New Hampshire HS Hockey -Division 1 Preview: Many Challengers To Concord’s Throne

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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Here is a rundown of New Hampshire HS Division 1 programs.

BISHOP GUERTIN (12-3-0)

Coach: Gary Bishop

Cam Avery
Bishop Guertin

Nine players graduated and another left forJuniors from last year’s club that pressed Concord in a 4-1 State semifinal loss. The task is clear for the Cardinals: “We need to find leaders and goal-scorers,” said 30-year head coach Gary Bishop (440-190-15, five State Championships).

Quinn Cepiel (9-10-19), Brian Jenkins (8-4-12), Jon Mantone (5-7-12), Logan Vogel and Cosmo Siano lead the forward group.

Ryan Kelley, Cam Avery and Austin Abbott are back on defense with Jackson Levasseur, Colin Roark and Aidan Kelley looking to earn time. Jack Casey and Isaac Kastner are back in goal.

CONCORD (16-2-0)

Coach: Duncan Walsh

Tyler Coskren Concord

The Crimson Tide crushed the competition last season, especially in the post-season as they swamped four post-season opponents by a cumulative 25-3 count to claim the program’s 10th overall State Championship.

The same scenario could play out this winter as most of the marquee players return for 32-year coach Duncan Walsh (514-184-20, 8 State Championships).

Jack Shoemaker Concord

Junior Brooks Craigue (14-20-34), an All-State First Team pick as a sophomore, powers the attack. He’s joined by talented seniors Tyler Coskren (12-17-29), Cam McGonigle, Parker Frederickson and Colin Nelson. New junior Brady McGonigle adds depth.

The defense features senior AJ Fennelly, junior Joey Tarbell and sophomores Jack Shoemaker and newcomer Jordan Dustin. Returning senior Kevin Jones, an All-State Second Team pick last year, and senior Will Pegnam are back in goal.

“We return a good group from last year. We will have to improve defensively in order to have a chance. We should have good balance up front. we should be strong in net. We just need to play hard, getter better and play together as the season goes along,” Walsh observed.

HANOVER

Coach: Dick Dodds

Dodds, winner of six State titles, starts his 30th season on the Marauders’ bench with 14 returnees from last year’s squad that had the misfortune of facing off against eventual State Champion Concord in the first round of regional play, a 5-1 loss.

Curtis Rice
Hanover

Senior Alex Rockmore (6-4-10), junior Jack Stadheim (3-6-9) and senior Casey Graham (5-3-8) return as offensive leaders. Experienced senior goalie Luke Ives returns as do defensemen Curtis Rice (sr., 3-5-8) and Spencer Lawe.

Dodds pegs Concord as the favorite once again and hopes to be in the chase pack: “We have lots of experience returning,” he noted.

EXETER (12-4-0)

Coach: Paul DiMarino

The Blue Hawks were in full flight for much of last season before running out of steam and falling to Bedford in the D1 quarterfinals, a frustrating finish for sure.

“We feel that a strength of ours will be the leadership from our seniors. We have eight seniors who are all four-year program guys. We will lean heavily on them to help our younger guys adjust to the level of varsity hockey,” said third-year coach Paul DiMarino.

Senior captain Keegan Knight (17-21-38) and junior Ty Robinson (12-24-36) will look to build on their monster seasons of a year ago.  Junior Cam Snee and sophomore Cam Keaveney will be counted on for increased production.

Senior captain and goalie Henry Fraser (12-4, 2 SO, 2.58 GAA, .906 Save Pct.) is the defensive backbone. Junior Roger Davis is the top defenseman.

BISHOP BRADY (8-7-0)

Coach: John Thomas

The Giants are under new management with Thomas taking over as head coach. He says he has full confidence in his team’s enthusiasm and passion for working hard so far in the early going.

Up front, senior captain Ben Mordarski heads an offensive unit that also includes juniors Jack Allen, John Thomas, Tucker Townsend and Colby Peterson and sophomore Jake Tash. Freshman Henri Brochu will have an impact.

Senior assistant captains Dom DuBreuil and Ethan Piotrowski book-end a defense that also features junior Ethan Christerson and junior Brady Ziegler. A pair of freshmen ready to show what they can do are William Brochu and Jason Doyle.

Brady has experience in goal with the return of senior Owen Currier.

MANCHESTER

Coach: Chuck Goss/Eric Fischer

Colin Fields Manchester

This unification of the Queen City’s three public schools under co-coaches Chuck Goss and Eric Fischer is an exercise in program saving. Memorial was 11-1-0 in D2 last year while Central/West was winless in 13 tries. Now they are pulling in the same direction as they step up. Memorial (5) and Central (3) are legacy programs with eight combined State titles.

Seniors Parker Burgess (9-8-17) and Owen Kelley and junior Colin Fields (11-10-21) are productive forwards. Junior Landon Wilson returns in goal supported by junior Aiden Kelley and sophomore Mack Tripp on defense. 

“Team strengths are that it is a new co-op and there are no expectations for this team. All they need to do is come out and take advantage of the unknown and make it into their own,” said Goss. “Everyone looks forward to seeing how the coaches and team take the bull by the horns and run with the new program.”

Robbie Nowill
Keene

KEENE (6-5-0)

Coach: Chris McIntosh

The Blackbirds make their long-awaited full return to D1 this season for the first time since 2002. McIntosh, owner of two State titles in his fifth season, hopes an influx of 13 freshmen helps make a smooth transition.

Top forwards include: Jonah Murphy, Joel Beard, Leo Ballaro, Casey Mooers, Collin French and Noah Parelli. Veteran defensemen Robbie Nowill, Ryan Smart, Cam Quail and Ben Greenwald line up in front of experienced goalies Orion Murphy and Liam Jarvis.

“It’s tough to tell for us as we enter D1. Our team is going to be very young. We are heavy with underclassmen but excited at the fact that we have enough numbers to field both a full varsity and JV team,” McIntosh observed. We need to understand that each team we play will be tough and we anticipate that we are going to be in a lot of close games.”

Michael Anstey Londonderry

LONDONDERRY (4-9-0)

Coach: Mike Bears

Now familiar with second-year coach Mike Bears’ expectations, the Lancers look to move forward after being eliminated by rival Pinkerton in the first round of last year’s Region One Tournament.

Seniors Noah Malcolm, Brandon Savage and Drew Nutter will power the offense. Junior Kyle McPhail anchors the defense with tested seniors Jake Holdsworth and Michael Anstey back in goal. Sophomore defenseman Brandon Morin and sophomore forward Michael Maloney will take on expanded roles.

“The coaching staff is very excited for this season. We have a good mix of experienced upperclassmen and talented underclassmen that should all be looking to contribute. If we come to the rink ready to work everyday it should be a successful season,” Bears said.

Tyler Pappalardo Pinkerton

PINKERTON ACADEMY (4-6-0)

Coach: Sam Littlefield

The Astros fell to Salem in the Region One final of last year’s COVID-truncated campaign. Veteran coach Sam Littlefield hopes things are far more normal this year in every way, leading to a successful campaign.

Damien Carter Pinkerton

The Astros feature a trio of high-quality forwards in seniors Tylor Pappalardo and Jake Sullivan and junior Lorenzo Corsetto; senior defensemen Ryan Leighton and Dillon Romano; and junior goalie Damien Carter. New juniors Connor Clifford (F), Bryce Cronin (D) and Campbell St. Pierre (D) should make impacts.

“Last year was tough for everyone because of the inconsistencies and unpredictable nature of everything, so this year should be a step in the right direction for getting these programs back to normal,” Littlefield said.

Brendan Thornton Bedford

BEDFORD (10-5-1)

Coach: Jon Garrity

New head coach Jon Garrity is excited to accept the challenge of keeping the Bulldogs in the state’s top tier following the retirement of Marty Myers, who amassed 200+ wins and five State Titles D1 (3) and D2 (2) during his 11-year tenure. The ‘Dawgs fell to Salem in last year’s semifinal, 2-1 (OT).

“We’re expecting to remain in that top crop and we are excited to get going. We have a great group of kids and great senior leadership! We’re looking to carry on coach Myers’ winning tradition,” Garrity said.

Premier forwards include seniors Ethan Larochelle, Matt Lipinsky and PJ Costa and junior Brendan Thornton. The senior duo of Dan O’Connor and Luke Moores leads the defense and senior Matt Desmond is back in goal. Look for new junior Maddox Muir (D) and new sophomore Dominic Tagliaferro (F) to contribute immediately.

NASHUA NORTH/SOUHEGAN (5-5-0)

Coach: Bill Kotsifas

The SaberTigers enjoyed a solid debut campaign under Kotsilas and are shooting to move into the division’s upper tier this season. 

NNS is deep at forward, led by senior captain Chris Weedhan and junior captain Will Dodge. Juniors Chris Sweetser, Ryan Leighton, Ryan Ducharme, Cam Dykstra and Brady Dery and sophomore Chase McBride all return with experience. Sophomore Finn Moran and freshman Jacob Landry add depth.

Senior Captain Colin Duckless returns in goal, backed by sophomore Zack Veilleux. Senior Owen Graham and Junior Ty Washam are lead defensemen. Junior David Stafford adds to the mix.

“Last year we showed real grit winning two games in overtime, one in the state tournament. We hope to build on that experience and get back in the tournament again,” Kotsifas said.

BOW (4-8-0)

Coach: Tim Walsh

Is this the year of the Falcon? Based on returnees from last year’s Tournament quarterfinal appearance, 21-year coach Tim Walsh hopes to be in the top group chasing Concord.

Sophomore Mason Marquis returns in goal, protected by the quartet of senior Cole Billow, juniors Finn Benoit and Blake Scarinza and sophomore Brodie O’Neill and backed up by freshman Brady Lover. Juniors Josh Billow, Dom Jurcins and Ethan Tobeler and sophomores Billy Smethurst and Aidan Labrecque drive the forwards. Freshmen Owen Webber, Partik Jurcins and Luke Hartshorn all look to make an immediate mark.

“Concord will again be the top team. We hope to be a top 6 team and compete with the top teams like Salem, Bedford, Concord and BG,” said Walsh, owner of a 263-146-26 career record and winner of D2 titles in 2010 and 2017.

WINDHAM

Coach: Sean Dunn 

Following a rugged year that saw them face the top clubs on multiple occasions, sixth-year coach Sean Dunn hopes that OJT proves beneficial.

Sixteen juniors and sophomores (11) return with experience from last season. 

“The players definitely took their lumps but learned a great deal seeing teams such as Salem, Concord, Bedford, Bishop Guertin, Pinkerton multiple times. The sophomore class has grown and matured physically and is ready to take the next step in their development on the ice,” Dunn said.

Junior Vito Mancini returns as the starting goalie with sophomores Casey Kramer and Joey Gilbert featured on defense and sophomore Aiden Quaglietta the top forward.

TRINITY

Coach: Mike Connell

Eleven players return for coach Mike Connell as the Pioneers look to bounce back from an especially difficult season.

Senior Finn McDonough and juniors Aidan Palmeter, Cooper Gaudio, Tyler Peltak and Jordan Joyal lead the offense. New junior Tyler Manning looks to chip in. 

Will Brauer, Charlie Tremblay and Mike Evans will be joined along the back line by new juniors Trevor Brown and Aiden Hurley. Junior Colton Gooden and sophomores Braeden Lubelczyk and Brendan Heppler all have experience in goal.

** Salem and Nashua South/Pelham will also be in New Hampshire Division 1 this year. No informaton was available as of post time.

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