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Mass. Boys HS Hockey – Middlesex Liberty Preview: Woburn A Serious Threat, Winchester Much Improved

Perenially one of the state’s top divisions, the Middlesex League Liberty Division features both the 2020 Super 8 co-champions in Arlington, and Division 1 co-champions in Belmont. They will be have to deal with a veteran Woburn squad, an improved Winchester entry and a hungry Lexington club. And if Reading is allowed to resume sports activities, be sure the Rockets will be their usual tough self.

Belmont (14-5-5)

When the MIAA cancelled Championship Weekend this past March and declared co-champions in all sports, it resulted in the North Sectional Champion Marauders’ first-ever State hockey crown.

Ben Fici

Cam Fici

Henry Stonehouse

“Coming off a history-making season, the goal is to once again compete to be at the top of the Middlesex League. The players are driven to build off our recent success and make the most of a COVID-shortened season,” said coach Fred Allard.

Senior captain Ben Fici (16-18-34) is an offensive powerhouse and is joined at forward by senior Declan Harrington (3-7-10) and junior Matty Rowan whose season was cut short by injury last year. Senior captain Tim Grace (2-8-10) and senior Henry Stonehouse (3-7-10) are stout two-way defenders. New sophomore Belmont Hill transfers Cam Fici, a forward, and Ryan Griffin, a goalie, will be counted on to contribute.

Jonathan Surrette

Woburn (10-7-4)

With approximately a dozen regulars returning, the Tanners look to build on their solid campaign of a year ago. Veteran coach of 23 years Jim Duran said the team has great leadership and will count on that intangible to “have the best season we possibly can.” Things started off with a bang as the Tanners downed Super 8 co-champ and defending league champion Arlington this past weekend.

Michael Arsenault

Seniors Jonathan Surrette (21-16-37) and Lance Anderson (15-10-25) accounted for a big chunk of the Tanners’ offense last season. Seniors Mike Santullo and Aiden Robinson, junior Ryan Scalesse and sophomores Jackson Powers (4-9-13) and Brett Stone also return at forward.

The defense returning in front of senior goalie Ryan Moriarty is deep as senior Shea Clark, junior Michael Arsenault and sophomores Larry Parece, Nick Luezzi and Connor Welch all return.

Arlington (19-1-4)

While the reigning Division 1A co-champs lost heavily to graduation and transfers, you can expect veteran coach John Messuri and his staff will have the Spy Ponders – who begin the season with a 21-game unbeaten streak – well-prepared for whatever this COVID shortened season brings. Arlington always seems to have young, talented players in the pipeline.

Dom Laiosa

Reid Malatesta

Brendan Flynn

Mike Dunning

Matt Alesse

Senior defenseman Dom Laoisa and junior forward Reid Malatesta return as the team’s unspoken leaders. Junior forwards Matt Alesse and Michael Dunning and junior defenseman Brendan Flynn will take on expanded roles. All five played for Prior Division champion and tournament finalist Team Middlesex in last summer’s HNIB Summer Showcase.

Players stepping up from the JVs and newcomers to the the program will be counted on to adapt and to learn on the fly.

Rob DiVincenzo

Angelo Mario

Michael Nigro

Max Tong

Winchester (7-10-5)

The Sachems look for a bounce-back campaign and a return to the post-season under second-year coach Gino Khachadourian. A sizable veteran contingent returns.

Defense projects as a strength, built around senior goalie Robert DiVincenzo (.905 save pct.), who logged 862 minutes a year ago. Senior Nick Ciaccio and juniors Liam Doherty, Alec O’Connor and Trevor Mahoney patrol the blue line. Senior Gunnery transfer Jack Riley adds to that group.

A half-dozen veteran forwards return: seniors Angelo Mario (8-7-15), Colin Van Stry (4-8-12), Joey Falso (4-6-10) and Frank Napolitano, sophomore Michael Nigro (3-10-13) and sophomore Max Tong (5-6-11). Look for junior Dexter-Southfield transfer Michael Cashell to contribute.

“We have a group of returning players who bring leadership to the team. After learning a new system and structure under a new coach [last year], they should hit the ice running this year,” said Khachadourian. “We will still practice at a high level as if it were a normal year. The goals remain to provide our players with an unforgettable experience, develop them as athletes and young men, and win hockey games.”

Lexington (5-10-6)

The Minutemen will lean on their defense, especially in the early going as the offense develops on the job.

Seniors Nick Tringale and Colin McMahon-Shea and sophomore Eric Caouette make up a solid core of veteran defensemen in front of Will Buchta, who takes over in goal. Senior Thomas Caouette is a key returning forward for coach Curt Colarullo. New sophomore Liam Hunt could step into a leading role.

Reading (11-7-6)

At the time of this posting, the Rockets had yet to complete tryouts as their season is one of several on hold indefinitely due to the pandemic. If given the go-ahead, veteran coach Mark Doherty likes the Rockets’ make-up.

There is depth at forward with captains Landyn Greatorex (9-16-25) and Colin Mulvey (3-3-6) leading the way. New freshman Cullen Emery looks to make an impact. Senior captain Charlie Miele anchors the defense. There is an open competition for the goaltending job.

Kevin Doyle

Kevin Doyle

Kevin joined HNIB in 1990 and is a Senior Writer and Director of the Northern New England and Mass/R.I. High School Division camps. A veteran editor/writer of 40 years in the print and digital mediums, he has edited and produced original content and coordinated production for local and global publications and websites. He holds degrees from Merrimack College and Boston University and won multiple industry awards as Sports Editor of The Daily News of Newburyport and News Editor of The Amesbury News. He is the 2016 recipient of the North Shore Lifetime Commitment From the Community award presented by Moynihan Lumber and a 2017 Newburyport High School Wall of Fame inductee. He resides with his family in Portsmouth, NH. Email him at [email protected] and follow him on Twitter @kdoyle40
Kevin Doyle
- 3 hours ago