The MVC/Dual County I could have one of the more competitive races of any division this winter. Andover is under new management, with Kevin Drew coming over from the girls side. There is no clear-cut favorite.
Home Rink: Lawrence Valley Forum
New coach Kevin Drew takes over and hopes to extend the success enjoyed by the Golden Warriors under previous coach Chris Kuchar. The Warriors were North Sectional semifinalists a year ago.
Drew will have a sizable group of forwards with at least some varsity experience at his disposal. Look for seniors Leo Byers, Evan Arpin and Michael Feeney to lead the way. Juniors Steve Ingram, Luke Vaccaro, Anton Pace, Billy Moulton, Anthony Previte and Tim Kobelski and sophomore Nick Saunders round out that group.
Three seniors – Jackson Gress, Jayden Amirault and Tyler Durling – and juniors Tom Tavenner and Anthony Teberio return on defense. Jake Brezner and JJ Quill will compete for time in goal.
Home Rink: Hallenborg Ice Pavilion
Slowly but surely the Indians have made measured progress under coach Jim Egan with last year’s record their best yet in his time as head coach. This year’s seniors, for example, were 1-17-3 as freshmen and, Egan said, their commitment to the rebuilding process has been unmatched.
“Although we lost a lot of players to graduation, we are returning a lot of key components. Forming a new leadership group and maintaining the good team chemistry from last year will be key to our success,” Egan said.
Success starts in goal and that’s where senior Connor Feeney (2.23 gaa, .920 save pct.) lives. Seniors Matt Livingston (9-7-16), Garrett Murphy and John Jenkins and sophomore Sean Furbush all return to protect the house. Junior Dominic Hall and eighth-grader could see regular duty.
Sophomore Alexander Coulot (6-7-13) is the top scorer back from last year. Seniors Garrett Climo and Anthony Viscione will be looked to for increased production. Sophomores Paul Egan (2-6-8), Harrison Tucker and Chris Viscione saw time last season. New senior Jake Marini returns from the New England Stars and should make an immediate impact.
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Home Rink: Veterans Rink
One year removed from winning their second State Championship in 2018, the Hawks look to bounce back from an off year in 2019 and return to the post season under coach John Maguire, now in his 35th season. Twelve players with varsity experience return.
Seniors Justin Moran (8-12-20), Brian McNamara (5-7-12) and Cullen Millerick (hoping to return soon from an injury) and junior Dylan Fogg (5-5-10) return to lead the offense. Sophomore Jack Perry returns for his second season in goal. Senior Enzio Diblasi, junior DJ Caissie and sophomore Justin Cormier form the core on defense.
Maguire tabs Andover as the early favorite in what will likely be one of the more balanced league races in the division.
WESTFORD ACADEMY (10-9-2)
Home Rink: Skate-3 Tyngsboro
Coach Bob Carpenter, now in his 24th year as the Grey Ghosts coach (38th overall as a head coach), may have one of his deeper squads in some time. Westford is focused on building off of last year’s North Sectional appearance.
“Like many teams, plenty of things have to fall in place for us to be reach our goals but we have very good group of players that are great to work with and are ready for the challenge,” he said.
The equivalent of three lines returns up forward, paced by senior captains Jason Bunyon and Kyle Wizst. Senior CJ Pacifico, Dylan Breen, Matt Curran and Ryan Durgin; juniors Sean Milanette, Matt Cielakie and Evan Twombly; and sophomore Ryan McCarthy are all back from a year ago. New senior Aidan Timlin joins the unit.
Five defensemen return – senior captain Kevin Egan, seniors Dan Marshall and Matt Moore and juniors Nate Brown and Brady Bomal. Junior Brad Walk and sophomore C.J. Guglielmo will vie for time in goal.
Home Rink: Chelmsford Forum
This could be an intriguing year for the Lions. Coach Kevin Leonard’s club combines a well-seasoned core group with another dozen or so players new to the program as it attempts to move into the upper echelon of the MVC/DCL One this winter.
“We have a great group of upperclassmen that will push the pace for us. A talented younger group will be thrown right into the mix and play some important minutes. Ultimately we’ll have to find ways to put the puck in the back of the net, which is always easier said than done,” Leonard said.
Senior Christian Castonguuay – headed to UMass-Lowell to play lacrosse – seniors Ben Pitts and Bobby Turner and junior Matt Miner lead the forwards. New seniors Noah MacAllister and Mike McNamara and sophomores Owen Flanagan, Jack Pelkey and Donovan Ryan complete the unit.
Seniors Mike Regan, Tommy Hopkins and Pat Goode are back on defense. Juniors Nick Bonaiuto and James Hill, sophomores Adam Lizine and Colin Ryan, and freshman Cole Pelkey will push for time. Seniors Dan Foley, Ben Finney and Kenny Dunne are in contention for the vacant goaltender’s spot.
CENTRAL CATHOLIC (4-12-5)
Home Rink: The Icenter
Any journey worth taking starts with small steps and second-year coach D.J. Conte says the Red Raiders’ identity and culture continues to build and will be instrumental in helping Central return to its accustomed winning ways.
“With great senior leadership and some emerging underclassmen, we have a strong platform to build off last season. Our goal is to enter each game with a full team effort and high level of intensity. The highest level of individual and team accountability will be the key,” Conte said.
The senior threesome of Charlie LeCain (6-3-9), Michael Dinges (4 goals) and Matt Lajoie (5 goals) will drive the attack at forward. Seniors Colin Ferris and Robert DiBiasio and junior A.J. Grenier form the core of the defense. Nick Peters returns after an injury sidelined him all of last season.
Home Rink: Nashoba Valley Olympia
Youth will be served this season as coach Kevin Richardson integrates a large group of newcomers with a veteran core contingent. Hopeful of leading the Colonials back into league contention, Richardson is also clear about how to achieve that goal.
“We will be a young team with many new faces that will make a positive impact this season. It’ll be very important to have everyone communicating early on. Additionally, maturing and developing a consistent and powerful identity on the ice will be critical with full team buy-in,” said Richardson, in his third season at A-B.
Top forwards include seniors Barrett Genovese and Jack Bartle, junior Joe Aumueller and sophomores Thomas Argento and Andrew Welch. Seniors Devin O’Brien and Cooper Matthews and junior Brady Graham return on the blue line.
“I think we’re going to see a pretty tight league this year that is well-balanced and any team’s game on any night,” Richardson observed.