New Hampshire Division 2 Pre-Season Top 8: Keene, Dover Look To Unseat Defending Champ St. Thomas

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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New Hampshire Boys D2 Top 8

RankTeam[tooltip text="PR*" gravity="ne"]Previous Ranking[/tooltip]WLT
1St. Thomas Aquinas2130
7Oyster River981

They lost their head coach to the college hockey club ranks. Graduation stripped them of some serious firepower. However nothing changes – until it does – for defending State Champion and No. 1 St. Thomas Aquinas (21-3-0).

Familiarity with his players will certainly aid new coach Dan Strabone, an assistant the previous three seasons. Senior forwards Will MacLean, Matt Barnes and Chace Gagnon combined for 41 goals and 86 points as juniors. Senior Captain Brendan Tersolo returns to lead a stout, senior-laden corps of defensemen.

Serious firepower will drive No. 2 Keene (11-7-1), the 2018 State Champion. The senior trio of Jerred Tatersall, Joe Walsh and Ben Brown rang up 61 goals and 114 points a season ago. Coach Chris McIntosh can count on two veteran junior goalies in Jacob Russell and Taylor Panek as well as a veteran defense.

No. 3 Dover (19-5-0) graduated nine from the squad that fell to STA in the championship game, a.k.a. “The Battle of Dover.” Coach Mike Young will lean on senior Austin Gilbert and junior Devin Lapierre in goal. Junior Asa Forbes is the offensive catalyst for the Green Wave.

No. 4 Kingswood (14-9-0) has been surging the past couple of seasons under coach Mike Potenza and will shoot to extend that upwards trend. Junior Nick Potenza (25 goals) and senior Colby Clegg (18 goals) spark the offense, Oleg Sheahan is in goal and Bailey Savage leads the defense.

No. 5 Merrimack (10-8-2) will ride sound defense in front of excellent junior goalie Ben Hardy (1.97 gaa). Senior Zach Stimeling (25-21-46) leads the Tomahawks’ attack.

With 11 seniors returning – many of them four-year regulars – No. 6 Somersworth/Coe-Brown (7-10-1) should have the ability to test every team in the division.

No. 7 Oyster River (9-8-1) features senior captains and defensemen Declan Daubney and Eric Donovan, and standout sophomore forward Andy Carlson.

Third-year coach Jim Damren is hopeful of guiding  No. 8 Lebanon-Stevens/Mt. Royal (9-9-2) to the post-season.

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