New Jersey HS Hockey: Greater Middlesex Conference Preview

Gary Demopouloshttp://www.hnibnews.com
Gary Demopoulos has been covering prep school hockey for the HNIB News for over 30 years, and has been the editor of the HNIB News since 2005. A former sportswriter and news editor at the Woburn (MA) Daily Times Chronicle, he has been the HNIB News' key reporter for Mens Prep School hockey since 1988, as well as womens hockey, both at the prep school and high school levels. for almost 20 years. Gary also helps organize and oversee HNIB's many summer tournaments and festivals for scholastic players.

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The Greater Middlesex Conference will again feature six teams this winter. Three-time league champ St. Joseph Metuchen is looking to make it four straight.

ST. JOSEPH METUCHEN

Coach: Ryan Carter

If the Falcons can commit to playing their system and a team first mentality, they will be in the hunt once again, provided that they can replace two senior goaltenders who graduated.

Up front, senior Jason Pliszak (16 pts) and junior Christian Cuccia (18 pts) will be offensive cornerstones for coach Carter, who needs eight more wins to reach 200 in his career. Juniors Jack Palotta, Spencer Angeles, Chris Tropeano and Dean Ponik are back as well in the forward ranks. New senior Kaden Howe has transferred in from South Brunswick.

On defense, seniors Thomas Freda and Dmitri Donovan, junior Caden Miller and sophomore Brandon Adams all return.

WOODBRIDGE TOWNSHIP

Coach: Joe Rotella

A solid group returns for Woodbridge, which went 8-3 in last year’s abbreviated campaign.

Returning up front for coach Rotella are seniors Chris Ferguson and Logan Ponik, juniors Hubert Polchlopek and Dylan Godsil and sophomores Ryan Lukko and Braeden Rafferty.

A pair of sophomores – Chris Walusz and Ryan Zwiebel – will have key roles on defense. Three varsity goalies return in Colin Snyder, Abigail Karas and Hunger Galgani.

Newcomers looking to impress right away are junior Aiden McCarthy, sophomore Ryan Douglas and freshman Joseph Berzolla.

MONROE TOWNSHIP

Coach: Kevin Felice

Felice and a new coaching staff takes over for the Falcons and he expects his club to compete at a high level in all conference games and be in the mix for the league title.

A trio of key returning forwards that will be catalysts are senior John Bono, junior Dylan Batko and sophomore Nick Izzo. A couple of freshmen hoping to chip in are Cameron Schwartz and Albert Scarmato.

There will be experience on the Monroe blue line, as senior Kyle Conover, junior Aidan Goetz and sophomores Graham Kane and Vincent Amabile all returning.

In goal, junior William Burkshot got the bulk of the action last winter. Sophomore Joseph Conoscenti is back as well. Two freshmen – Nico Iannacone and Peyton Million, add depth to the position.

OLD BRIDGE

Coach: Drew Fisher

Another Greater Middlesex Conference team with a new head coach are the Knights, who turn things over to Fisher, whose focus in the early going will be to have his club outwork their opponent and be a tough team to play against.

Junior Shane Culley and sophomore Mike Pellicciotta will be a pair of key scorers for the Knights. New junior Chris Locicero, a transfer from St. John Vianney, will be key, while sophomores Stephen Dorsey, Patrick Apgar and Shane Albrecht hope to have key roles.

Cornerstone seniors Sean Weber (10 pts) and Kyle Butchyk will be defensive leaders. New freshman Logan Schroeder will be in contention for time between the pipes.

EDISON TOWNSHIP

Coach: Vincent Mondano

Scoring goals was a struggle for Edison last winter so a key for this year is to generate more offense.

That task will fall on three returning seniors in Itai Geller, Lucas Longo and Vincent Ciampi. Newcomer Joe Fenton hopes to contribute.

The Edison defense will be experienced, buoyed by the return of seniors Pat Decker, Vincent Bella and Tom Calatoni. Adding depth to the defensive group will be Jacob Engel and Andrew DaSilva.

Junior Andrew Martin project to be the starting goaltender.

** South Brunswick also is expected to be in the Greater Middlesex Conference this year.

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