
Junior goalie Trevor Lally (2.72 gaa, .903 save pct.), who made 10 appearances last year, used a strong summer and pre-season to catapult himself into the starting goaltending job. Senior Steve DeLeo and sophomore Bruce Rufo are back-ups. A stout defense features senior co-captain Jason Smith (5-6-11), juniors Jackson Tresselt and Steve Calauti and sophomores Tommy Peterson and Niko Russo.
Senior co-captain Thomas Milne (19-8-27) led AC in scoring last year and will pace the forward group once again. Senior Ewan Powers (7-6-13) and junior Carson Priante (7-5-12) look to build on their solid campaigns. Seniors Ryan Tramonte and Will Franczak, junior Brady O’Connor and sophomore Alex Costa return in support roles. Junior Adam Haytayan is back after missing all of last year due to injury.