Home / High School Hockey / New Jersey HS Hockey: MCSSIHL Preview: Competitive Race Looms In Mennen Division; Mendham Jumps Up To Halvorsen Division

New Jersey HS Hockey: MCSSIHL Preview: Competitive Race Looms In Mennen Division; Mendham Jumps Up To Halvorsen Division

The Mennen Division of the Morris County Secondary Schools League promises to be highly competitive. Defending Public A State Champion Morris Knolls is ready for a big campaign. Here’s a look at a handful of MCSSL squads.



Home Rink: Mennen Arena

The defending Mennen Cup Champions will be young this year, but still look to stay competitive.

Matty Gero

Juniors Aidan Niceberg (19 pts) and Jacoby Erickson (11 pts) are the team’s top returning scorers up front. They will be assisted by returning skaters like seniors Matt Leone (captain), Jon Bear, Alvin Rhee and Sean Hoover, and sophomore Cormac McNamara. Seniors Dermot Warner and A.J. Maccario, sophomores Luke Wirth, Andrew Haralampoudis and Andrew Cimino, and freshmen Tyler Shannon and Chris Piacenti add to the mix.

Junior Matty Gero (17 pts – captain) will be the leader on defense for coach Dave Hansen. Senior Liam Fry (captain), junior Jonny Hamwee and sophomore Liam O’Hearn are back as well. New junior Michael Scheier looks to crack the rotation.

The Dodgers will be strong in goal with the return of junior netminder Keaton Tom.


Home Rink: Mennen Arena

Coach Brendon Herr has the unenviable task of replacing 14 seniors, so it is safe to say that the Cougars will be young.

Juniors Ryan Sordillo and Declan Curry will be the catalysts of the offensive attack that will also include junior Brandon Lupi and new sophomore Tommy Sennett.

A plus for the season is the return of three varsity-tested defensemen in senior Danny Mahoney and juniors Kory Kleinle and Spencer Spagnuolo.

Two seniors will handle the goaltending responsibilities: Will Ewald and Jennifer Olnowich, a Princeton womens hockey commit.

Michael Sofia

James Mattson

Justin Harper

J.T. Zangara


Home Rink:  Mennen Arena

With a good mix of returning players, the Rams hope to compete for a Mennen Cup title, and also a Public B state championship. They reached the state final last winter, falling to Ridge.

Plenty of firepower does return for coach Rich McLaughlin, namely seniors J.T. Zangara (49 pts), Evan Xhumba (27 pts) and Justin Harper (16 pts), juniors James Mattson (27 pts) and Nick Gallo (35 pts) and sophomore Kyle Barbera (34 pts).

Senior Mike Sofia (19 pts) will anchor the defense, a group that returns senior Ray McNamara and junior Matt Cislo. Sophomore Jordan Cross provides depth.

In goal, senior Gavin Einfeldt should get the call.


Home Rink: Twin Oaks

The Crimson are primed for a big season. Keys will be to focus on a defense-first mentality and build on the success from last year’s strong core.

Up front, senior Tommy Matthews (19 pts), juniors Seth Kaplan (33 pts) and Cam Fernandez (19 pts) and sophomores Nick Vantassell (28 pts) and Andrew Low (22 pts) all return for coach Scott Greene. Seniors Evan Sanford and Ryan Brown and junior Manu Verpoucke. Newcomers ready to show what they can do include junior Logan Jaeger, sophomores Charlie Guida and Rowan Posner, and freshmen Roman Berger and Hollis Humphries.

Senior Tom Polaski, junior Tristan Long and sophomore Billy Maloney (1o pts) give Mo-Beard a solid braintrust on defense. New senior D.J. Layden and sophomores Noah Jones and Jake Ochab will contribute as well.

Mo-Beard returns three varsity goalies in senior Paul Detre and juniors Luke McManus and Chile Connell.


Home Rink: Mennen Arena

The Colonials project to be better this winter, even though they will be on the young side, with just seven juniors and seniors in the lineup.

Scoring production will come from senior captains Ryan Daniolowicz and Conor Critchley (16 pts), juniors Stefan Brockmann (12 pts), Stephen Grimes and Chris Herity, and sophomores Jack McKenna (13 pts), Harry Santen (12 pts) and Nick Romano. New sophomore Chris DelMonte hopes to crack the lineup.

No less than six varsity defensemen return for coach Bobby Jones in senior captain Nikko Inserra, junior captain Jack Keller (10 pts), junior Connor Herity and sophomores Francis Zaklukiewicz, Kobi Day and Patrick Bozza.

Sophomore Dylan Peck is joined at the goalie position with new senior Kevin Lynch.


Home Rink: Mennen Arena

Coming off the NJSIAA Public A state championship, the Golden Eagles mantra for the season is to be focused, disciplined, accountable, hard-working and get better every day. A solid core of juniors will lead the way.

Junior Jason Kwestel (25 pts) will spearhead the offense. Also back in the lineup are senior James Betz and juniors Jake Diloretto, Andrew Ryan, Dylan Idland and Gehrig Eckoff. Juniors Jake Quinn and Jeffrey Quinn and sophomore Kyle Thornton are three newcomers looking to open some eyes.

On defense, coach Tim Kepler will look to seniors Derek Coleman, Jason Moskowitz and Gavin Walsh and junior Timmy Kepler for leadership. New junior J.D. Florio should be a factor.

Freshman Elliot Marken will be in the goaltending mix for the Golden Eagles.



Home Rink: Aspen Ice

An experienced lineup will make the Gaels more competitive this winter as they hope to contend for the division title.

Coach Jon Benbow has a plethora of returners to choose from up front, including seniors Nick Hefferle, Kevin Keane and Joe Carey, and juniors Nick Thomas, Brian Westergaard, Jake Kooyenga, Joe Eible, Tristan Tantillo and Randy DePalma. New sophomore Steven Keane and freshmen Jake Calemba and Nick Falco hope to contribute.

Back on the blue line are senior Ethan Barooah, juniors Kyle Jenkins and Derik Woudenberg and sophomores Joe DiDomenico and Chase McGowan. Freshman Gavin Woudenberg adds depth.

Senior Chris Catania and junior Ryan Callahan are both back in the Roxbury net.


Home Rink: Skylands

Strong on defense and in the nets, the Colts hope to find some consistent goal scoring.

Seniors Connor LaPenna and Tim Hausler and junior Joey Arnold will be key forwards for the defending Halvorsen Cup champions.

On defense, coach Jeff Myhren welcomes back the senior trio of Christopher Kosco, Jared Fatzer and Hayden Hishmeh. Junior Brett Lewis is a solid presence between the pipes.

Ryan Bruin


Home Rink: Mennen Arena

Nineteen of 20 players who played for the Haas/Charette Division champions are back for coach John Kovacs, who sees his club elevated to the Halvorsen Division for the upcoming year.

Senior Ryan Bruin (65 pts) and sophomore Tristan Aikenhead (41 pts) form a formidable 1-2 scoring punch. Sophomores Liam Lloyd (19 pts) and Griffin Jozefek (15 pts) are two more key forwards for the Minutemen. Freshman Eric Gloie looks for an offensive role.

Defensively, a nice quartet of experiened blueliners includes seniors Sean Mason and Jordan Larrabee, junior Cameron Weil and sophomore Sean Caddo. Freshman MacGuire Groggin adds to the mix.

In goal, sophomore Connor McDonough (1.43 gaa) played every game last winter for the Minutemen.

Matt Szwagulinski

Danny Scheine

Adrian Prelich


Home Rink: Mennen Arena

An experienced group of upperclassmen will need to be leaders for the Mustangs to have a successful campaign as they look to get back into the post-season.

At forward, coach Alex Beatrice will depend heavily on veterans like seniors Brendan Peretta, Danny Scheine and Joe Nuzzi and junior Owen O’Hara. Freshman Michael Chang should contribute right away.

Three seniors return on the blue line as well in Matt Szwagulinski, Marco Mangano and Robert Bio. Sophomore Trey Baresich is back after a solid freshman campaign. Added to the mix is freshman Matthew Crowell.

Junior goaltender Adrian Prelich will be the backbone of the squad.

* The Halvorsen Division also includes Sparta-Jefferson and Vernon.



Home Rink: Mennen Arena

Playing as many as six freshmen regularly, the Wolfpack will need to mature quickly in order to compete. They are back in the Haas/Charette Division this winter. Solid senior leadership will be a plus.

Coach Phil Togno will need some solid production from seniors Nick Francione (14 pts) and Kyle Rowe (8 pts) and junior Andrew Spina. Freshmen Nathan Meola and Matt Healy will have key roles.

On the blue line, senior Cameron Veno (12 pts) will be a key, as will senior Angelo Palome and sophomore Max Michalski. Freshmen to watch are Jimmy Thompson and Will Lindquist.

Two freshmen goalies will handle the netminding chores in Jake Calhoun and Phil Togno.


Home Rink: Mennen Arena

Although the Lakers have some good numbers back, they will be a young team overall.

Forwards returning with varsity experience for coach Clint McDonough are juniors Cameron Egan, Finn Daggy and Jaiden Rutrick and sophomores John Lane, Caz Kotsen, Jimmy Holda and Dan Fazendeiro. Freshman Andy Barrasso adds depth.

Defensively, juniors Griffen O’Shaughnessy, Tyler Shaloub and Cole Groeneveld will hold down the fort, with help from freshmen Kieran Christy and Logan Przestrzelski.

Senior Ben Polizzi is a returning goaltender for the Lakers.

* Also competing in the Haas/Charette Division this season will be Gill St Bernard’s, High Point-Wallkill Valley, Morris Catholic, Mt. Olive/Hoptacong/Hackettstown, Newton/Lenape Valley, Park Regional, and Parsippany Regional

Gary Demopoulos
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.
Gary Demopoulos
- 2 hours ago
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