Mass. Boys HS Hockey – Patriot League Fisher Division Preview: Co-State Champ Hanover Still Has Star Power; North Quincy, Scituate Remain Top Contenders

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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The Fisher Division will have a slightly new look this season, as Quincy moves over from the Keenan Division to make room for Hingham and Marshfield. But one thing that likely won’t change, is that Hanover has the firepower not only to lead the six-team pack but compete with the league’s best overall.

With no state tournaments this season, the teams will be competing for the season-ending Patriot Cup. North Quincy and Scituate both have enough returning experience to push Hanover for the top spot and also contend for the league championship in the end.

Zac Lee

Hanover (21-3-1)

The Indians took it as far as they possibly could a year ago — sweeping to their third Division 3 South championship in five years and then beating Lowell in a state semifinal. They were declared state co-champions with Longmeadow after COVID-19 shut down the final weekend, and now the team will refocus its goals in this abbreviated 2020-21 season and look to take home the inaugural Patriot Cup.

Max DaSilva

Coach Jonny Abban, entering his 10th season as head coach, brings back a pair of standouts from that team in senior captains Manning Morris and Nate DelPrete. They produced the bulk of the offense during the tournament run along with graduated center Ethan Davis, and Morris (Patriot Fisher MVP, more than 100 career points) and DelPrete (two-time all-star, 90 career points) will be the top guns again along with senior Bryan Taylor and junior Tyler MacDermott. Junior Max DaSilva is a transfer from BC High who will add to the depth at forward.

Hanover should be in good shape on the blue line with senior Ryan Larvey, and juniors Thao Lanagan, Drew Vermette and Zac Lee. Finding a new starter in goal will be one of Abban’s biggest tasks.

North Quincy (10-9-3)

The heartbreak and frustration is in how close the Red Raiders were last season — pushing eventual Division 3 South champ and co-state champion Hanover to double overtime before falling.

Now with no state tournament this year, 12th-year coach Matt Gibbons says the key this season will be to “control what we can control, everything else is just noise.”

Asher Wines
North Quincy
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Ronan Kelly
No. Quincy
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Michael Izzo
No. Quincy
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Ben Wines
No. Quincy
[/one_fourth_last] North Quincy should be able to control things in its end of the ice, thanks to senior captains and twin brothers Asher Wines and Ben Wines. Asher (just over 2.00 GAA last season) is entering his fourth season as the starter in net and Gibbons expects him to continue to be the backbone of the team. Meanwhile, Gibbons looks for Ben Wines to step into the defense leadership role held last season by the graduated Cormac Flaherty.

Up front, seniors Ronan Kelly (11-10-21) and Mike Izzo (10-10-20) return, while freshman forward Tyler Kelly looks like a player to watch.

“At the end of the day we just need to compete harder than the other team, continue to get better every day at practice and just enjoy every moment,” Gibbons said.

Pembroke (0-19-2)

Entering his 17th season, and as the only coach in program history, Mark Duffy was hoping the extended preseason could help the Titans build team chemistry and develop their style of play.

The young squad will be led by senior winger Brendan McCabe (3-5-8), as well as junior center Anthony Birolini (6-3-9) and winger Kyle Picariello (3-2-5). Duffy hopes a pair of newcomers, sophomore James Stone and freshman Kevin Murphy, will solidify the team in goal.

“What we lack for varsity game experience will have to be offset by our competitive spirit,” Duffy said.

Plymouth South (4-16-1)

The Panthers will be looking to bounce back in Stephen Whyte’s second season behind the bench. Whyte says his young squad is “a motivated and coachable group with some good leadership in the upper classes.”

Senior center Casey Donovan (10-4-14) is the top returning scorer, followed by sophomore Kenny Thurston (1-10-11) and senior forward Chris Colbert (5-3-8). South also has a strong goaltending trio of senior Sam Roth, and sophomores Tristian Holmes and Zach Brown.

The incoming group includes freshmen forwards Caleb O’Brien, Sean McNamara and Carter McNamara, as well as freshman Julien Curtis and sophomore James Lopes on defense.

“We are looking for our leadership to help the team find its identity and establish a strong culture,” Whyte said. “Our goal is to improve every day, learn from adversity, and build off of success.”

Quincy (3-16-2)

Quincy makes the move to the Fisher Division, and eighth-year coach Ted Walsh said the Presidents will be looking to make the best of all the uncertainty surrounding the season.

Walsh said sophomores Cam Quigley and Will Martin, along with junior Timmy Kelly, were his best line last season and they will bolster the attack. Seniors Donovan Murray and Ryen Lawten, as well as junior Zach Galligan are back on the blue line, with junior Danny Freeman returning in goal.

The Presidents will be looking for strong contributions from newcomers Joe Hennessy, Cooper Hernon and Pat Walsh — all juniors — as well as sophomore Kyle Gates. Tyler Holmes and Shaun Halley will back up Freeman in net.

“We will need strong defensive play and we need to bury our offensive opportunities when we have chances,” Walsh said.

Evan McBrien
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Cam Swan
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Cole Coyne
[/one_third_last] Scituate (13-10-1)

Entering his third season, coach Brian Hurcombe believes the Sailors have the ingredients to compete for the Fisher Division championship and, subsequently, the league’s inaugural postseason “Patriot Cup.”

Seniors Evan McBrien and Cam Swan will be the focal points at forward, along with juniors Brendan Boyle, Ben Whitman and Dylan McDonald. Defensively, senior Troy Pratt and junior Chris Sullivan return, while junior Cole Coyne will back the Sailors in net. Scituate’s blue line got an offseason boost with the return of senior Thomas Cappadonna from junior hockey.

“We need to outwork opponents and stay out of the box,” Hurcombe said. “We can bring a lot of energy and pressure 5 on 5.”

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