New Hampshire Division 1 Preview: Several teams in running for post-season glory

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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NASHUA SOUTH (4-16-0)

The Panthers will lean on a core of experienced veterans and coach Eric Momnie expressed confidence in his club’s ability to start winning close games.

 

Senior captain Jack Galgay leads the defense in front of experienced senior goalies AJ Bender, another captain, and Alex Lake. Physical junior Matt Kuba returns on the back line with sophomore Bryan Connell. Freshmen Tony Columbus and Tyler Goy figure to play right away.

 

Junior forward Steven Saucier (7-3-10) is the top returning scorer. Senior Cate Connolly, juniors Owen McNulty and Alkim Dato, and sophomore Cam Boisvert return with experience. Bishop Guertin transfer Arya Saliany and freshman Michael Fornier should make an immediate impact.

 

PINKERTON ACADEMY (12-10-2)

Giovannie Corsetto
Giovannie Corsetto

New coach Joey Lee takes over a young Astros’ squad. Despite the youth, he hopes to continue the development displayed in the latter half of last season. Lee has one of the division’s more dynamic forwards at his disposal in junior Giovanni Corsetto (10-11-21).

Ryan Monte
Ryan Monte

 

Sophomore Tyler Poole (5-10-15) and junior Ryan Monte look to build off solid seasons from a year ago while senior Holderness transfer Bailey Walsh provides another quality option. Seniors Ryan Christie and Mike Bellmore and junior Ethan Landry round out a deep group.

 

Five veteran defensemen return and will have to be on top of their games from the get-go as there is no incumbent goaltender.

 

SALEM (11-8-3)

Paul Antkowiak
Paul Antkowiak

The Blue Devils have the pieces in place to improve upon last year’s quarterfinal appearance in the tournament. How they fare rests in part with the play of returning junior keeper Sam McDonald.

Kyle Nagri
Kyle Nagri

 

There is abundant experience at forward, starting with juniors Cody Soucy (21-13-34) and Kyle Svenson (9-14-23).  Junior Central Catholic transfer Kyle Nagri brings speed and physicality while senior captain Brian Frazier provides a strong two-way presence.

 

Junior Paul Antkowiak returns as one of the state’s premier defensemen and coach Mark McGinn believes sophomore Chris Ring has all-state potential on the back line.  Senior Dan Barbin is effective on both defense and at forward. Others to watch are senior Jake Bartlett, junior Jake Burns and sophs Matthew Hayes and Chris Lemay.

 

HANOVER (7-11-4)

How quickly long-time coach Dick Dodds and his staff plug the voids left on defense and in goal (James Montgomery) by graduation will determine the direction of the Marauders’ season. Dodds said “we have good athletes and will have the type of team that will improve a lot from Day One to the end of the season.”

 

Seniors Shawn Cavallaro (5-13-18) and Sam Carey (5-13-18) return as the most accomplished forwards. A large group of forwards return with experience but several must step forward and up to a different production level as only one player produced double-digit goals a year ago.

 

BISHOP GUERTIN (10-12-0)

Can the Cardinals reclaim their status as a perennial title contender after exiting quietly in the quarterfinal round last winter? Hard to tell although long-time coach Gary Bishop is hopeful BG is in the mix of what projects to be a wide open race.
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Evan Dalaker
Evan Dalaker
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Keith Murphy
Keith Murphy
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Griffin Scanlon
Griffin Scanlon
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Senior forward Evan Dalaker (12-14-26) returns to lead the offense. Senior Connor Donahue was a first-team All-State defenseman as a junior and is joined by senior Keith Murphy to form a physical presence in front of the goal.

 

Senior Griffin Scanlon returns in goal and projects as one of the state’s top keepers. Talented sophomore Aidan Farhat will press for time. Junior Max McCabe brings physicality to the forward line while Nick Apostolakes adds quickness on defense.

 

LONDONDERRY (17-5-1)

Semifinalists a year ago, the Lancers figure to contend once again this winter. Senior goalie Joe McGrath ranked in the Top Five in goals against average last year and will be leaned on heavily in the early going as a group of young defensemen gains experience on the fly.

 

Senior Eric Coburn powers the offense and was a Top Five scorer in Division 1 a year ago. Seniors Curtis Harper and Mike Donlan as well as junior Cooper Roy, who missed much of last year with injury, all return at forward. Senior Matt Moriarty provides depth.

 

Senior Brett Evangelista is the anchor on defense. Junior Lucas Poulin also returns on the back line and senior Mitchell Schirch gives coach Peter Bedford a quality backup in goal.

 

TRINITY (11-6-2)

Matching last year’s quarterfinal appearance will be a challenge for coach Mike Connell’s club. With the graduation of such stalwarts as goalie Ryan Slatky, the veteran coach’s expectations are to improve on a daily basis and remain competitive.

 

A core group of veterans will lead the Pioneers. Senior Mitch Myers (17-12-29) and sophomore Connor Merrick (21 points) provide a solid one-two combo at forward while senior Cam Brown and junior Colby Fortin return on the back line.

 

EXETER (5-15-0)

It’s been awhile since the Blue Hawks have been a factor within the division and veteran coach Jim Tufts’ goal this year is clear – to be more competitive in all phases from Day One.

 

Senior captains and forwards Michael Cashman (11 points) and Cam Johnassen (6 goals) lead a fairly large senior class. Only five seniors graduated from a year ago while nine freshmen and sophomores were on the varsity roster and picked up experience.

 

ST. THOMAS AQUINAS (15-6-1)

Expect the returning Saints to be spurred on by last year’s 4-3 OT semifinal loss to State Champion Memorial. Coach Andrew Leach said the goal is to return to the semifinals and compete for the opportunity to get a State title shot.

Isaac Leslie
Isaac Leslie

 

The Saints have proven veteran leaders in all the right places. Start with senior two-year captain Glenn Wiswell, a gifted scorer who tallied 30 goals and 46 points a year ago. Sophomores Ty Turgeon (23 points) and Isaac Leslie provide complementary scoring.

 

STA’s back end ranks among the division’s best, boasting senior captain and defenseman Niall Foster (17 points) and junior captain and goalie Zane Angelopoulos (2 SO, 2.35 gaa, .910 save pct.). Freshmen Nolan Lavallee and Luke Pepin could step right in on defense.

 

CENTRAL (16-5-0)

After falling to cross-town rival Memorial in last year’s all-Manchester title game, Central’s hopes this winter rest squarely on the shoulders of senior keeper Ian Beliveau (2.34, .904 gaa), who was immense with 38 saves in the championship game.

 

Graduation stripped away most of Central’s offense. Slick junior Devon Sprague (13 goals) returns as the top forward. Depth will be culled from a number of others who picked up valuable game experience a year ago. Senior Tim Tetrault (15 points) returns as the leader of a young defense for coach Brian Stone.

 

BISHOP BRADY (2-16-0)

After enduring a rebuilding season in his year at the helm, coach Randy Manni welcomes back two lines with varsity experience with a goal of reaching the post-season.

 

The defense projects strength as seniors Mike St. Pierre and Derek Drouin and junior Spenser Sloane return in front of senior goalie Chandler Peterson, who takes over on a full-time basis after sharing time a year ago.

 

Juniors Brandan Brack and Andrew Chorlian and sophomore Byron Welch are the top returning forwards.

 

CONCORD (6-12-2)

Adam Godbout
Adam Godbout

The Crimson Tide figure to be strong in the net with senior Jesse Bedard and sophomore Ben Nelson both returning. Coach Duncan Walsh expects the season will depend on the pace of development of a large group of younger, inexperienced players. Regardless, expect Concord to be in the mix of those battling for a playoff berth.

 

Senior Adam Godbout scored 13 goals a year ago and will be counted on to lead the attack. Big things are expected from senior Tim Weinhold, who shifted between forward and defense a year ago. Sophomore Brad Murphy missed half of last season due to injury and figures to add to the offense.

 

MEMORIAL (17-4-0)

Nine players graduated from last year’s State Championship squad, leaving coach Mark Putney with significant holes to fill, especially on defense and in the goal. Nevertheless, Putney said the Crusaders are “excited and very much looking forward to the beginning of the season.”

 

Junior forwards Nick Burgess and Bryce Jacob and senior forward Brendan Sullivan all had strong post-seasons last year and look to carry that momentum. Senior Aaron Shrum takes over full-time in the net.

 

Seniors Brady Sufat, Bryer Bilodeau, Kyle Chalifoux, Ashton Sullivan and Shane Allen; juniors Andrew Putney and Matt Fitzgerald; and sophomore Zack Pelletier round out the list of those back with experience.

 

NASHUA NORTH (5-11-0)

Coach Dan Legro is looking for upward mobility from the Titans this season. “My expectations are that improve from last year, finish in a higher spot, elevate the program as a whole and hopefully secure a playoff spot,” he said. North graduated only five seniors resulting in a large group of returnees with varying degrees of experience.

 

Junior goaltender Jake Genest returns to backstop the defense. Junior Tim Paige is the top returnee on a defense that saw a lot of underclassmen log time a year ago. Legro is expecting consistent scoring from seasoned senior forwards Jake Latham, Jon Searles and Jon Wilson.

 

 

 

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