The six-team Liberty Division of the Middlesex League will again feature some of the top Public School programs in the state. Expect Arlington, Reading and Winchester to battle it out.
Coming off an early post-season exit a year ago, the Spy Ponders only graduated six and still retain a fair number of three-year veterans who experienced winning the 1A title at TD Garden in 2017. That fact alone makes them a dangerous opponent.
Veteran forwards include senior Dara Conneely and juniors Anthony Messuri (11-14-25), Drew Malatesta (4-6-10), Brendan Jones and Brendan Pigott. That unit should get a major boost from senior Matignon transfer Will Jennings (20-15-35).
The defense will feature senior Jack Simon (19 points) and junior Ryan Davies (10 points). Senior Max Perkell and junior Nate Brennan will compete to take over in goal for the graduated Jack Pinard.
The Marauders graduated 18 from last year’s North Sectional semifinal squad. Coach Fred Allard will count on a strong contingent returning in the back end to stabilize things as new players make the transition to the varsity.
Junior co-captain Nico Carere returns in goal. He’ll be fronted by an experienced group of defensemen that includes senior captain Killian O’Connell, senior Tim Starr and sophomore Nolan Duffy. Junior co-captain Justin Rocha (6-5-11) and sophomore Ben Fici (10 goals) are top returning forwards.
Allard looks for junior forwards Matt Brody and Kevin Miller and sophomore defenseman Thomas Grace to step in and contribute.
Coach Curt Colarullo says the Minutemen will rely on defense and relentless work ethic to make a push for post-season while seeking to end a lengthy losing streak within the division.
Much will depend on the play of returning sophomore goalie Don McCarthy. The defense in front of him includes senior captain Nate Sidel and junior Luke Murphy.
Senior captains Ronan Bryant and Ginu Lee and juniors Joe Hunt and Eric Decoste return with experience at forward. New juniors Brian Gillis and Ban Vlachic add depth to that unit.
A year more experienced and a year more mature, coach Mark Doherty anticipates the Rockets will again be in position to challenge the league’s top teams. “Playing in the strongest league in the state the race, as usual, will be tight,” he says.
Senior forward Michael Tobin – a UMass-Amherst lacrosse commit – ranks among the division’s premier scorers. Seniors Brendan Donovan and Nick McFarland also return up front. Juniors Matt Fiorenza and Matt Gallagher will anchor the defense. Junior Dylan Emery is poised to take over in goal.
Newcomers Cam Lawhorne, Kyle Leisner, Shawn Golden and Brandon Millerick could take on regular roles.
Can the Sachems replicate their success of a year ago when the played in the North Sectional title game? Perhaps. “Solid goaltending with good team defense should keep us in the mix,” says Hall of Fame coach Bill Burns.
Sophomore goalie Rob DiVincenzo provides the last line of defense, looking to build on his stellar freshman campaign when he posted a 1.47 gaa. Seniors Luke Mix and Jack Houle and junior Mike Martignetti form the nucleus of a deep defense.
Senior forward Mike Drew (20-16-36) returns as the go-to guy on offense. Seniors Nolan Butler (8-5-13) and Joe Lepore (12 points), junior Ryan McCarthy (10-8-18) and sophomore Sam Vozzella (11 points) provide an array of options.
After enduring a long, hard tumble a year ago, the Tanners are shooting to begin the climb back into contention. Veteran coach Jim Duran cites good leadership as a key component for this squad.
The forward group will feature the threesome of Jon Surrette, Will Carpenter and Anthony Columbo. Keith Burke returns as the leader on defense.
Check out MassHSHockey.com for all team schedules, rosters, game results, etc.