Central Catholic (16-9-1)
Changes abound for the Raiders, a perennial 1A Tournament qualifier, starting on the bench where long-time assistant Kim Brandvold takes over for Mike Jankowski. In addition to the usual graduation losses, Central lost B.U. commit Jake Wise (U.S. National Team Development Program) and Cam Gendron to Winchendon.
The Raiders will adopt a decidedly defensive personality, at least in the early going. Sophomore goalie Matt Pasquale (.914 save pct.) looks to build on a fabulous freshman campaign. Senior Matt Poulin (10 points) and junior Joe Biddle (12 points) man the blue line. Sophomore forward Sean Brown enjoyed an explosive 29-point freshman season.
Westford Academy (4-14-2)
Though the Grey Ghosts are still young, veteran coach Bob Carpenter welcomes back a dozen experienced players. “We do have some experience that should make us competitive in the league,” he said.
Two-time all-conference pick and senior captain Matt Ricci returns on defense along with juniors Chris Blouin and Sean Egan and sophomores Mike Mucci and Dean Poulin. Returning forwards include junior captain Tim Kapetanakis, seniors Brian Curran and Armen Hovsepian, juniors Dan Mills and Ryan Blackwell, and sophomores Kevin Bruskiewitx and Tyler Guillemette.
The Golden Warriors have made strides each season under third-year Coach Chris Kuchar and will contend for a league title again this winter. “[We] will continue to focus on our play from the goal line out,” said Kuchar.
The defense is built around senior goalie Zach Laramie (1.15 gaa, .957 save pct., 7 SO), a Boston Herald All-Scholastic and league All-Conference pick last season. A veteran group of puck-moving defensemen includes seniors Matt Sharrio and Patrick Hughes.
At forward, juniors Mike Reilly (12-10-22) and Caedon Dillman (10-12-22) complemented each other perfectly a year ago. The line of cousins Brendan Croston (7-7-14) and Matt Croston and Jeff Hunt (6-8-14) returns intact and will counted on for steady production.
The Hawks scrapped their way into the tournament last year and, with 14 returnees, look for John Maguire’s club to be a tough draw this season.
There is depth at forward, driven by seniors Steve Giardina and Adam Beck and juniors Luc Dallaire and Chris Egan. Sophomore J.T. Logue and juniors Andrew Miller and Shawn Wise provide support.
Defense will be a strength with a quartet of returnees – seniors Charlie LeClair and Cam Egan, junior Gerard Jelloe and sophomore Mike Burke. Senior Chris Alrie and junior Kyle Penton are competing for the goaltending job.
The Indians lost heavily from last year’s club and Coach Jim Egan will lean heavily on senior captain and veteran goalie Scott Murphy to lead the way, especially in the early going.
Senior Frank Manupelli returns as the most experienced forward. He will team with junior Ryan Jackson and sophomores Ryan Broulliette, Joe Lamarca and Anthony Lamarca to form the nucleus of the offense. Junior Joe Chasse is the lone returnee on defense and will be counted on to stabilize a young group that includes a blend of five players who are either moving up from JVs or are new freshmen.
Coach Dave Schofield says developing team chemistry and playing sound team defense will be crucial for the Colonials’ chances. Seniors Yanni Pappas, a league all-star, and Sean Boisvert, both forwards, are the top returnees.
The Lions reached the North Sectional quarterfinals last season and new Coach Kevin Leonard is hopeful a younger team – there could be as many as 16 freshmen, sophomores and juniors on the roster – can extend that success.
“We have a team that has been very energetic and hard-working and are looking to continue the success last year’s team had,” said Leonard.
Top returnees are senior forwards Jake Green (7-14-21) and Jim Beaton (6-6-12) and junior forward Cody Spring. Sophomore goalie Drew Blodgett saw some action a year ago. Seniors Tim McNamara and Jason Mercuri take on key roles on defense.