Home Rink: Hobomock Arena
After dominating the now defunct Atlantic Coast League, winning multiple league titles and State Championships in 2006 and 2011 under 21-year coach Dan Connolly – who surpassed the lofty 300-win mark late last season – the Rams will play an Independent schedule this season.
“We return seven forwards and two defensemen. The key will be to fill open slots and playing good team defense. We will have a lot of new faces so gelling early will be a key as well,” Connolly says.
Seniors Tim Doyle (8-9-17), Matt Mullaney (4-6-10), Kevin Moriarty (7-6-13), Bryce McDonough and Shane Brait and junior Jake Mastrangelo (8-8-16) form a likely Top Six forward unit. Seniors Jon Jordan (5-7-12) and Charles Kolar (12 points) and junior Jarrod Wright return on the back line in front of new goalie Aidan Healey, a junior.
Home Rink: Pilgrim Arena
Fourteen seniors graduated from last year’s Harbormen squad that reached the Division 1A semifinals, the sort of hit that would torpedo many programs for a year or more. Hingham, however, is not most programs. It may take a bit of time but veteran Coach Tony Messina anticipates this club being just fine.
“We will have just a small core with game experience. We’ll need to fill a lot of key roles at all positions to be competitive with our difficult schedule. So far, we have a number of solid players working hard to make this happen,” he said.
Senior captains Terrence Concannon (4-4-8) and Joe Forbes (3-6-9), seniors Tim Carroll (4-9-13), Cam Tedeschi and Will Ham and junior Paul Forbes (8-4-12) return at forward.
Senior captain Dan Packard and juniors Ronan Mulkerrin and Tom McNally anchor the defense. Junior Theo Jacobs has a modicum of varsity experience and will compete with senior Dom Iaria, junior Jake Wilson and sophomore Luke Merian for the goaltender’s job.
Among players new to the program, sophomores John Choueiri, Sean Garrity, Evan Corbett, Alex Barzowskas, and Connor Walsh and freshman Aidan Brazel will all press for playing time.
POPE FRANCIS (18-2-3)
Home Rink: Olympia Ice Center
The Cardinals are somewhat younger than in years past and will have a bit of a different look this season. Despite the graduation of nine seniors from a club whose only MIAA loss came in the Division 1A title game, PF coach Brian Foley expresses confidence the Cardinals can make their ninth straight 1A Tournament appearance and compete for the state’s premier hockey title.
“Solid goaltending, strong defense and balanced scoring will be the keys to success. This year’s team will be focused on underclassman contributing in each game. The senior class consists of five players who will lead by example and demand discipline within the system developed by the coaching staff,” said Foley, whose club suffered excruciating OT losses to B.C. High in the 1A final each of the past two years.
Junior Ben Zaranek (1.58 gaa, .924 save pct.), who appeared in 16 games last year and is now in his third varsity campaign, will be leaned on heavily as this team finds its footing. The defense includes seniors Matt Pelletier (2-5-7) and Logan Dapprich, juniors Stephen Rougeot and Charles Wykowski and sophomore Jck Kennedy.
Juniors Brandon Spaulding (6-7-13) and Evan Phaneuf (4-7-11) are the top returning scorers. Seniors Beck Avery-Dyjach, Connor Cognac and Connor Wodecki and juniors Jacob Iby and Matthew Burke round out the forward group.
An influx of players new to the program, including five freshmen, should make an impact.
ST. JOHN’S (S) (9-11-2)
Home Rink: New England Sports Center
The Pioneers seem ready to make some noise this winter as 13 seasoned players return for coach Mike Mead, who cites senior leadership and good team chemistry as the keys to a successful campaign a return to the post-season.
Eight forwards return to an offense driven by the senior trio of Matthew Myers (13-10-23), Brendan Doherty (7-12-19) and Sean Clark (12-2-14). Seniors Luke DeFlumeri, Hunter DiGregorio and Griffin Burns and juniors Matt Shustak and Ryan Richard add abundant depth up front.
A quartet of defensemen – senior Evan MacDonald (4-8-12), juniors Mitch Albert and Andrew Dowd, and sophomore Josh Sacco – are back in front of senior goalie Dan Laursen.
Home Rink: Northstar
New coach Terry Virtue played professionally for the old Worcester Ice Cats in the AHL and, more recently, won two high school championships as a head coach in the Pittsburgh area before moving back to Massachusetts with his family.
He brings with him a clear vision of what it will take for the Colonials to succeed: Playing an “all-around team game with structure and discipline.”
Shrewsbury needs to dramatically improve its offensive output from a year ago. Returning seniors Drew Albertson and Sam O’Connor and junior Jamison Alicandro are the most experienced forwards. New junior Matthew Nuzziolo and new freshman Eli Cardosi add depth.
Senior Matt Sande and junior Ryan Sande return in goal with seniors Tommy Belbin and Joe Flionis back on the blue line. New senior Tim Fitzpatrick and new junior Nico Evangelous join the defense.