The Commonwealth is back to a five-team league for the 2021-22 season with the return of Minuteman to the ice after a COVID hiatus. But it’s likely that the pack once again will be chasing Essex Tech and Shawsheen, who split their games a season ago and should once again be loaded to contend for the top spots. Northeast has some high-end talent returning, and Greater Lowell/Nashoba Tech features the biggest squad it has had in recent memory.
ESSEX TECH (6-5-1)
Coach: Mark Leonard
MIAA Division: 3
The Hawks have been a program on the rise under the veteran Leonard, winning a share of their first league championship in 2021. They could be in line for even bigger things this season with a strong mix of 15 returning veterans and an influx of talent from a big freshman class.
It will help that Essex Tech brings back three CAC All-Stars – junior left wing Bryan Swaczyk (8-8-16), senior center David Egan (7-6-13), and senior right wing Jonathan Daley (3-7-10). Egan and Daley will be captains this season along with senior center Nick LaConte (4-4-8).
Junior Kyle Mahan (1.74 GAA, 1 SO) was the starter in net last season and brings even more experience for the Hawks. Junior Cam Doherty (0-7-7) and sophomore Armani Booth (0-2-2) will be the top blue liners protecting Mahan.
Look for freshmen Brady Leonard (C), Jaydan Vargas (RW), Riley Sobezenski (D) and Mason Sutcliffe (D) to play key roles this season.
GREATER LOWELL/NASHOBA TECH (2-9-0)
Coach: Bob Callahan
MIAA Division: 4
Callahan is encouraged by what he says is “the most players ever in the program this year, and we have a solid core of seniors.”
The majority of that experience is in the forward group with seniors Ryan Frazier (RW, Greater Lowell), James Dixon (C, Greater Lowell), Tony Iacovone (RW, Nashoba Tech) and Cam Arsenault (LW, Nashoba Tech). Frazier was a CAC All-Star a season ago.
Defensively the Vikings will look to juniors Cal Norris and Christian Blanchette, both of Greater Lowell, and Nashoba Tech junior Evan Mosscrop. Sophomore AJ Theriault (GL) also will be on the blue line.
Nashoba Tech sophomore Cole Currier is a candidate to take over in goal, and among the newcomers with freshmen Zach Dibona (RW), Jack Donovan (LW) and Jayden Auger (RW) of NT, plus freshman defenseman Cameron Nangle of Greater Lowell.
“If we can integrate our talented freshmen well, we can make a run at the tournament,” Callahan said.
MINUTEMAN (no 2020-21 season)
Coach: Joe Joncas
MIAA Division: 4
After sitting out all of last season during the pandemic, the key for Joncas and the Mustangs will be getting back up to speed with nearly two seasons off the ice as a program.
The good news is the Minuteman has a strong senior class looking to go out on a high note. Senior centers Joe Aiello, Stuart Strong and Ian Buck will join senior wingers Ryan Carta, Glenn Guenard and Dom Frisoli.
On defense, the Mustangs have senior Alton Winkler and juniors Nolan Griffin and Tom Ward in front of senior goalie Eleanor Silvadurso.
Among the newcomers this season are senior forward Brady Anderson and a pair of freshmen – Jake Tucker at forward, and Tamoghna Kommaraju on defense.
Coach: Brian Capistran
MIAA Division: 4
The Golden Knights got some experience with Capistran behind the bench during the COVID-shortened 2021 season, and now are looking forward to a full slate to push for the top of the CAC.
Leading the way will be twin brothers Tom Chesna and Dom Chesna, both senior forwards and returning CAC All-Stars. Tom, the Knights captain, will play wing with assistant captain Dom at center. The Knights also return senior wings Jacob McArthur and Macklin Hudon.
The junior class dominates the blue line with Matt Martorelli, Cam Rager, Jake McLaughlin and Anthony Carbo. In net will be senior Aiden Callahan.
Capistran will be adding freshman wing George MacKinnon, and sophomore centers Cam Correia and Erich Schultz to the roster this season. The Knights roster also features a pair of sisters – Celeste and Gianna Scoppettuolo.
Coach: Chuck Baker
MIAA Division: 4
The Rams graduated a chunk of players off last year’s CAC co-championship team, but still return a healthy senior group of nine players for another run at the top.
Senior Ryan Dusablon is the team captain and will lead a defense with senior alternate captain Tom Sampson and senior Sam Dagenais. Also back on the blue line are junior Kevin Ackerley and sophomore Derek Nazzaro.
Senior Aydan Churchill is an alternate captain at forward, joined by senior Quinn Fallon, juniors Nick Calouro, Brady Darcey, and sophomores Chase Darcey, Kyle Gray, and Liam Milne.
The goalie group includes seniors Tom Dalton and Joe McLaren, junior Aiden MacLeod, and sophomore Mike Cedrone.
Joining the team this season are freshman forwards Mike Giordano and Dylan Higson, and defenseman Larry Cullity.
“We are a very young team so I believe keeping the game simple and play with energy will be the key early on,” Baker said. “I think we have enough talent to have a solid season, we just need to get confidence.”