JOHN STARK/HOPKINTON (20-1-0)
Home Rink: Lee Clement Arena
Can the General Hawks make it three straight after running roughshod over the division en route to last year’s second consecutive State Championship? Here’s the thing: 16 players – including three full lines and a full complement of defensemen and goalies – return with varying degrees of experience to a team that did not lose a D3 game last season.
“We have plenty of holes to fill this year after last year’s graduation. We will be working hard on our defensive coverage [and] our Juniors and Sophomores will need to step up and fill some of the gaps we have to fill out our top three lines,” says coach Denis Kolehmainen, who expects “a very competitive season throughout the league.”
Seniors Benny Madden and Brett Patnode and junior Tyler Scordo lead a forward group that includes seniors Austin Lunt and Owen Olson; juniors Billy Finn and Cooper Rivers; and sophomores Owen Jones, Ethan Molnar and Nick Osborne.
In the back end, junior goalie Cayson Allard will be fronted by a defense corps that includes seniors Cabot Lineberry, Carter Pike and Noah Lewis as well as junior Bridget Lynch and sophomore Logan Pike.
New to the program are senior goalie Jordan Lamarre, freshmen forwards Bobby Arnold and Olin Heino, and freshmen defensemen Nick Martel, Samuel Patrick, Kyle Provencher and Hal Stokes.
Home Rink: Merrill Fay Arena
Consistency has long been the calling card for the Bulldogs and that will be the case once again this season as they embark on their second campaign under the direction of coach Jason Parent.
“Getting off to a fast start and peaking at the right time will be the keys to a successful season. Good team chemistry and a strong bond between the veteran players and younger nucleus of sophomore/freshman players will help us to stay consistent,” he says.
Returning senior Hayden Parent (9-27-36) is one of the division’s top forwards. Sophomore Griffin Tondreau (15-4-19) will shoot to build off a stellar freshman campaign. Junior Colin McGreevy will man the ‘Dogs’ cage. Senior Nate Shirley is the most experienced defenseman.
Home Rink: Notre Dame Arena
As he begins his 10th season on the Mountaineers’ bench, coach Mike Poulin will count on a core of experienced veterans to provide leadership for a relatively young squad.
“We will be a young team this season. Getting the younger players up to speed will be the challenge,” Poulin said.
Among the forwards, junior Tyler Rousseau (19-4-23) an sophomore Griffin Melanson (7-8-15) are the top returning scorers. Senior Trevor Breault (6-4-10) and sophomore Brayden Riendeau (3-5-8) play strong two-way games while new freshman Brody Duquette shoots to have an impact.
Sophomore defenseman Ben Estrella (7-11-18) burst onto the scene as a freshman. Sophomore Carter Poulin (2-5-7) and junior Dominick Paradis (1-6-7) also return with experience on the blue line. New freshman Anthony Pizzuto could emerge as the lead goalie.
Home Rink: Ham Arena
The Eagles will adopt a defensive approach, especially in the early going, after the perennial contenders suffered a rare stumble last season. Six-foot, two-inch Bryson Wrobleski takes over in goal and coach Mike Lane says the junior “should be one of the top keepers in the division this year.”
Seniors Reilly Murphy (2-9-11) and Connor Tofflemoyer (8-7-15) and sophomore Colby Olivier form the core on defense in front of Wrobleski (3.03 gaa). Seniors Miles Woodbury (8-12-20) and Trevor La Russo (14-11-25) and junior Colby Hall (10-11-21) will be counted on to lead the offense.
“Balanced scoring is needed to make a deep run in the play-offs given the very tough schedule we play (three Division Two games and all the perennial top D3 powers twice),” notes Lane as the Eagles hope to hang their fifth State Championship of the decade, joining 2009, 2010, 2012 and 2017.
Home Rink: Merrill Fay
A new staff under the direction of coach Paul Wheaton aims to revitalize the waning passion for hockey in the Lakes Region with this new tri-op that will be known as the Lakers.
“It’s a new team with a fresh start, looking to improve on last year’s record and make the playoffs. There is great team chemistry,” said Wheaton.
Each school is represented among the returning forwards – senior Blake Dunlap (Interlakes), junior Carter Smith (Winnisquam) and sophomore Kameron Young (Laconia). New freshman Zachary Spicuzza (Interlakes) should step right into the lineup.
Junior Andrew Spicuzza (Interlakes) and sophomore Ryan Bousquet (Interlakes) line up on defense in front of sophomore goalie Evin Rollins (Laconia). New junior Jeff Alfieri (Laconia ) joins the blue line crew.
MONADNOCK/FALL MOUNTAIN (17-4-1)
Home Rink: Keene Ice
Talk about seasons to remember. Just three seasons after returning to varsity status, MFM charged to the title game where it fell to John Stark/Hopkinton in a thriller, 1-0. Six players graduated and took a fair chunk of offensive production with them.
So what’s next? For starters, coach Steve Walsh’s Huskies will be considerably younger this season. Success will result from every player being on the same page on every shift of every game. Lincoln Blodgett and Justin Joslyn lead the forwards, Eric Chase and Jackson Lepisto return on the blue line and newcomer Dakota Whitehead will man the goal.
Home Rink: Conway Arena
Coach Joel Sanborn may have understated the case just a bit when he said the Warriors “hope to be in the Top Five.” Two goaltenders, the makings of three-plus lines and five experienced defensemen return from last year’s tournament qualifier.
The forward group includes: seniors Nick Dapolito, Aida Chretien, Jared Sanborn and Trey Sovie; juniors Salvatore Vella, Colin MacDonald and Ryan Caparrelli; and sophomores Jacob Roy, Andrew Nordstrom and Michael McLaughlin.
Senior Christopher Slater and junior Rylan Morgan return in goal. Junior Joey Oetiens and sophomores Aidan Rowe, Torin White, Conor Sanborn and Mathew MacBean will patrol the blue line.
Home Rink: Everett Arena
With a three-game season-opening stretch against Kennett, Berlin and John Stark/Hopkinton, the PAC will need to be on top of its game from the outset. Seven seniors graduated.
“This season could be challenging. I like the chemistry of this year’s team and with some work there potentially could be some upsets,” said Coach Marc Noel.
Senior goalie Adam Omundson will look to build on a stellar junior campaign when he posted a .920 save percentage. Senior Kaleb Pelletier (8-12-20) is a standout on the blue line and the defense should be bolstered by the return of senior Nate Carter from a broken collarbone that cost him most of last season.
Senior forwards Andrew Durfee (14-12-26) and Matt Dexter (10-7-17) and sophomore Nate Perry (6-6-12) will drive the offense.
Home Rink: Plymouth State University/Proctor Academy
Second-year Coach Justin Garzia is hopeful lessons learned a year ago helps KP turn a corner this winter.
“A strong core of underclassman from last year’s team provides for an improved outlook this season. Strong team play and on-ice discipline will be the keys to success,” he said.
Top forwards include senior Nate St. Pierre (5 goals), sophomores Jake Marcoux (4-4-8) and Nick Therrien and junior Breckin Bates. Junior defenseman Cody Bannon (4-7-11) is the leading returning scorer and is joined in back by junior Trevan Sanborn and new freshman Brendan Marcoux.
If the Indians are going to make a move into the top half of the division, this would be the year to do so. Nine regulars, including six forwards, return for third-year coach Kevin Merrick.
Junior Zack Somma (6-8-14) and sophomore Joe Costanzo (3-6-9) are the top returning scorers from last season. Seniors Andrew Pelosi and Pat Sullivan, juniors Owen Paul and MacKenzie Hickey, new senior Chris Chapman and new freshmen Aiden Jenkins and Samuel Gosselin complete the forward group.
Senior Bryan Kane, junior Colin Walker (2-6-8) and sophomore Josh Radjavitch return on defense and should benefit from the addition new junior Trevor Hovey and new freshman Jason Phaneuf. Sophomore Josh Stevens and freshman Colin Dupray will compete for the goaltending job.