Fresh off their fourth State Championship in five years — and their first in Division One — expect the Bulldogs to be in the mix once again. Seven players graduated but a significant group of key contributors returns for coach Marty Myers.
Seniors Griffin Gagne, an All-State Second Team pick last year, and Jay Roberto, an All-State Honorable Mention selection, return to power the offense. Senior Jake Rioux completes the top line. All three scored in the State Championship win against Bishop Guertin. Junior Colin Voloshin leads the second line and new junior Eric Flynn figures to step right in. Senior Chase Vaillancourt anchors the defense. Junior goalie Erik Voloshin turned back 21 shots in the title match.
Suffocating defense has long been a key to the program’s success and look for that to continue. “We’re looking to play team defense and limit shots,” said Myers.
BISHOP GUERTIN (21-3-0)
Deep and talented, the Cardinals return 14 lettermen from last year’s State finalist, which suffered its lone in-state loss to Bedford in the title game. A fair number of those returnees also took regular shifts for BG’s 2015 State Champs.[one_third] [/one_third] [one_third] [/one_third] [one_third_last] [/one_third_last]
Third-team All-State Junior Ben Peterson (14-23-37) will look to build on his explosive sophomore campaign. Seniors Chase Blazak (22 points), Jordan Caito (10-9-19) and Austin King as well as juniors Ryan Flynn (14 points) and Nick Gould return up front.
Third-team All-State junior Jacob Perrin (1.86 gaa, 0.90 save pct.) and senior Thomas Norton (1.58/0.92) provide quality depth in goal. Junior Jared Zeichick returns as the most experienced defenseman. Junior Jack Johansen and sophomore Jacob Rodrigue are ready for big seasons on the blue line.
The Crimson Tide welcomes back a large contingent of two- and three-year veterans who accounted for a fair chunk of scoring a year ago. That’s a great place to start for coach Duncan Walsh after the surprising quarterfinal tournament exit of a year ago.
Senior captain Alex Marceau (21-19-40) was a first team All-State forward selection. Senior Andy Cole (9-11-20) and juniors Drew Livingstone (7-7-14) and Colin Kastle (7-5-12) provide complementary offense. Senior captain Matt Chorlian (3-23-26), a first team All-State pick, senior captain Dan Lebell (4-13-17) and junior Liam O’Brien form the core of an experienced defense. Juniors Griffin Gilbert and Spencer Burgess will compete for the goaltending job.
“I think we will be in the thick of things. I am optimistic both returning goalies are very capable,” said Walsh.
NASHUA NORTH/SOUHEGAN (6-15-0)
The second-year co-op team looks to take a step forward this winter. “We hope to be competitive like we were last season. We need to play good team defense,” said coach John Coughlin.
The Saber-Titans return a solid core of veterans in forwards Brendan Martin (sr.), Jeremiah Latham (sr.), Cade Facey (jr.) and John Natale (soph.) and defensemen Jacob Holmes (sr.), Chris Constant (jr.) and Dean Paquette (jr.).
Newcomers vying for time include goalie Robbie Morel (sr.), forward/defenseman Brendan Finn (sr.), defenseman Richie Morel (so.) and forward Griffin Masseur, forward Clayton Thomas, forward-defenseman Josh Constant, defenseman Ryan Dancoes, defenseman Andrew Merenda and defenseman Jack Belter, all freshmen.
The Marauders will look to a veteran senior group to lead the way back to the post-season. Top priorities for long-time coach Dick Dodds and his staff will be developing solid team defense and enhancing offensive creativity, especially on the power play.
Forwards Jake Acker (8-11-19), Jonathan Goff (8-2-10) and Will Smith (6-5-11) form the foundation upon which the attack will be built. Patrick Logan is the top returnee on a defense that will be anchored by seasoned goalies Gabe Loud (2.27 gaa, .910 save pct.) and Luke Ratliff (.890, 2.65).
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The Blue Devils graduated only three from last season’s full-fledged rebuilding campaign. Coach Mark McGinn anticipates a return to the post-season as a large core on returning veterans mesh with a talented group of new players.
Sophomore Mitchell McGinn (13-6-19) led the team in scoring as a freshman despite missing seven games. Junior defenseman Alec Svenson (6-12-18) and junior forward Matt Pappalardo (6-10-16) add to the attack along with senior forward Aidan Breen and junior F/D Sebastian Farah. Senior goalie Paddy Capsalis (2.80 gaa/.911 save pct.) had a strong junior season. Sophomore defenseman Brandon Paiva and freshman forward Eric McDermot will press for regular time.
“With the addition of a few freshman and players being a year older, we look to get back into the playoffs,” said coach McGinn.
The Blue Hawks graduated eight from the team that upset Concord in last year’s semifinal round. Veteran coach Jim Tufts said his team “will be very young and hopefully will improve as the season progresses. Players will need to step up from last year’s JV team.”
Junior forwards Ben Baldasaro (19 points) and Anders Dachsteiner return with experience as does sophomore Max Gauthier. The defense will feature senior captain Luke Stephens. New sophomore Alex Warr is a leading candidate to take over in goal.
Returning to the helm after a one-year absence, coach Peter Bedford could have as many as 17 varsity returnees. He is looking to seniors such as forward Troy Muldoon and defensemen Merrill Neiman and Dominic Federico to lead the way.
“Depth and balance from the goal out will make this team very competitive and tough defensively. The question mark will be can they produce enough offense with decent speed and skill up front,” he said.
PINKERTON ACADEMY (4-13-1)
New coach Sam Littlefield will rely on a core group of experienced veterans as the Astros shoot for a return to contention.
There is depth at forward where seniors Eddie Welch and Chris Gile, juniors Nick Trask, Patrick Hare and Cody Sullivan, and sophomore Brandon Banks all return. Senior defenseman Mike Francis and sophomore goaltender Dakota Robinson lead the defense.
Littlefield said the key to success will be “good team chemistry and consistent, hard play from everyone.”
MANCHESTER CENTRAL (9-9-0)
With only 14 skaters trying out, coach Brian Stone anticipates this will be “an extremely challenging year for the Little Green.
Top returnees are senior forward Bowen Bilodeau, junior forward/defenseman Sam Hebert and sophomore goalie Keean Alnahas. Promising newcomers are sophomore forward Sean Mulholland and freshman forward Will Hebert.
Long-time coach Mike Connell said the focus will be on defense for the Pioneers, quarterfinalists a year ago.
When last we saw sophomore goalie Ethan Messner, he was piling up 40 saves in last year’s 6-2 quarterfinal loss to Bp. Guertin. Sophomore Jake Cole will lead the defense in front of Messner while senior Tyler Chipman (12-6-18) and junior Nate Arcand (6-7-13) are the most experienced forwards.
BISHOP BRADY (11-7-0)
New coach Brian Saucier inherits a team that may not be quite as deep as in previous seasons but which does return a tested nucleus. Earning a second straight State Tournament berth is a definite goal.
Senior forwards Nate Bowler and Patrick Early and junior forward Kegan Vincent return to ignite the offense. Senior Stephen Donelan, junior Colby Garcia and sophomore Kevin Anderson man the Giants’ blue line. New sophomore goalie Nathaniel Pushee and freshman forwards Connor Rogers, Alex Pfiefer and Ben Pratt could contribute immediately.
“Solid D zone coverage, a strong offensive attack, and taking advantage of the power play will be critical for success,” said Saucier.