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New Jersey HS Hockey: Shore Conference Preview – League Realigns Into Four Divisions

The Shore Conference has revamped into four divisions this winter, A North, A South, B North, and B South. Each division is made up of six teams. Here is a look at some of teams:



Home Rink: Middletown Ice Arena

Jon Miranda
Middletown North

With a young team overall, the Lions will need to get solid goaltending and have a commitment to team defense.

Offense will need to come from returners like Jesse Dickinson, Aidan Cook and Rob Fitzgerald, all juniors.

On defense, coach Don Wood returns three key members of the blue line crew in senior T.J. Stone and juniors Jon Miranda and Connor North. New sophomore Zack Brady will fit in.

Two goaltenders are back in senior Matt Corella and junior Justin Dickinson.

Colin Gartz
St. John Vianney


Home Rink: Jersey Shore Arena

Coach Mick Messemer, entering his sixth season behind the bench, feels his club is very deep, talented and fast. It is hungry to win the Handchen Cup and Egan Cup for the third straight season, and make some noise in the post-season state tournament.

Sal Benvenuto
St. John Vianney

The offense looks formidable, led by returning seniors Dom Troisi (37 pts) and Evan Knolll (17 pts). Seniors Cameron Papa and Jeff Ricci and juniors S.J. Lacomte, Colin Gartz and Nick Colao are back a year stronger. A freshman in the mix is Mike Reed. Back in the fold is junior Ryan Kulaszewski, who returns to the program after a year in the prep ranks.

On the blue line, the Lancers feature junior ace A.J. Micalizzi (12 pts), who returns with senior Rich Kulaszewski (8 pts), Jake Deatherage and sophomore Alec Osher. Freshman Pat Haines brings his ice smarts to the game.

Junior Sal Benvenuto, a returner, and new sophomore Dan Shallcross will handle the St. John Vianney goaltending duties.


Home Rink: Middletown Ice Arena

Keys to the season for the Eagles is getting the young core of the team to develop together in all aspects of the game. The team will play strong defense and look to have balanced scoring.

In the forward lines, coach Anthony Nemati hopes to get the most of out senior Sean Asaro, junior Michael Volpi and sophomores Nate Block, Michael Ferlanti, Andreas Forand and Aiden Cavendish. New junior Nick Piscopo and the sophomore duo of Luke Finn and Marcus Franco hope to put up some points.

Back on defense for the Eagles are senior Demitri Forand, junior Dylan Fallon and sophomore Ben Gottlieb. Sophomore Luke Rohrmann and freshman Lucas Campos add some depth to the crew.

Senior Sean Caswell is a returner between the pipes.


Home Rink: Jersey Shore Arena

Former Montgomery HS coach Andy Gojdycz returns to coach his alma mater, and plans to have his club have a solid work-ethic.

Carrying the load offensively for the Colts will be seniors Giovanni Crepaldi, Kyle Contessa and C.J. Cummings, and sophomores Evan Brown, Zachary Wagnon and Robert Setteducali, all returns from last winter’s 18-7-1 squad.

Juniors Colin Grable and Lucas Salas will be cornerstones of a defense in front of senior goaltender Nicolas Emilio.

* Also in the A North Division of the Shore Conference are Manasquan/Pt. Pleasant Beach and St. Rose/Donovan Catholic/Red Bank Catholic


James Bianco

Bernard Vitale

Dylan Kramer

Dan McEvoy


Home Rink: Howell Ice World

Almost everybody is back from last year’s club that finished in the middle-of-the-pack of a tough division, and one that incurred many key injuries. Now healthy, the Rebels are determined to be in the running for the divisional title, and things beyond.

One of those guys injured last winter, senior Dylan Kramer (17 pts), is back and ready to go up front for coach Bill Daley. Senior James Bianco (24 pts – could also see time on defense), senior Bernard Vitale (11 pts) and juniors James Fay (25 pts) and Stanley Paluszek are back as well. Two newcomers looking to chip in are sophomore Michael Langella and freshman Ben Postorino.

On defense, Senior Nick Bernazzoli (6 pts) also missed some time last season. He and sophomore Zac Gershner will be key factors on the blue line. A freshman in the program is Jake Lieberman.

Senior goalie Dan McEvoy (2.49 gaa) saw considerable time between the pipes last season.


Home Rink: Howell Ice World

This projects to be a rebuilding year as the Patriots lost 14 seniors from last year’s club. So, a focus this winter is to develop the youth.

Offensively, coach Michael Celano will need production and leadership from returning skaters like senior Tom Gubitosa, senior Michael Philbin, sophomore Payton Fobes and sophomore Jackson Lehman.

Senior Jacob Liebross, junior Eliza Slinen and sophomore Zack Neron will have key roles on the blue line. New junior Karina Vang will battle for minutes between the pipes.

Zach Minafo
Southern Reg.

Justin Braun
Southern Reg.

Trey Mattern
Southern Reg.


Home Rink: Winding River Skating Center

A more difficult schedule awaits the Rams this winter in the new A South division. The team should be deep, which will be a big plus in navigating the tougher slate.

Leaders up front for coach Dan Wasilewski project to be senior A.J. Irwin (26 pts) and senior Zachary Minafo (19 pts). Two freshmen forwards to keep an eye on: Ryan Irwin and Matthew Brock.

Senior Justin Braun (9 pts), senior Jeffrey Leonard (9 pts) and sophomore Yater Henry (23 pts) will be keys on the Rams blue line.

Between the pipes, sophomores Trey Mattern and Kaitlyn Braun both return after being co-starters a year ago.

Dylan Byrne


Home Rink: Jersey Shore Arena

The Knights fully expect to challenge for the division title with an exciting, young team. One need: to find scoring balance.

That balance should come from a returning group of seniors Sean Kiewe, Dan Mitrione and Jimmy Coussouilis and juniors Pat Demarinis and Jack Beattie. New guys like sophomores Jaxson Hook and Anthony Campisano, junior Dean Surgent and senior Jake Milone look to have an impact for coach Mike Dianora.

On the blue line, senior Robby Curran and junior Dylan Byrne are cornerstones of a defensive unit that could also include new sophomores Lucca Infozino and Garrett Kettyle.

Junior Joe Hooper is a returning netminder. Freshman Myles McGovern will press for time.

* Jackson Memorial and Marlboro/Holmdel will also compete in the A South Division



Home Rink: Jersey Shore Arena

The Spartans will need to fill some big shoes with the graduation of captains Brendan Convery and Dylan Haar (program’s all -time leading scorer), as well as the loss of big point-producer Kenny Maxwell to prep school.

Ready to take on the scoring task for coach Dave Smith are returning seniors Luke Hagerman and Patrick Brannen, junior Ryan Convery and sophomores Vlad Gorelov and Pat Olenski. Four newcomers ready to help out are junior Dylan Bennett, sophomore Landon Bennett and freshmen Alex Haar and Aiden Mumm.

Strong leadership on defense is expected from senior captains Scott Sirianni and Richard Canneto. Senior Nick Ciancio and sophomore P.J. Schwartz return as well.

Sophomore Tony Macaluso should give the Spartans solid goaltending.

Cole Schneider
Toms River North


Home Arena: Winding River

A goal of winning the B North division and being competitive throughout the Shore Conference is on the docket for the Mariners, who boast a solid group of returners and an outstanding freshman class.

A forward to watch is junior Cole Schneider, who has already amassed 118 career points in just two seasons, the fastest to reach the 100-point career mark in school history. Seniors Patrick Dowds and Brigette Maikisch and junior Zach Kochinski will help out.  Four freshmen –  D.J Freed, Steve Kapp, Jake Kurzynowski and Blaise Schoelen – look to compete, as does junior Anthony DeFalco.

An experienced defensive unit consists of seniors Joe Lembo and Kevin Anderson, junior Justin Ervilli and sophomore Cory VanDenBerg. Freshmen Jake Bennert and Chris Weaver add to the group.

A pair of seniors – Paul Fiorello and Corey Finnegan – will be the goaltenders for coach Christian Cranston.


Home Rink: Howell Ice Arena

Rebuilding the offense is the prime focus for the Braves, who should be in contention for the division title.

Juniors Joe Mazza (32 pts) and Dylan Stein (13 pts) will be offensive catalysts for coach Matt Inzeritto. Seniors Connor Freedman (12 pts – captain), Brian Hawk (captain) and Ben Schenkel, junior Ryan Bechutsky and sophomore Chritian Pietromonaco are back as well. Sophomore brothers Thomas and Domenic Pearsall look to contribute.

On defense, senior Christian Archinaco and junior Nicholas Weissman are cornerstones. Expect new sophomore Richard Williams to have a key role.

Senior Patrick McCarthy and sophomore John Fox are two more-than-capable netminders.


Home Rink: Red Bank Armory

A strong, senior contingent at forward will carry the Bulldogs this winter.

Forwards Rowan Goldin, Jack Whitelaw, Sam Catalano, Jack Spagnuola, Max Nicholson and Kevin Hoffman are all returning seniors for coach Eric Zullo. Juniors Ryan Croddick and Mike Kuras and sophomores Brett Pritchard and Connor Spagnuola are also returning varsity skaters.

A young defense features junior Andrew Schmidt and sophomores  Casey Freeman, Spencer Lee and Braiden Spagnuola.

Junior goalie Ronan Hickey returns and will be in the mix with freshman Ryan Kuras.


Home Rink: Howell Ice World

This club finished just above the .500 mark last winter and hopes to at least duplicate that effort.

Key players back include senior Joe Barone, senior Andrew Kutzman, junior Nicholas Ochlan, sophomore DJ Clements and junior Anthony Caruso. Junior goaltender Joe Colecchia, who saw considerable time last year in the pipes for coach Brian Simpson, is back as well.

* Also included in the B North Division is Jackson Liberty/Pt. Pleasant Boro


Anthony Mastriano
Central Regional


Home Rink: Winding River

The 2019-2020 edition of the Golden Eagles will feature a tight, close-knit group that has excellent leadership.

Ben Steller
Central Regional

Up front, the offensive nucleus consists of senior Dan Klukoski, junior Trevor Coltenback and sophomores Joe Klutkoski and Dom Campetello. Freshman Dom Wiatrowski could crack the lineup.

In the defensive zone, senior Anthony Mastriano and sophomores Mark Comptello and Will Maguire have experience on the blue line.


Home Rink: Howell Ice World

It will be a rebuilding year for the Mustangs, who will need to get good senior leadership and strong team defense.

Senior Mark McDermitt (26 pts) will be a focal point of the offense for coach James Bruce. The group also has seniors Jack Douglas, Connor Canfield, Ian Thomas and Jared Visser, and juniors Chris Clayton, Aiden Lewis and Aiden Purcell.

Key defensemen project to be senior Rex Freeman and junior Trent Burton. The Mustangs feature a pair of returning goalies in senior Joe Beshears and sophomore Cooper Reilly.

* Also competing in B South will be Lacey, Toms River South/East, Brick Township and Red Bank 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
- 6 days ago