New Hampshire D3 Preseason Top 8
You can’t crown a champion before a single puck is dropped but the D3 coaches certainly had no problem identifying the team to beat – defending State Champion John Stark/Hopkinton. Every coach that ranked the division slotted JSH first.
With good reason.
No. 1 John Stark/Hopkinton (16-3-2) is loaded with 20 players returning from the team that short-circuited Kennett’s bid for back-to-back crowns. Identifying a glaring weakness on coach Denis Kolehmainen’s squad is no easy task.
No. 2 Monadnock/Fall Mountain (15-5-0) surged to the semifinals last year. Key returnees include center Chris Boucher and goalie Isaac Jasinski.
No. 3 Kennett (19-2-0) will always be in the mix but the Eagles must re-boot an offense stripped by graduation after reaching the Finals a year ago.
No. 4 Berlin/Gorham (13-5-1) will go wherever senior goalie Trent Labrecque (2.20 GAA, .905 save pct.) leads them this winter.
No. 5 Moultonborough/Inter-Lakes (8-9-1) could surprise behind senior goalie Hunter Sanders (2 SOs) and seven veteran forwards.
D3 welcomes four new coaches this winter – Jason Parent at No. 6 Belmont/Gilford (10-7-1), Scott Tracy at No. 7 ConVal/Conant (8-7-1), Justin Garzia at No. 8 Kearsage/Plymouth (4-13-1) and Joel Sanborn at Hollis-Brookline/Derryfield.
The division now stands at 12 teams with the elevation of Somersworth/Coe-Brown back to D2.