NH D1 Preview: Defending Champ Guertin Won’t Surprise This Winter

Kevin Doyle
Kevin Doyle
Kevin joined HNIB in 1990 and is a Senior Writer and Director of the Northern New England and Mass/R.I. High School Division camps. A veteran editor/writer of 40 years in the print and digital mediums, he has edited and produced original content and coordinated production for local and global publications and websites. He holds degrees from Merrimack College and Boston University and won multiple industry awards as Sports Editor of The Daily News of Newburyport and News Editor of The Amesbury News. He is the 2016 recipient of the North Shore Lifetime Commitment From the Community award presented by Moynihan Lumber and a 2017 Newburyport High School Wall of Fame inductee. He resides with his family in Portsmouth, NH. Email him at [email protected] and follow him on Twitter @kdoyle40

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Justin Pearson Bishop Guertin
Justin Pearson
Bishop Guertin
Austin King Bishop Guertin
Austin King
Bishop Guertin

The Cardinals (13-9-0 in NH) caught fire at the end of last season to secure an improbable State Championship. While veteran coach Gary Bishop’s squad arrived a year ahead of schedule, it will surprise no one this winter.

Flashy senior Justin Pearson (30-14-44) returns as one of the Granite State’s elite scorers. Junior Jordan Caito (17 points) and sophomore Ryan Flynn (10 points) add reliable supplemental scoring. Seniors Joe Leahy and Joe LaValle, juniors Austin King and Chase Blazak and sophomores Nick Gould and Liam Nye will be looked to for increased production.

Seniors Cam Hult (4-11-15) and Joe Goudey, junior James Young and sophomore Jared Zeichek are the core of the defense in front of junior goalie Thomas Norton.

CONCORD (16-7-1)

Brad Murphy Concord
Brad Murphy
Ben Nelson Concord
Ben Nelson

Veteran Coach Duncan Walsh says this of the Crimson Tide, State finalists a year ago: “I feel we are right in the mix with the returning players we have.” Indeed they should be.

Senior goalie Ben Nelson (14 wins, 1.92 gaa, .910 save pct.) will look to improve the numbers that earned him second-team All-State honors a year ago. The defense returns intact with senior Jaret Foote, juniors Matt Chorlian and Dan Lebell, and sophomore Liam O’Brien.

At forward, five of the top six scorers return – seniors Bradley Murphy (13-13-26) and Matt Norris (7-9-16), junior Alex Marceau (8-6-14), and sophomores Drew Livingston (7-7-14) and Colin Kastle (5-8-13).

 EXETER (12-10-1)

Long-time coach Jim Tufts welcomes back a strong core group from last year’s quarterfinal club. The Blue Hawks project to be especially strong on defense from the goal out.

Senior captain Bryson Desjardins returns in goal. Protecting the cage will be four senior defensemen – captain Kyle Lorenz, Brandon Mello, Nathan Rumford and Tim Faulkner.

Evan Royer Exeter
Evan Royer
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Jake Vadeboncoeur Exeter
Jake Vadeboncoeur
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Anders Dachsteiner Exeter
Anders Dachsteiner

The talented forward tandem of junior Jake Vadeboncoeur and senior Evan Royer will lead the offense. New senior Andrew Crist and sophomores Ben Baldasaro and Anders Dachsteiner provide depth.


With veteran experience at both forward and on defense, coach Russ Franey’s club could emerge as a sleeper. What are the Giants’ keys to earning a playoff berth? “Solid D zone coverage and a strong offensive attack,” says Franey.

The top returnees at forward are all underclassmen – juniors Patrick Early and Nate Bowler and sophomores Cody Nolin, Keegan Vincent, Max Lamora and Joshua Holden. Senior Rich Rosato and junior Leo Avakovs add to the mix.

Senior Paul Wiley, junior Matt Brousseau and sophomores Stephen Donelan and Colby Garcia form the core of the defense in front of sophomore goalie Colin Dexter. Sophomore defenseman Niks Krollis, freshman defenseman Kevin Anderson and freshman goalie Mathew Strickland are in the mix.


Shamus Doherty Pinkerton
Shamus Doherty
Jordan Puzzo Pinkerton
Jordan Puzzo

New coach Ryan Piper inherits a team laden with speed but a bit short on experience. He cites team chemistry and senior leadership as the key to success for the Astros, a semifinalist last season.

Junior wing Liam Rooney and sophomore center Patrick Hare move into featured roles. Senior Shamus Doherty returns as the top defensemen in front of senior goalie Jordan Puzzo.

SALEM (20-1-1)

The Blue Devils (17-1-1 in NH) graduated nine from last year’s club that saw its first loss end its season in the playoff quarterfinals. Coach Mark McGinn says his young, inexperienced squad “will have to dedicate to team D to keep games close.”

Top returnees are junior defensemen Alec Svenson and Alex Zaninni along with senior forwards Jacob Sylvester and Andrew Bistany and sophomore forward Matthew Pappaardo.

Junior goalie Paddy Capsalis, sophomore defenseman Sebastian Farah, junior forward Alex Breen and freshman forward Mitchell McGinn are among newcomers with a chance to contribute.

BEDFORD (13-5-0)

Nate John Bedford
Nate John
Tyler Gamble Bedford
Tyler Gamble

Coach Marty Myers says commitment to two-way hockey will be the key for the Bulldogs in their second D1 campaign. That means all five skaters competing in the defensive zone, resulting in less pressure on the goaltenders. “Offensively we need to have more than just one goal scorer; every line needs to be a threat on putting the puck in the net,” Myers added.

Key returnees include senior forward Nate John, a hard-working physical presence at 6-2, 200 pounds; creative senior forward Tyler Gamble, a proven scorer; and senior defenseman Alex Abad, who’s strong on the puck and has a big shot from the blue line. Skilled junior Jack McDonough and talented sophomore Colin Voloshin add to the mix up front.

HANOVER (12-11-0)

Patrick Logan Hanover
Patrick Logan

The Marauders will be young – only one senior returns – so veteran coach Dick Dodds will be looking for his club to improve on a daily basis while building its confidence and momentum toward the post-season.

Sophomore Seth Stadheim (13-7-20), junior Jonathan Goff (10-4-14) and junior Jake Acker (7-10-17) are the top returning forwards. Senior Eric McCoy and junior Patrick Logan will anchor the defense in front of returning junior goalie Luke Ratliff (2.18 gaa, .900 save pct.).


This first-year co-op joins the Division One Nashua North and Division Three Souhegan programs and will be known as the Saber Titans. John Coughlin is the new coach. He is hopeful players from the two schools mesh quickly, develop chemistry and emerge as a cohesive, competitive group.

Key players from Souhegan – which won the 2014 D3 title – are senior forwards Joe Nutting, James Wilson and Robbie Duarte, senior defenseman Jon Ehrlich, and junior forward Kevin O’Brien.

Top returnees from North – a D1 qualifier last year – are senior goalie Sean Chipman, junior defenseman Jacob Holmes, senior forward Evan Conners and junior forwards Brendan Martin and Jeremiah Latham.


The Avalanche are in their second co-op campaign and coach Brian Gould says the club is “looking to be competitive and make a push to the playoffs.”

Returning senior goalie Curtis Richall anchors the defense. Junior Bobby Haverty (11 points) and sophomore Matt Peprizio (5 goals) are the top returnees on the blue line with senior Cam Richall (7-11-18) and junior Brendan Parent (12-7-19) leading the forwards.


The 2014 State Champion Little Green will look to bounce back from a down season and move back into the playoff structure. Coach Brian Stone will build around a small core group of veterans.

Stone said the keys to being successful are simple: “Complete team defense, grinding and traffic in front of the net to score more goals.”

Top returnees are senior forward Logan Pacheco and junior forward Cody Lappas. Look for sophomore Sam Hebert, who can play both forward and defense, and freshman goalie Kennan Alnahas to be key contributors.

TRINITY (5-13-0)

Coach Mike Connell will rely on his upperclassmen to foster a team-first atmosphere as the Pioneers seek a bounce-back campaign.

Top returnees are senior forwards Patrick Swanson, Drew Merrick and Tyler Chipman and veteran junior goalie Curtis Wirbal. An incoming freshman crop of forwards Ryan Huppe and Eric Favreau and defenseman Jake Cole should provide immediate depth.


New coach Peter Harwood takes over a team that graduated eight and will feature a mix of veteran and new players seeking to establish an identity.

Top returnees are sophomore Ryan Gaulin at forward and senior Michael Torr, a four-year regular on defense. Also returning with experience are juniors Brock Crowley and Ransom Roberts and sophomore Joe Grella at forward and junior Tucker Whitcomb on defense.

Senior Tom Beliveau and sophomore Aidan McLoughlin will compete for time in goal. Freshman forward Baxter Kimball could make an impact.

  • Londonderry, Manchester Memorial and Nashua South will also play in New Hampshire Division I this winter.




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