New Hampshire Boys D2 Top 8
|1||St. Thomas Aquinas||21||3||0|
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.