Mass. Boys HS Hockey – MVC/Dual County 2 Preview: A-B, Lowell, Newton South Join

Jim Clark
Jim Clark
Jim Clark joined Hockey Night in Boston in December 2019, and has covered high school hockey in Massachusetts for more than three decades. He also covers high school hockey and is a multiplatform editor for the Boston Globe, and previously spent two decades as high school hockey reporter at the Boston Herald, where he also served as the high schools editor from 2000-06. Clark was honored by the Mass. State Hockey Coaches Association with its William Stewart Award for contributions to the sport in May 2019, and also received the Joel Perlmutter Award for media coverage in 2006. A graduate of UMass, he also spent eight years as sports editor/reporter at the Sentinel & Enterprise in Fitchburg, and has extensively covered high school hockey in Central and Western Mass. as well as Connecticut.

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This division will have a new look this season, as Acton-Boxboro has moved down from the MVC/Dual 1 league, and both Lowell and Newton South have moved up from the MVC/Dual 3 league. Tewksbury is the early favorite.

ACTON-BOXBORO (4-3-0)

Coach: Kevin Richardson

MIAA Division: 1

With a core of experienced players returning, coach Kevin Richardson anticipates that A-B will make a significant jump up in the MVC/DCL 2. 

“We are excited for the season and are expecting it to be one of our best in recent history. We have a great core of forwards and defensemen returning [and] an excellent leadership core being spearheaded by Captain Andrew Welch. We can tell they’re hungry and willing to do whatever it takes to have a successful season,” Richardson said.

Smooth-skating junior Camden Matthews, in his third varsity year, takes on assistant captain responsibilities this year. Senior Thomas Argento returns this season and should add pop to the attack. Richardson credits his leadership by example and dedication to doing the little things. The forward unit includes eight juniors.

The senior captain Welch, a strong top-way performer,  leads the defense in his fourth varsity season. Senior assistant captain PJ Cronin, a two-year varsity player, continues to grow his overall game. Junior third-year varsity skater Seamus Brennan has shown himself to be a dependable decision-maker in all situations. Freshman Billy Dapkas could have an immediate impact. Senior Tommy Egan takes over in goal.

BOSTON LATIN (3-4-0)

Coach: Frank Woods

MIAA Division: 2

The veteran Woods still sees a lot of unknowns entering the season, coming off a campaign in which the Wolfpack played only seven games.

James Fitzgerald Boston Latin

However, there is experience in the defensive end of the ice, where seniors Shane Sullivan, Tim McGrath and Ryan Maziarka all got significant varsity minutes. Woods also hopes that seniors Luke Young and Aidan Fitzgerald will provide healthy competition in goal as they battle for the No. 1 job.

“Up front we are young and unproven,” Woods said, “so determining where our offense will come from will be a focus early in the season.”

The youthful forward group will be led by junior centers Patrick Harnan and Richard Bova, junior left wing James Fitzgerald, and sophomores Matthew Carrara at center and Aidan Fitzpatrick on right wing.

CONCORD-CARLISLE (4-4-4)

Coach: Rian Murray

MIAA Division: 2

While there was no MIAA postseason a year ago, Murray says the opportunity to play in the DCL Cup gave his Patriots their first playoff win in six years.

“I feel like the program is going in the right direction,” Murray said. “We lost in the DCL championship to a very strong Waltham team 5-3 last year, so the boys got some great experience playing in some high-stakes games, which hopefully will pay dividends at some point.”

C-C lost some solid contributors to graduation and prep school, but has plenty of experience back. Junior Noah Thorpe (6-11-17) was a DCL All-Star last season and will be the go-to player this time around along with sophomore right wing Jay Carter (6-10-16), senior left wing Carter O’Brien (2-2-4) and senior left wing Aidan Dowd.

Junior Marcos Braceras is the top returning defenseman, but Murray has high hopes for freshman Ben Ohanian on the blue line. Sophomore CJ Bailey posted a 2.80 GAA in seven games a year ago.

“We’re looking for some younger guys to take advantage of their opportunities and take on new roles, especially at defense,” Murray said. “For us to be successful, we will need to play strong team defense, get excellent goaltending, and have a high compete level.”

LINCOLN-SUDBURY (8-1-0)

Coach: Matt Carlin

MIAA Division: 1

Even with the shortened season, the Warriors still found their season end prematurely, when they were unable to participate in the DCL Cup. They outscored opponents 61-17 in 20-21, but will be a young club this year, with just two seniors.

One of those seniors, Brendan Quinn (18 pts), will spearhead the offense for coach Carlin, along with junior Frank DeTraglia (13 pts).

On the blue line, senior Ben Chwalek and junior Drew Oblak will have important roles. New sophomore Matt Mahoney could be a factor.

Junior Logan Herguth is back in goal from last season’s varsity squad.

LOWELL (7-4-0)

Coach: Brian Akashian

MIAA Division: 2

After many seasons as one of the perennial Division 3 contenders – including D3 North titles in 2020, 2019 and 2017 – the Red Raiders make the jump to Division 2 under the new alignment. It won’t be easy, as Akashian says Lowell has graduated 17 players and lost others to junior hockey or transfer in the last two seasons.

Colin Pickett
Lowell

“We plan on working hard, being physically and mentally tough and not making any excuses,’ Akashian said, adding that Lowell will “need our underclassmen to make a big impact if we want to compete night in and night out.”

Seniors Kyle Frechette (0-2-2), Ben Kotsifas (0-2-2) and Michael Pickett (0-4-4) anchor the defense as junior Aidan Lavoie takes over as the starter in goal.

Up front, the Raiders will be looking to junior Colin Pickett (6-7-13) to lead the way, as well as senior B.J. Anderson (2-4-6) and junior Thomas Woodlock (3-6-9).

Taking a look at the future, Lowell welcomes freshman forwards Matt Lesniak and Nate Doge, as well as a pair of eighth-graders – forward Ned Akashian and defenseman Keegan Hunt.

Ryan Quirk
Newton South

NEWTON SOUTH (3-5-4)

Coach: Chris Ryberg

MIAA Division: 2

After years of skating in Division 3 of the DCL/MVC, the Lions make the move up to Division 2 both in the league and for the new statewide tournament format. The good news is that they might never be better positioned for such a move, as Ryberg welcomes back six of the top nine forwards from last season as well as their top five defensemen.

Leading the forwards are a pair of DCL All-Stars from last season in seniors Nathan Cohen (9-7-16) and Ryan Quirk (6-9-15).

Nathan Cohen Newton South

The veteran defense will feature seniors Sam Gordon, Mitch Friedman and Andrew Murray, as well as junior Jim Tarmey. Freshman Elliot Wood is expected to step in and get playing time on the blue line.

Ryberg expects junior Dylan Zukowski will be solid as he gets his opportunity to take the reins in goal.

“Our program is excited to be competing at the D2 level and I think will ultimately benefit from playing an extremely strong league and nonleague schedule,” Ryberg said.

Brendan Donnelly North Andover

NORTH ANDOVER (3-5-1)

Coach: Scott Greene

MIAA Division: 1

Former Assistant Greene takes over the head coaching reins for the Scarlet Knights and will preach strong team defense as they navigate through a tough league. Also, NA will be a Division 1 club if it qualifies for the post-season.

Cullen Dolan
North Andover

Seniors Andrew Perry and Cullen Dolan will be key forwards. New senior Charlie Dean will have an impact, while junior Kyle Losco and sophomore Kyle Donnelly look for big roles.

The North Andover blue line will be anchored by senior Brendan Donnelly. Junior Connor Chace will be an asset as well.

A key will be finding a new starting goaltender, as the team graduated three seniors at the position.

TEWKSBURY (8-2-0)

Coach: Derek Doherty

MIAA Division: 2

Hopes often are high around the Redmen program, and this season should be no exception.

Start with what Doherty believes “could be one of the best defensive pairs in the state” in senior captain Caden Connors (8-9-17), an MVC All-Star last season, and junior Nicholas Diccicio. They will be manning the solid blue line in front of junior goalie Ben O’Keefe (2.15 GAA, .903 SP).

Offensively the Redmen will look to senior captain Jason Cooke (11-8-19) as the top forward, followed closely by senior Cole Stone (5-11-16) and sophomore Matthew Cooke (5-4-9). Seniors Aaron Connelly (3-6-9) and Sean Lane (3-3-6) also add depth to the forward attack.

Doherty sees his team as having a “solid core of veteran, experienced, and motivated returners on both sides and in net.”

** Kevin Doyle contributed to this report

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