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Mass. Boys HS Hockey – Middlesex Freedom Preview: Improved Stoneham Looks To Challenge League Heavies Burlington, Melrose

The Freedom Division of the Middlesex League is back to six teams for this year, as former member Watertown has returned for this season. D1 teams Burlington and Melrose project to be favorites, while improved Stoneham hopes to have a say.
Burlington (14-6-4)
After playing their way into the Elite Eight of the Division 1A showcase a year ago, the Red Devils could be equally dangerous despite losing a healthy chunk of offense to graduation. Look for the Red Devils to lean on a lock-down defense this season.
 

Sean Malone
Burlington

Jack Jay
Burlington

Colin Browne
Burlington

Joe Trabucco
Burlington

“We need to replace two very good defensemen and 54 goals of offense (out of 83). (Joe) Trabucco should be one of the best goalies in the State who hopes to build off a great junior year,” said Bob Conceison, the Devils’ 34-year head coach.
 
Trabucco closed with stellar numbers last year – 1.94 GAA, .925 Save Pct., 3 SO – and figures to only improve. Seniors Colin Browne and Ray Magliozzi and junior Anthony Andriolo. Seniors Sean Malone (7-7-14) and Jack Jay (6-8-14) are top returning scorers. Seniors Dalton McKinnon and Brian O’Neill and sophomores Brendan Janis, Nick Berglund, Ryan Kane and Will Curtin all return with experience.

Quinn McCarthy
Melrose

Will Pierce
Melrose

Charlie Haggerty
Melrose

Melrose (11-8-3)

The Raiders are getting a lot of love from opponents on both sides of the league. Recognition is nice but long-time coach Vin Mirasolo understands certain things are a must to meet those expectations.

“Solid play from young, inexperienced goaltending will be key. We do have solid team defense in front of the goalies,” said Mirasolo, who starts the season with 284 wins.

The Raiders will rely heavily on one of the division’s elite trios of forwards in senior center Brendan Fennell (22-29-51) and senior wings Charlie Haggerty (13-22-35) and Quinn McCarthy (14-16-30). Junior center TJ Sullivan and senior wings Joe McNeely and Kevin O’Keefe also return.

Veteran seniors Will Pierce, Will Brandon and Gavin Crowley and returning sophomore Joe O’Keefe bring experience to the blue line.

Mike DelTrecco
Stoneham

Stoneham (8-11-2)

The Spartans should have a bit of different look this season with a small, fast and skilled team that is ready to contend in the Freedom Division.

Coach Paul Sacco will have a strong senior group as he enters his 10th season. Forward Brandon Stewart and defenseman Christian Ferreira will serve as captains, while senior Mike DelTrecco returns in goal.

Stoneham also returns Danny Storella, who led the team in scoring as a freshman and came back 6 inches taller and 30 pounds heavier. Storella has the ability to be the most skilled all-around player in Sacco’s tenure.

Junior Joseph Kranefuss also can provide offense from the blue line for the Spartans.

Wakefield (11-7-3)

The Warriors should be one of the league’s most experienced teams entering coach Michael Geary’s second season, with 14 returnees overall — nine of them forwards.

Included in that group is the top two lines, led by senior captain Oliver Miller on the right wing with sophomore Matt Elwell (LW) and junior Joe O’Brien (C). The all-senior group of John DeFeo, Matt Moniz and Brogan Chambers follow, while seniors Brendan Vacca, Cal Tryder and Howie Melanson round out the deep cast. Juniors Dan Mailhoit and Ryan Rossini, as well as sophomore Bobby DeFeo are newcomers up front.

Juniors Evan Burns and Evan Simoneau are the top blue line pair, returning along with sophomore John Regan and junior Michael Parent. Sophomore Joe Colliton and senior Jared Green also will get regular minutes on defense. Junior Jon Guida is back in net, backed up by sophomore Dom DeAngelis.

Raffi Lachinian
Watertown

Watertown (13-7-2)

The Raiders temporarily return from the independent ranks to play a Middlesex League schedule during the pandemic, the first time they have competed in the league since 2016-17. Coach John Vlachos has only three seniors, yet still returns a large group of experienced underclassmen from last year’s tournament team.

Nicholas DiPace and Anthony Diallo are two of the seniors, and anchor the deep blue line along with junior Nathan Master, and sophomores Jack Dickie and Nicholas Pattas. Junior Jared Norton and sophomore Casey Williams are the goaltenders.

Raffi Lachinian (RW) is the lone senior at forward, joined by juniors Colin Campbell (C), Mason Andrade (LW), Michael Cormier (RW), and Dante Venezia (LW). Sophomore centers Aiden Campbell and Anthony Venezia also are back along with forward Daniel Tattrie.

Watertown will be bolstered by a strong group of newcomers – juniors Payton Andrade (RW), Malcom MacDonald (LW) and Brenden Donovan (RW), sophomore Brendan Campbell (RW), and freshmen James Erickson (RW), Alec Banosian (C) and Caden Salzman (D).

Matt Pendenza
Wilmington

Wilmington (10-9-3)

The Wildcats will need to replace the bulk of their scoring from a season ago as Steve Scanlon enters his 30th season behind the bench.

Peter Kourkoutas will be the senior captain and one of the top returning forwards along with alternate captains Matthew Pendenza and Christopher Bernazani. Pendenza is the top returning scorer from last season’s tournament squad.

Wilmington also welcomes back senior forwards Robert Courtney, Jason Davey, Andrew Gallucci, Derek Gallucci and Anthony Savage. The defense is led by senior James Kourkoutas and junior Aidan Murphy. Seniors Samuel Cedrone and Alex Fitzler are back in net.

  • Jim Clark and Kevin Doyle contributed to this report
HNIB Staff
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