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Mass. Boys HS: Middlesex League Freedom Division Preview – Burlington, Melrose Expect Strong Years

Melrose was a team to watch for much of the 2018-19 season, and many coaches believe this is the year the Red Raiders could move to the top of the league. They will need to edge past perennial power and defending champ Burlington, which should be strong again. The entire division will be a grind with Stoneham, Wilmington and Wakefield as all five teams made the postseason a year ago.

BURLINGTON (14-8-2)

Home Rink: Burlington Ice Palace

While he likes Melrose as the favorite in the Freedom Division, Red Devils’ coach Bob Conceison – now in his 33rd season on the Burlington bench and 36th overall – expects his club will push for the program’s ninth league title during his tenure.

Sixteen players with various levels of varsity experience return; slotting them to achieve maximum output is the early task. “We hope to compete near the top of the Freedom with Stoneham. Wilmington and Wakefield will be much improved,” Conceison said. “Defense and goal should be a strong point for us.”

Ryan O’Halloran
Burlington

Jacob Vozikis
Burlington

Joe Trabucco
Burlington

Spencer Reith
Burlington

John Condon
Burlington

Senior Ryan O’Halloran (13-33-46) is among the top forwards in Division One. Seniors John Condon (6-11-17), Jacob Vozikis (5-6-11) and Cam Costa (5-5-10) will be looked to for increased production. Juniors Sean Malone (4-4-8), Zach Auble, Dalton Mackinnon and Jack Jay provide depth.

Junior goalie Joe Trabucco (2.14 gaa) and senior defenseman Spencer Reith return as the leaders in the back end. Juniors Colin Browne and Ray Magliozzi and sophomore Anthony Andriolo complete the top quartet on defense. Seniors Mike Morcos (3.00 gaa) and Mike Graham back up Trabucco in goal.

MELROSE (12-5-5)

Home Rink: Stoneham Arena

Bolstered by a forward group that returns largely intact, the Red Raiders seem poised to challenge for the Freedom Division title under the guidance of veteran coach Vin Mirasolo.

“It’s a solid returning group. We’ll look for our goaltenders (minimal varsity experience) to gain experience as we go,” Mirasolo said.

Look for that forward group to be in attack mode from the first puck drop. Junior Brendan Fennell (20-23-43) and senior Cam Marks (14-17-31) are the top returning scorers. Senior Andrew Calvert (8-16-24) and juniors Quinn McCarthy (10-10-20), Charlie Haggerty (9-10-19) and Sean Senier (6-4-10) provide proven secondary scoring. Senior Cam Gorman, junior Kevin O’Keefe and sophomore Tom Sullivan round out the unit.

The seasoned defense features seniors Joe Lucien (8-8-16) and Ryan Morris and juniors Will Pierce, Gavin Crowley and Will Brandon. Senior Andrew Martin and junior Nick Sicurella are the goalie candidates.

Cam Marks
Melrose

Quinn McCarthy
Melrose

Anthony Calvert
Melrose

Joe Lucien
Melrose

Will O’Brien
Stoneham

STONEHAM (12-9-1)

Home Rink: Stoneham Arena

The Spartans always end up being a sleeper team in the postseason after being battle-tested in the tough Middlesex League. Coming off last year’s run to the Division 2 North semifinals, coach Paul Sacco’s team is ready for another go at it.

Mike Deltrecco
Stoneham

Stoneham should be built well from the net out, beginning with goalie Mike Deltrecco. He will be supported by a strong, veteran defense with Will O’Brien, Michael Shannon, Ty Foley, Christian Ferrara and James Malonson.

Offensively the Spartans will look to returning forwards Brandon Stewart and Ryan Gicchetto at center, Nolan MacNeil and Kolby Horgan at right wing, and Joe Kranefuss at left wing.

A pair of freshmen – left wing Danny Storella and defenseman Danny Cooke – are expected to vie for playing time.

WAKEFIELD (6-12-3)

Home Rink: Stoneham Arena

Wakefield enters the season with only four seniors, but they will provide key leadership for coach Jason Lawrence as they hope to lead a young squad back to the postseason.

Senior captains Cam Souza and Scott Elwell lead the forward group along with juniors Brogan Chambers, John Defeo, Tim Lucey, Howie Melanson, Oliver Miller, Matt Moniz, Cal Tryder and Brendan Vacca, sophomores Mike Locke and Joe O’Brien, and freshmen Bob Defeo and Matt Elwell.

Defensively the Warriors will look to senior captain Chris Coombs, as well as junior Jared Green, sophomores Owen Locke, Mike Parent and Evan Simoneau, and freshmen Matt Burns and John Regan.

Senior goalie Luke Roberts is the fourth captain, and will be backed up by junior Aiden Tibbetts and sophomore Marcus Guida.

WILMINGTON (8-12-1)

Home Rink: Ristuccia Memorial Arena, Wilmington

Wilmington was able to qualify for the tournament a year ago because of the MIAA’s “70 percent rule” after battling through the tough Middlesex League waters. Now the Wildcats aim to get back over the .500 mark overall with some solid returning players throughout the lineup.

Matt Pendenza
Wilmington

Senior centers Jared Venezia and Joe Hill are among the veterans at forward along with senior left wing Christian Robarge and senior right wing Zach Kincaid.

Longtime coach Steve Scanlon is confident things should be good at the other end with senior goalie Anthony Cuozzo and a pair of returning junior defensemen in Matt Pendenza and Justin Crowley. Scanlon says a key will be getting the team’s new defensemen up to speed quickly and getting balanced scoring throughout the lineup.

Senior Ryan Packer is a newcomer on defense, while others joining the Wildcats this season include sophomore right wing Riley Fitzgerald, junior left wing Robbie Courtney, junior center Chris Bernazani, and junior goalie Sam Cedrone.

 

HNIB Staff
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