An interesting race looms again this winter in the Skyland Conference, with defending regular season champ Pingry and NJSIAA Public B state champion Ridge leading the way.
Home Rink: Bridgewater Sports Arena
With depth at all positions, the Big Blue appear poised for another successful season. Last winter, they won both the regular season title and the Skyland Cup.
Some big numbers return in the forward lines for coach Scott Garrow, namely junior Eric Bush (50 pts), junior Jared Kordonsky (44 pts) and senior Joe Faccone (39 pts). A couple of freshmen hoping to crack the lineup are Nick Faccone and Henry Pyne.
On the back end, juniors Peter Korn (23 pts) and Lachlan Gibson (22 pts) will be book-ends in from of junior goaltender Kevin Parnham.
Home Rink: Pro-Tec Arena
The defending NJSIAA Public B champions should be in the mix again this winter and look to have fun doing so.
The offensive braintrust for head coach Tim Mullin, closing in on 400 career wins, will be senior Ty Eberling (22 pts), junior Matt Balzarotti (36 pts), sophomore Nick DelGaizo (21 pts), sophomore Eric Helgusen (14 pts) and junior Colin Kirkwood (13 pts). New sophomore Jimmy McNally will help out.
Senior Sean Leach and juniors Eric Shubert (12 pts) and Tom Vitolo will be Red Devils leaders on the blue line.
Senior Marc Fabiunke (1.42 gaa) furnished 12 shutouts during last winter’s championship run.
Home Rink: Pro-Tec Ponds
The Panthers struggled to a three-win season a year ago and will be a bit thin this winter, looking to be competitive in the Skyland Conference.
Senior Ben Matton-Conover (19 pts) will be a key player for coach Patrick Alvin. Senior forward Corey Bertola is returning after being injured last season.
Home Rink: Flemington Ice Arena
The Raiders are looking to build off of last year’s experience, which saw them reach the Public A state championship game. They do return a lot of returning core players from that team, although will miss 112-point scorer Jude Jurtas, now with the Maryland Black Bears of the NAHL.
Plenty of production does return, though. Senior Jason Wolff (79 pts), senior Lleyton Soares (54 pts) and junior Brock Forrest (30 pts) will power the offense for coach Chris Tommins. Freshman Logan Behrje will have a role.
Senior defenseman Mike LoRicco (34 pts) will be a force on the blue line. Senior Jack Spitzer will be a key blueliner as well.
In goal, sophomore Jason LoRicco is a returning starter.
Home Rink: Flemington Ice Arena
The NJSIAA Public A 2018 state champions reached the quarterfinal round in the post-season a year ago. Hope is for the Red Devils to continue being in the hunt, as well as for the Skyland Conference title.
Forwards coach Michael Murphy will rely on include Darrin Stapert, Jack Schnack, Darin Michaels, Nick Mastropaolo, Jason Shulack and Tommy Klesat.
Goalie Jack Meninchello is back, as are defensemen Will Chanlam and Tom McVetty.
Home Rink: Rock Ice
Hard work could pay dividends for the Mountaineers, who are looking to improve their competitiveness.
Up front, senior Nick Emmons (16 pts) was a second team Skyland Conference selection a year ago. Junior Eddie Berman and sophomore Nick Thievon will be two more key forwards.
Sophomore Aidan Gallagher, senior Tyler Wong and sophomore Paul Wendling return on defense for coach Paul Manore.
Juniors Maggie Smith and Nick von Kaufmann are expected to handle the goaltending duties.
* Watchung Hills is also playing in the Skyland Conference this season.