New Hampshire Division 1 Team Previews: Bedford Must Replace 10 Seniors; Concord Young: Keep An Eye On Trinity, Exeter

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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The race to the New Hampshire Division 1 state championship should be a competitive one, with several teams capable of grabbing the title this year.

BEDFORD (17-3-1)

Home Rink: Sullivan Arena, St. Anselm College

During his time as head coach, Marty Myers’ Bulldogs have played in a remarkable eight State finals across three divisions and won six State titles – 2012, ’13 and ’14 in Division Two and 2016, ’17 and, most recently, this past season in Division One.

Logan Plante
Bedford

Ten seniors graduated from the 2019 club and Myers will lean on a core group of veteran seniors and juniors to provide leadership on and off the ice for one of his younger teams. “Hopefully this young team can find ways to win games in a strong division,” said Myers, who tabbed Trinity, Concord and Exeter as the division’s premier squads.

The Bulldogs have always thrived on a relentless 200-foot game – they outscored opponents by a 101-41 margin last season, including the 7-0 title game drubbing of Trinity – and you can expect that style to continue this winter.

Senior Cam Wasylak and juniors Owen Roberto, Quinn Kerr and Brett Niland return at forward. Senior John Groulx and junior Brian Greer form the top tandem in front of goalie Shea Guimont. New juniors Brady Burke, Shea Lucontoni, Logan Plante and Tim Purcell should step right into the lineup.

Matt Gilliland
Pinkerton

PINKERTON ACADEMY (16-3-0)

Home Rink: The Ice Den

Any lingering after-effects from last year’s surprising quarterfinal ouster from the playoffs will likely dissipate once the Astros hit the ice. That begins with fourth-year coach Samuel Littlefield, who maintains a positive outlook heading into this season.

“Build on previous years’ successes and rely on veteran leadership and the ability for young players to step into new roles,” is the message to this year’s club from Littlefield, the owner of a shiny 43-11-1 career record.

A solid core of seniors and juniors return from a club that yielded a state low 23 goals a year ago. Top forwards include seniors Mason Drouin, Ethan Burgess and Joseph Marra and junior Hunter Drouin. Senior defensemen Jack Normand and Scott Cavan and senior goalie Matt Gilliland anchor the defense.

Sam Perry
Exeter
Jude Rogles
Exeter
Richard Davis
Exeter
Brendan Doyle
Exeter
Cameron Vose
Exeter

EXETER (15-8-0)

Home Rink: The Rinks at Exeter

If you’re going to get in the game you might as well take a giant leap. That’s precisely the case for new Exeter coach Paul DiMarino, the former assistant who becomes the Blue Hawks’ first coach since the 1970s other than Jim Tufts, who retired after 42 seasons.

“We are a very senior heavy team with a lot of leadership at the top. Keys to success this season will be our veteran leadership. This senior class has set the standard for this season through their commitment and dedication to the team in our off-season workouts. The younger guys on the team really look up to them and they have done a tremendous job setting the tone at practice so far. We also have great depth this season, and feel very confident in our team as a whole,” DiMarino said.

A half-dozen senior forwards return with Brendan Doyle (15-28-43, +33) leading the way. Jacob Martin (9-15-24, +29) and Richard Davis (7-16-23, +30) are proven scorers. Connor MacLaughlin (6-4-10, +6), Cam Vose and Kole Robinson add quality while senior Cade Ronan, junior Will Barry and sophomore Kam Hyles move up from the JVs.

The defense will form around junior Sam Perry (8-5-13, +21) and senior Cam Allen on the blue line and senior Jude Rogles (2.20 gaa, .920 save pct. in goal). New senior Shane MacLaughlin should see regular time.

Aaron Pratt
Bishop Guertin
Patrick Madden
Bishop Guertin
Ben Young
Bishop Guertin
Dan Woodford
Bishop Guertin
Sam Cronin
Bishop Guertin

BISHOP GUERTIN (15-8-0)

Home Rink: Skate 3 Tyngsboro

Deep with a fair amount of experience across the board, the Cardinals are shooting to exceed last year’s quarterfinal appearance in coach Gary Bishop’s 28th season. They return approximately 70 percent of their scoring.

Ben Young (12-12-24), Derek Amaral (7-10-17) and Declan Wilkie (9-6-15) return as the top scorers at forward. Pat Madden (8-6-14), Mike Kiely (8-6-14), Sean Kelley (8-6-14), Aaron Pratt (5-5-10) and Dan Woodford (4-3-7) completes that veteran unit.

Chris Sullivan (2.53 gaa) is back in goal and had 37 saves in last year’s 3-2 OT loss to Concord in the tournament. Evan Butler also logged time in goal. Defenseman Mike Schaff (7-16-23) owns a proven offensive skill set. Sam Cronin (4-8-12) and Avery Abbott (4-4-8) are also back on the blue line. Newcomers Cam Avery and Sean Wilson will push for time.

LONDONDERRY (10-10-1)

Home Rink: Tri-Town Arena

With eight returnees and an influx of talented youngsters, the Lancers have depth across the board and seem set to move into the division’s upper echelon under Coach Peter Bedford, now in his 18th season.

“Continuing our development with youth, there is depth at all positions [and] a good core of players on the back end that should make Londonderry competitive in trying to crack the Top Six this year,” Bedford notes.

The defense features seniors Joey Stowell, Austin Cardosi and Zach Rheault, new junior Kevin Griffin and new goalie Jake Holdsworth. Seniors Nick Pitarys and Kyle Hamiton lead a forward group that includes junior Connor Paiton and sophomores Brandon Savage, Noah Malcolm and Drew Nutter. Look for freshman Benjamin Padykula to make an immediate impact.

Tyler Coskren
Concord
Parker Taylor
Concord
Matt Hauschild
Concord

CONCORD (17-6-1)

Home Rink: Everett Arena

With 10 sophomores and two freshmen on the roster, this will be one of 30-year coach Duncan Walsh’s younger Crimson Tide clubs. Nevertheless, he said: “We hope to be in the hunt come March.”

Senior Parker Taylor provides a proven veteran presence in goal. On defense, the pair of junior Alex Forward (ironic, huh?) and sophomore Ryan Philbrick should rank among the division’s best. Senior Anders Norton also returns.

Senior Matt Hauschild, juniors Zach Drew and Noah Drew, and sophomore Tyler Coskren lead the forwards. Freshman Brooks Craigue could be a key contributor.

“I think we have a talented group up front that just needs some experience,” Walsh said.

Anthony Dizillo
Trinity

TRINITY (14-6-1)

Home Rink: Sullivan Arena, St. Anselm College

Mark L’Heureux
Trinity

You can bet the Pioneers enter this season with a chip on their shoulder after having advanced to the D1 Championship game only to get overrun by Bedford, 7-0. Only one player graduated from that team and you can bet that all who returned remember that feeling.

“We have a veteran returning team, only losing one to graduation last year with a good mix of freshmen and returning players. Hopefully this young team can find ways to win games in a strong division,” said Coach Mike Connell.

Trinity still has a clutch of seniors leading the way. Senior Mark L’Heureux and junior Anthony DiZillo are the top forwards while senior goalie Ryan Brewitt and seniors Andrew Reed and Ryan Glass are the most experienced pair on the back line. Junior Brandon Boss and sophomore Jack Hutchins also logged time last season.  Junior Cole Popkin and sophomore Charles Tremblay will press for time.

A half-dozen freshmen shoot to nose  their way into the lineup – forwards Quinn Booth, Brady Watts and Aidan Palmeter; defensemen Tate Flint and A.J. True; and goalie Colten Gooden.

Bobby DiCicco
Windham

WINDHAM (4-14-0)

Home Rink: The Icenter

Michael Montanile
Windham

Coach Shawn Dunn is counting on his senior class to lead the way as a large number of freshmen integrate into regular roles.

“A heavy senior presence will look to carry the heavy freshman class that has joined the team. Windham will be focused on a solid defensive structure to support our two freshmen goalies and hope to capitalize on quality special teams play,” Dunn said.

Seniors Tommy Langlois (13-7-20) and Mike Montanile (10-6-16) will drive the offense after productive junior seasons while senior defenseman Bobby DiCicco (3-13-16) plays a sound two-way game. Freshman goalie Vito Mancini and freshman forward Zach Jordan should see regular action.

Austin Salvetti
Salem

SALEM (11-12-1)

Home Rink: The Icenter

The Blue Devil look to build on the success of last year’s post-season run that saw them reach the semifinals where they bowed to finalist Trinity in OT, 4-3. Now in his 21st year, Coach Mark McGinn is optimistic about.

“We have great chemistry and if we can play solid D we should be a pretty good team,” McGinn said.

Junior Ryan Pappalardo (16-25-41) is one of the division’s top forwards. Senior Anthony Survilas (8-18-26) and juniors Ryan Allard (10-7-17) and Sam Maietta (9-6-15) are all coming off strong campaigns. Junior Austin Salvetti (12-4-16) and senior Adam Smith return on the back line.

Jake Mielcarz
Bow

BOW (2-15-1)

Home Rink: Everett Arena

It’s been a tough couple of years for the Falcons, who hope to begin the climb back to respectability this winter. Coach Tim Walsh is hopeful nine new players will make an impact.

“We are hoping to improve upon the last two seasons that have been well below the standard for Bow High hockey,” said Walsh, in his 19th season as the Falcons’ flight director.

Jake Mielcarz, Ben Tobeler and Devin Perry return to lead the forwards while C.J. Smethurst and Cole Billow are back on defense.

Curtis Rice
Hanover

HANOVER (14-7-1)

Home Rink: Campion Arena

Ten key returnees should provide coach Dick Dodds with the basis for a balanced offense and sound defense as he embarks on his 37th season on the Marauders’ bench.

“(We) need to establish solid work ethic and develop positive team culture,” said Dodds, who has guided Hanover to 522 wins and six State Championships, most recently in 2018.

Leading the Marauders’ forward group are seniors Cam Woods (10-10-20), Pat Daley (4-13-17), Tony Correa (4-7-11), Rowan Wilson (4-7-11) and Brendan Brigham (3-3-6) and sophomore Casey Graham (6-7-13).

Sophomore goaltender Ben Plottner (1.87 gaa, .910 save pct.) aims to build on his strong freshman season. Senior Carter Auch and sophomores Curtis Rice (6-6-12) and Spencer Lawe (four goals) return on the blue line. Junior Tom Lyon moves up from the JVs to join that group.

BISHOP BRADY (6-12-0)

Home Rink: Tri-Town Ice Arena

New coach Josh Vega returns to his alma mater for his first varsity position, inheriting a young team that has just one senior but returns a fair number of experienced underclassmen in addition to nine new freshmen.

“With a ‘Compete! Compete! Compete!” mentality, the Giants (will) look to always battle and play an aggressive, passionate, very defensive, hard-working style of hockey with the goal of creating a new, tight-knit, team-first, winning culture,” Vega said.

Sophomores Dom Dubreuil, Ben Modarski and Nate Smith return up front along with senior Alex Pfeifer and juniors Dan Earley and Ben Marceau. New freshmen Tucker Townsend and Dylan Garvin could make immediate contributions.

The defense is built around sophomore defensemen Peyton Vachon and Ethan Pietrowski  and sophomore goalie Owen Currier.

NASHUA NORTH/SOUHEGAN (4-14-0)

Home Rink: Conway Arena

Matt Simpson begins his first season at the helm for Norhegan with a pretty simple recipe for success: “Good team systems, playing for one another, being held accountable,” he said.

He identifies forwards Josh Constant and Jack Belter, defenseman Ryan Dancoes, new freshman Ryan Ducharme and transfer Peter Lennox as key players to help the team get moving in the right direction.

MANCHESTER CENTRAL/WEST (1-17-0)

Home Rink: JFK Coliseum

It takes great patience to rebuild a program, a trait Little Green Knights’ coach Eric Fischer and his staff continue to display during their second season running the program.

“We are encouraged by the progress that last year’s freshman class has made. Over a dozen sophomores and freshmen make us a very young team of hard workers. In order for the team to make it to the next level, we will need to cut down on the number of scoring opportunities we allow and have to stay out of the penalty box. If we can accomplish that, we should have a few more wins this year,” Fischer said.

Sophomores Aiden Kelly and Matt LaForge are key returnees at forward. Junior Tyler Sarette and freshman Ethan Hartshorn should move into regular roles. Senior captain Noah Orr anchors the defense.

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