Mass. Boys HS Hockey – Patriot League Fisher Division Preview: Hanover, Scituate Loom As Early Favorites

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 Patriot League’s Fisher Division proved in the shortened 2020-21 season that it could go toe-to-toe with some of the bigger programs on the other side. Hanover and Scituate earned wins over Hingham and Marshfield, respectively, in the Patriot Cup – although the league tournament will not be returning this season.

With veteran teams, Hanover and Scituate should be the favorites in the division again. Pembroke, Plymouth South and Quincy have gained more experience as they look to contend, while North Quincy will look to its defense to shoulder the load after some graduation losses.

HANOVER (11-2-1)

Coach: Jonny Abban

MIAA Division: 3

The Hawks were as good as any team in the Patriot last season, regardless of division, stunning Hingham in the league tournament before falling to Marshfield. Now they are back to being one of the preseason favorites in Division 3, having shared the co-state championship with Longmeadow in 2020.

“We have a ton of senior leadership and hopefully that will help us in the long run,” Abban said.

The senior group is spread well across both the forward lines and defense. Robbie Hanna is a returning PL All-Star and will spark the offense with seniors Tyler Macdermott, Max DaSilva, Quinn Brown, Matt Flynn and Charlie Cataldo, as well as juniors Ben Lines, Liam Joy and Ryan Coutts.

The blue line is just as seasoned, with senior returnees Tao Lanagan, Zac Lee, Nolan Faherty and Nate Curtis, along with junior Tyler Richards.

Juniors Liam Monahan and Donovan Ryan are the goaltenders this season for the Hawks.

NORTH QUINCY (5-8-1)

Coach: Matt Gibbons

MIAA Division: 3

The Raiders graduated 10 seniors from a year ago, including four-year starter Asher Wines in goal, so Gibbons sees a lot of opportunity for other players to make an impact.

Senior Thomas Kelly and sophomore Aiden McGuinness will be vying for playing time in net, but North Quincy does have its most veteran experience on the blue line with senior captain John Lynch and fellow seniors Kevin Salmanowich and Lucas Hooley.

Juniors James Rogers and Noah Kearney are the top returning forwards. Gibbons will look for contributions from freshmen Thomas Walsh and Brian Buckley, as well as senior Pat McDonald and junior David D’Antona.

“End of the day we have to be a tough team to play against. All the guys going in the same direction on and off the ice,” Gibbons said. “Looking forward to this year and the players having the locker room back and able to be more of a team, and I think those little things will go a long way.”

PEMBROKE (5-8-1)

Coach: Mark Duffy

MIAA Division: 3

The Titans are among the teams that could benefit from the new statewide tournament and power ratings to provide a boost as they battle through a tough Patriot League schedule.

Senior Anthony Birolini (10-11-21), who can play both center and wing, is coming off a PL All-Star season and will be the clear go-to player up front for the Titans. Senior center/wing Kyle Picariello (2-8-10), sophomore wing Brendan Abban (1-6-7) and sophomore center Brandon Perry (1-2-3) all got good experience last season.

Senior James Indelicato (2-4-6), junior Garrett Bolan (0-1-1) and sophomore Ryan Bradley (0-1-1) return on defense. Junior James Stone (3.44 GAA) also is back in net, but Duffy expects freshman Kyle Ready is ready to provide some healthy competition in net.

Among the keys for Duffy this season? Staying healthy, balanced offense from all lines, commitment to defending well in their zone and off the rush, and competing every shift.

Logan Graham Plymouth South

PLYMOUTH SOUTH (1-10-2)

Coach: Steve Whyte

MIAA Division: 2

Following a couple of rebuilding seasons, Whyte believes the Panthers are finally back in position to make a run for the top of the Patriot League.

Senior captain Noah St. Germaine leads the forward group along with junior Kenny Thurston (5-3-8), the top scorer in last year’s shortened season. Sophomores Sean McNamara and Carter McNamara also return, and juniors Mason Miller, Owen Day and RJ Roy gained valuable varsity experience last season.

Senior captain Logan Graham and junior James Lopes will lead the defense, with sophomore Caleb O’Brien dropping back from forward to shore things up. Freshmen Zach Miller and Anthony Colonna also will log varsity minutes. In net, junior Tristan Holmes is in his third varsity season and will get competition from juniors Zach Brown and Matt Mulligan.

Whyte is excited to add senior forward James Kelleher and junior defenseman Sean Kelleher, both transfers from Tabor, to his lineup. He says they will add size, experience, solid work ethic and positive character on and off the ice.

“This team has a lot to prove this year,” Whyte said. “We have been in a rebuilding process over the last couple of seasons. This year we have many players returning with varsity experience so the expectation is high and the team is ambitious. In order to have success we need to establish strong team chemistry with a concrete identity. We need to handle both successes and failures the right way, learning from adversity and building off of positives.”

QUINCY (3-9-0)

Coach: Ted Walsh

MIAA Division: 2

The Presidents are in a good position this season of having a pair of Patriot League All-Stars – senior Joe Hennessy and junior Cam Quigley – back to lead a solid group of returnees.

Hennessy spearheads the offensive attack with junior Will Martin and seniors Cooper Hernon and Timmy Kelly.

Meanwhile, Quigley will be the top player on a blue line that also will feature senior Zach Galligan. They will be cleaning things up in front of senior goalie Danny Freeman.

“We need to lean on our senior leadership and experience as we are a senior-oriented team who have good speed and skill,” Walsh said.

Brendan Boyle Scituate

SCITUATE (11-2-0)

Coach: Brian Hurcombe

MIAA Division: 3

Much like with Hanover, the Sailors were in lock step with the rest of the Patriot last season, which included a win over Marshfield to open the double-elimination Patriot Cup.

Now Hurcombe’s squad will be carried by a handful of key returnees at forward, including PL All-Star Brendan Boyle (12-13-25) and Nichols commit Ben Whitman (8-5-13). That senior duo, along with senior Dylan McDonald (5-4-9), will spark the Scituate offense in the early going.

Cole Coyne Scituate

Senior Chris Sullivan is back on defense, and Hurcombe says there are some reinforcements coming back from junior hockey that will help on the blue line. It also will help to have senior PL All-Star Cole Coyne (1.51 GAA) back in net.

“We will need our special teams to be fantastic,” Hurcombe said. “We are strong up front and if everyone buys into the team concept and puck possession concepts, we will be tough to beat.”

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